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Faye Gallacher, the Devolution Secretary, traipsed all around Scotland to talk about STV with the voters that would listen:
On stability, Faye said: "We've heard a lot about stability from the anti STV campaign but we know that First Past the Post has produced coalitions too. If the voters don't want a party without a majority to dominate Parliament, why should they be ignored?
What guarantees stability is cooperation, which STV promotes - there are dozens of countries across the world which use proportional systems and have coalition governments which aren't defined by chaos. Up here in Scotland we even use STV and get by just fine. It's time for the anti STV campaign to stop engaging in project fear."
On accountability, Faye continued: "Some MPs have been guaranteed a job for life with safe seats and that simply needs to end. If an MP misbehaves, they need to feel like there'll be consequences, but if anything we've found the opposite and this has had real consequences for our politics, with those who were implicated in the expenses scandal having more likely been in safe seats. It's time we inject some real democratic accountability into our politics by having a fairer voting system - that's STV."
Faye also discussed about how STV would benefit Scotland: "Whilst in Scotland we're all united by the same values we hold dear, we know that there's a range of diverse Scotland which may be completely unrepresented in Westminster thanks to our voting system. We need a more proportional system to ensure that no one party - be that Labour a decade ago or the SNP now - has a monopoly on Scotland's politics. In Scotland we know STV works, it's time we made sure that system was brought to Westminster."
"[we] would rather die than leave the Labour Party." - Emily Thornberry.
Meredith Hansen-Charles joined Yes campaign activists and supporters in Belfast, she was joined by representatives from pro-STV parties from across Northern Ireland.
On STV as a system:
You already use STV here in Northern Ireland to elect the Legislative Assembly, so you’re already fully aware of the process and I am sure you would agree with me that it is a system that is effective and ensures that there is a good representation of political parties for the future of Northern Ireland, and we hope that same process and representation will be equal for elections to the House of Commons. The No campaign’s Project Fear in this referendum is for nought when you look at Northern Ireland and how it is effective here.
On fair votes and accountability:
Under STV each and every one of you will have a greater say in the election of MPs, instead of having to just choose the best of the worst you can confidently and securely vote for who you believe to be the very best choice for MP, which is only possible through ranked voting that is a key part of STV. MPs will have to work harder for your votes and eliminate safe seats ensuring that if you are unhappy with them you can remove them at the next election.
Over the past 6 years the United Kingdom has had a coalition government in Westminster, there are coalitions across all of the UK right now and it is for the better of our politics to encourage greater co-operation between politicians. No campaigners would have us believe that the only way politics can be done is with governments that have massive majorities, I disagree with that completely. It is through coalitions that we have been able to deliver strong government, for the most part, and greater co-operation to deliver policies in the best interests of all of us.
Secretary of State for Education
Minister for Women and Equalities
"Meredith Hansen-Charles...is a deity" - Kandler/The Times
The Yes to STV campaign holds a rally at St Peter’s Square in Manchester for a High Profile Event. The event is cross-party - with Lib Dem leader Graham Adiputera, UKIP politician Suzanne Evans (admin approved), and Labour PM Caroline Blakesley all speaking. Clips of the rally make up a large chunk of the campaign’s social media and online presence.
GRAHAM ADIPUTERA SPEECH:
197 years ago, this square was the site of the Peterloo Massacre - where innocents were killed as they protested for a reform of parliamentary democracy, where thousands of people gathered to call for truly representative democracy. They understood that that political alienation and an undemocratic political system were unjust. Unjust not just in being a democratic outrage, but in that if you sever the link between political power and public support, then you get economic injustice, social injustice, unfair government at every level.
Thankfully we live in times where we can achieve political reform without fear of being attacked, without fear of repression, but make no mistake. Politics in this country is broken. We all know that. Trust is low. Stability is lacking. Millions of people feel that there is no-one in politics, no-one in parliament, who represents their interests and their values.
Now, I don’t think it’s right to say there’s a “magic bullet” that we can use to fix this. But a key part of the problem is our electoral system. Our electoral system - first-past-the-post - as an innate feature - leaves a majority of votes wasted, forces people into tactical voting, creates a different type of democracy based on where you live. It encourages short-termist, confrontational politics. First-past-the-post is no longer a fit system for a country such as ours - pluralistic, diverse, encompassing different types of communities and different types of people. First-past-the-post is no longer fit for resolving the issues of the day - where we require compromise, cooperation, nuance and debate, rather than divisiveness and point-scoring.
Under the existing system, there are, essentially, two types of seat. Two types of seat that unfairly produce two types of voters. Voters whose votes count differently, voters who must adopt different strategies, voters who will often end up unrepresented and shut off from the political process.
Safe seats are a democratic abomination - in them, voters are, understandably, left feeling that their votes don’t matter, that the quality of their representation depends solely on the unaccountable inner workings of one party, that their issues and their concerns are given less credence and less weight by Westminster because, bluntly, the next election isn’t going to be determined by them. The votes of both all the opposition candidates, as well as a big chunk of the votes that went to the winning candidate, will have no impact on the actual result. And while some of the politicians who hold safe seats use their privileged position to do good work, others use them to be divisive, to get away with incompetence. Harold Saxon had a safe seat. Calvin Ward had a safe seat.
And then there are marginals. These are the seats that receive all the attention, all the focus, all the resources. And yet in these seats, a majority of voters will still find their vote goes to waste. A majority of voters in these constituencies - sometimes 70% or more - will end up with an MP that they didn’t want, and nothing to show for their democratic choice. And if you are in a constituency where your party has no chance of winning, you may feel compelled to tactically vote. To hold your nose and pick the lesser of two evils. That, I think, makes a mockery of the idea of asking the people who should govern.
And this is not even talking about the national picture. Under our system, a party can gain a million votes, but only end up with one seat, as was the case with the Greens, or 4 million votes, and only end up with 2 seats, as was the case with UKIP. I don’t agree with either of those parties on many key points, but that’s not the point - if you voted for those parties, you will be left feeling that your voice has been ignored, that your chance of meaningful representation has been denied. And then we end up with governments that a majority of the people didn’t want, actively voted against. Is it really a functioning democratic system if the makeup of parliament and the wishes of the people only ever match up, if at all, by chance?
The fact is, our current system leaves people unrepresented. It creates divisive and unstable politics. It leaves many people shut out from having a meaningful vote. This occurs at both national and local levels. It makes a mockery of the ideal of democracy. These are not just theoretical flaws. They have tangible real world consequences. It produces short-termist, confrontational politics. It produces worse outcomes for equality of opportunity, environmental sustainability, the fairness of policy in areas ranging from law and order to social care.
Under the current system, you - ordinary people - are not being trusted to choose the government. You are not being trusted to vote for your favourite candidate, to vote for your favourite manifesto. That must change.
So what are we proposing? Single Transferable Vote. That is a system of proportional representation, one already used in Northern Ireland, for multi-member constituencies. Each voter will have a number of MPs representing them - and under this system, the MPs that they choose will not be determined by party organisations, can include independents and smaller parties, will ensure minority viewpoints and the true political diversity of the community is represented. Voters will rank their candidates in order of preference, and those votes that would previously go to waste - excess votes for the winning candidate, the votes that went to losing candidates - will be reallocated, based on the preferences given by the voters, until all the seats are filled.
You still have one vote. But it is not wasted. And it will be equal. It won’t depend on if you live in a safe seat or a marginal seat. It will be equal.
Under Single Transferable Vote, the constituency link between MPs and their constituents will be retained. In fact, it will be strengthened. MPs will no longer have incentive to focus only on those constituents that are decisive to their next victory - as everyone’s vote now matters, and unpopular incumbents can be booted out even if their party remains popular. Independent MPs - and those from local coalitions and parties - will have a chance of being elected. Unpopular MPs won’t be able to hide behind a party label.
And each constituency will have a variety of different MPs, representing the true political diversity of the area, so while under the current system if your MP is unsympathetic to your cause you have no alternative, now you can reach out to all your representatives. MPs will represent the true diversity of communities and beliefs in an area, rather than just a narrow plurality of them.
Fundamentally, though, the greatest argument for Single Transferable Vote is one of trust. Single Transferable Vote will give the trust to the voters, to make the right decisions, to elect the best candidates, to work out who best represents their constituency. The current system denies voters that trust.
The opponents of STV, they have argued against giving the people of Britain that trust - because the British people will be confused by long ballot papers, will be tempted to just vote for the first candidate they see, will vote for instability or extremism. They are spreading fear, about how STV is somehow the death of democracy or a way to end up with an extremist government, or they’re making the campaign about other issues entirely, such as Europe or economic policy. They are basing their campaign on a lie, saying that the rejected AV system was a proportional system, when it so clearly wasn’t.
They are, again, insulting their opponents, depicting those who disagree with them as “self-righteous”, or “hollow hecklers”, or “constant bleating”, as incapable of reasonable discourse, as only having their own careers at heart. Dylan Macmillan sees fit to insult millions of people, to argue those who disagree with him in politics are all bad people, and it is this ugly form of politics that we must reject. Dylan Macmillan’s deputy apologised on LBC, only a few weeks ago, for suggesting that those who disagree with him on STV have questionable motives - yet his boss did not get the memo.
When we set out on this campaign, we did not start by insulting the opposing side. We did not characterise those who disagree with us as less patriotic or as somehow villainous. We did not start by creating a Project Fear. The No campaign did those things, however. They want to make this referendum divisive. They want people to be frightened of change, to be frightened of a political system where every vote counts the same. They want people to be frightened of being empowered, of having a direct say over government.
These are not the arguments of a campaign that trusts the voters.
And trust in the voters is a democratic necessity.
Unlike the No campaign, this is a truly cross-party campaign. This is not a campaign based around being for or against the coalition, for or against any specific policy - this is a campaign that says, quite simply, our current system doesn’t really give the British people an effective method for addressing these questions. And STV will deliver that method.
STV is effective. It will deliver proportional representation - this referendum is the first chance the British people have of getting that. It will deliver strong constituency representation, where voters can both have a say on their representatives and on who they want in government, both at national and local levels. It will deliver a stable form of government, based around inclusivity, based around the exercise of power accurately reflecting the wishes of the people, based around open compromise and transparent debate. It will deliver accountable government, where you can get rid of bad MPs and bad councillors while rewarding those candidates who speak for you.
That is why we are saying put trust in the people. We’re not scared of how the British people will vote in a truly democratic system. The No campaign is.
Reject Project Fear. Reject the politics of hate and division. On June 23, vote for Single Transferable Vote.
SUZANNE EVANS SPEECH:
Not in a million years, I’d have imagined to be on the same stage, and actually be on the same side, with a Liberal leader and a Labour Prime Minister but here we are in a cross party rally to support STV. Our politics is broken, the political establishment is still ignoring the voices of the people but we have reached a point where our pressure has started to work. We have a chance that we won’t have another time in this generation, to fundamentally change politics forever. We have a chance to voters shape our parliament, not the establishment.
For far too long Westminster establishment has ignored the people and did what they wished for, not what you wished for. And do you know why they did that? Because they knew there was no consequence for it. Most of them are from what you call safe seats where they can ignore the common people and only listen to the elite. Two party politics is broken and it has alienated millions of people from the political process. With STV, we will have a system that can work better. If you do not like your MP, you can dump him or her. With STV, you do not need to waste your vote on a party you dislike just because the other option is even worse.
Our party has received 4 million votes and 2 seats - frankly I think that is a disgrace. We can’t simply ignore the will of the people because it suits the political establishment’s needs. We need accountability in this country, we sorely need that and we can’t have that with our current voting system. Be it safe seats, where you can’t literally vote your MPs out of office, marginal seats where you are forced to pick the lesser of two evils or seats where 70 percent of the people are not even represented. That is what our system is right now - the establishment feeds off of this system we have and imposes things that we don’t want or didn’t even voted for on us. The No campaign or as it has been rightly called Project Fear says this will prevent a vote on Europe, which is funny because most members of the Project Fear voted against an EU referendum just a couple of years ago. What Project Fear does not understand is that Eurosceptics believe their sovereignty has been lost to both Brussels and Westminster, if people were to reclaim the sovereignty and power back into their hands STV is a must.
We are campaigning for STV because we know that - whatever your views on Europe - our political dysfunction does not start or end there. We also know this is about the Westminster establishment and this is our opportunity to reclaim some of the power we have lost to the Westminster establishment. The Tories said we can’t deliver the EU referendum - that is a joke, we have forced them into backing an EU referendum that they have rejected a few years ago. Now Project Fear is scared of us once again because they know they can’t compete against us and the people if we have the STV. That is why they are running scared and restorting to frankly desperate and sad tactics to fear monger people.
This is not just about the EU referendum, this is also about every single issue you care about, every single issue that the mainstream parties that has failed you on. If you vote for STV, you will get a chance to kick them out, any one of them, if they continue to fail you. I believe in British voters and their common sense, I wonder though, if Dylan Macmillan and his Project Fear believe in the common sense of British voters. I think I know the answer and that answer is no. Let alone believe in your common sense, they don’t even believe you can fill out a ballot. They have been calling the British people idiots all over the campaign. They say it is too complicated for the common voter, which I find frankly insulting. People in Scotland and Northern Ireland already vote according to this system and they manage to do it. I think we can do it as well. Right? (gestures to the crowd)
And if they’re not calling you idiots, they’re questioning your motives. Saying your concerns about the current electoral system are illegitimate. Saying that those who are angry about wasted votes are “pious and self-righteous”. Saying that only the “bleating liberal elites” want a fairer system. Saying that those who dare disagree with Dylan Macmillan are incapable of reasonable discourse and don’t value democracy. I don’t think Dylan Macmillan should be the judge of what political views are legitimate or not. I don’t think Dylan Macmillan should get away with insulting millions of people just because they happen to disagree with him.
Finally, this is about you and your right to choose. You should have a right to choose, be it my party, Graham’s party, be it the Prime Minister’s party, heck, be it Dylan Macmillan’s party. This is about choice and STV will give you that choice. Options that you never thought would be possible under the current system and that it is the best part of democracy, one that we are lacking for far too long.
Thank you! Thank you for that kind welcome!
In the coming days, you will be asked to fundamentally transform our democracy from one in which the will of the people is not represented into one in which it is. That is what this referendum is about after all. It’s about challenging the status quo, changing our democracy to ensure that the voice of every voter around our country is heard loud and clear. Because that’s what democracy is: a system in which every voter can have their voice heard. And that is what ours must become.
Currently, we look around Britain and think about the benefits of majority governments. However, how much of a benefit is it when a party with as little as 32% of the vote can dictate the policy of an entire nation, without an opposition that can truly challenge them? How fair is it that nearly 70% of the nation can be locked out of governing because first past the post said that 32% of voters are enough to determine how our nation is run? The simple reality is that there isn’t a benefit to it and it isn’t fair.
If you look at the record of coalition governments, the present one included, they’ve done a great deal of good for Britain. In the past two years alone, a coalition government launched the campaign to truly confront our climate crisis. A coalition government fundamentally changed democracy in our nation by bringing about an elected Senate, ending the power of hereditary privilege in our political system. Those are real achievements that were really achieved by a coalition government. And this current coalition isn’t done yet. We’re proving that a coalition government can be just as productive and effective as a majority government. And the best part is that our coalition government represents nearly half the voters of the United Kingdom. Since 2010 - for the first time - governments have received not just the majority of seats in Parliament, but a majority of the vote.
As we stand here in Peterloo Square, a site in which our Parliamentary democracy was fought for by thousands who wanted real representation in Parliament, we find ourselves fighting for real representation again. We demand representation that represents the will of all voters, not just the small number that may come together to form a plurality. We demand representation that represents the great dialogue of ideas in our nation: whether those ideas are on the left, centre, or right of the political spectrum. We demand representation that, for the first time, truly represents that diverse political society that has taken hold in the United Kingdom.
But for me, for our Labour movement, this vote is about so much more than proportional representation. It’s about a chance to give all working Britons the representation that they deserve.
In the Labour Party, we fought all those years ago to empower the workers of the United Kingdom to unite and make their voices heard. We sought to provide the working Briton with a voice in Parliament. And for a long time, Labor fantastically represented the urban working class, the working families that need true advocates for the welfare state, for social justice, and for workers rights. But millions were left out. The workers in the East of England, in rural areas, in the South, that found themselves outnumbered lacked the representation that they so greatly needed. In this referendum, we can change that. STV will provide working Britons with the opportunity to elect leaders that best represent them - to get real advocates for workers elected from across our country, not just from the Labour heartlands.
STV will empower workers across our nation by empowering voters. It will empower you, no matter how small you think your voice is, to make your vote count no matter whom you vote for. It will ensure that, no matter what, a majority of Britons will agree with the policies of the government that they elect. That is something that we should absolutely look to bring about. It does not matter where on the political spectrum that you sit, you stand a better chance, as a worker and voter in this country, of getting the government you desire with STV. You and your comrades around the country stand a better chance of getting the representation you deserve with STV.
That is the only reality that there is in this election. It is an election about representation. It is an election about getting the fair representation and the representative voice that every worker, every voter, every Briton needs. It is an election about changing our parliamentary democracy to represent the many, not the few. And that is something we should absolutely fight to ensure.
Join with me in our campaign to make our nation a little more fair, our Parliament a little more democratic. Fight with me to ensure the voice of every Briton is heard! Fight with me for a government and political system that represents the many, not the few!
Graham Adiputera (Lib Dem - Sutton and Cheam)
Deputy Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat Leader
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Climate Change
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Technology
Parliamentary - 36
Media - 53
Policy - 48
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department
Labour MP for Brent North (2005 - )
The Prime Minister, fresh from her speech in Manchester, flew down the highway to get to the South East, where she pounded some pavement to meet with voters and talk about the benefits of STV.
First visiting Oxford, the Prime Minister spoke with voters about the smear campaign being launched against STV by the opponents to it:
When it comes down to it, the opponents of STV are really just spreading one message around Britain: that they think the voters aren't smart enough to handle it. Now, I have more faith in the average voter than that. More importantly, that whole line of attack just seems a little bit elitist to me, don't you think? We have a bunch of Westminster politicians running around the country telling the voters that they won't be able to figure out a new, fairly simple, voting system. That doesn't seem quite right to me. In fact, that seems wrong.
The reality is that British voters are certainly smart enough for STV. We're the land that invented parliamentary democracy for crying out loud! We're still inventing new aspects of parliamentary democracy as we face new challenges moving forward. That's why we're having this referendum - because we, as a nation, are smart enough to see when a system that undermines democracy is in place and we strive to change it. We are capable of seeing things that are wrong and we are capable of finding solutions. And today, we can see a better solution for ensuring fair representation in Parliament - and that's something we can all get behind supporting.
The Prime Minister continued on her "battle bus" (actually a bulletproof Jaguar, but who's asking) to Southampton, where she spoke with voters about the real benefits of STV in giving you the representation you want:
Here in Southampton, you've had some pretty close elections between the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. And pretty often, one party gets just enough of an edge that, despite the vote being split evenly throughout the city, all of the seats in Parliament go to one side. Now, I'm not going to lie, in times when Labour is doing well this certainly benefits my party. However, it leaves a lot of voters without the representation, and the government, that they desire. And that's something that we should certainly work to fix.
STV would fix that. Think of an election where there were five seats in Southampton. Now, imagine that Labour won 53% of the vote and the Tories won 47%. Under the current system, with single member seats and first past the post, Labour might win every one of those seats. Every one! Leaving the 47% of Tory voters without representation in Southampton. Now, as the Labour leader, this might make me happy. But elections aren't about my happiness, they're about your representation. With STV, the seats would be split more along the lines of 3 for Labour and 2 for the Tories, ensuring that everyone gets the representation that they voted for and ensuring you have MPs that are closely tied to both Labour and the Tories in Southampton. That's a system that will work to ensure fairness in Britain.
Finally, the Prime Minister very quickly swung into Kent to talk about rural representation:
Some in this election are claiming that with STV and multi-member districts you wouldn't have rural representation in Parliament any more. Let me tell you, that simply isn't true. There would still be rural and suburban districts in Parliament, including right here in Kent. And those districts would still elect MPs that are closely tied to the community - MPs that will fight to win your vote. The difference is that the range of viewpoints in rural communities will be represented - the democratic outcome - not just a plurality viewpoint.
MP for Hammersmith
Parliamentary: Unknown (13)
Media: Unknown (17)
Policy: Unknown (18)