Suffragettes: 100 years on our voting system makes a mockery of democracy
Tuesday, February 6 marked 100 years since women were first given the right to vote.
In commemoration many hundreds of people, including MPs themselves, will be hunger striking in an action called “Hungry for Democracy" to demand equal voting rights for all.
In 2017 a whopping 68 per cent of votes cast were not counted towards the final result because of the perverse arithmetic of UK general elections, run under a “first past the post” voting system even a 10-year-old wouldn’t defend.
I am among the disenfranchised.
This forces vast numbers of us to vote tactically against candidates we oppose rather than for those we support.
In 2015, one party received only one seat while netting 3.8 million votes.
Another received 56 seats for only 1.4 million.
The “winner” of the election got 11.3 million votes, only 36.8 per cent, but was handed a neat majority in parliament by our corrupt electoral system.
Such a rigged system makes a mockery of democracy and contributes to the pervasive sense of political disconnection in our country.
In centuries past, my father’s city of Newport, Mons was the scene of the famous chartist uprising, when people were gunned down for the right to have their voice counted.
Subsequently, women also fought, suffered and died for the same right as part of the suffragette movement.
The job is not finished.
Proportional voting systems in which seats match votes fairly are good enough for the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament, so why are we denied the same at Westminster?
I support this movement and fasted on Tuesday regardless of party allegiance; it is an issue of principle.
MPs from all parties support our cause, unfortunately just not enough to have precipitated a change in the electoral law yet.