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UK General Election 2010: Disenfranchised Voters Organise Rally for Electoral Reform

The "Demo for Democracy" Poster

A rally has been called for Saturday 8th May at 2pm in Trafalgar Square with all those in favour of electoral reform urged to turn up wearing purple to protest the disparity between votes cast in the UK general election and seats awarded to MPs.

For musically minded, Billy Bragg will be turning up with his guitar, though the “people’s movement” has no organised speakers.

There are several marches organised for other parts of the country, also:

  • Georges Square, Glasgow Saturday 8th May 2pm
  • Manchester Albert Square (outside Town Hall) 2pm
  • Bristol, College Green, Park St, 3pm
  • Oxford, outside town hall, 2pm
  • Middlesbrough, town hall 2pm

Under the UK “first-past-the-post” system, voters can only vote for their local MP, cannot vote for the cabinet or leadership, cannot vote for the House of Lords and only the largest number of votes count for a candidate. All losing votes are discounted, meaning that smaller parties such as the Greens and Scottish National Party often lose out despite having a significant proportion of the overall vote.

Current interpretations that this election marks a “a vote for change” are untrue since constituents are restricted to voting in their local race, for a local candidate and thus speculation about what this means for the leadership are mere conjecture.

However, the argument for several decades has been that this arrangement keeps out extreme parties and delivers strong government.

The rallies above are being organised under the auspices of TakeBackParliament – a coalition which has the support of Power2010, Greenpeace, OpenDemocracy, Electoral Reform Society, Friends of the Earth and the Social Liberal Forum among others. It is calling for a referendum on the voting system before the next election.

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Politics Desk
Editors and staffers from the Politics Desk at The Global Herald.

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