I’ve been a fan of proportional representation for many a long year. Long before it became fashionable. I don’t say that with a sneer as I’m rather glad it has become fashionable. The only way we will get proportional representation is if it is fashionable. Our current system is far from democratic and that needs to change. The old adage states that democracy is government for the people by the people. This is not how it is in the UK at the moment. But changing the mechanics of the voting process is only half of the story.
The outrage that was the MP’s expenses scandal left many people feeling angry, cheated and in many cases politically impotent. Still to this day there are, I imagine, MPs and former MPs who don’t understand what they did wrong. The electorate in some constituencies did tell their ex-MPs what they thought of them by not re-electing them, but having to wait for a General Election is a far from satisfactory way of dealing with an MP that no longer represents or commands the support of their constituency. If we are to make our ‘democracy’ more democratic, enabling our elected representatives to truly represent us, we need a greater degree of accountability from those representatives. Whilst it shouldn’t be too easy, it should be possible ‘recall’ an MP (or councillor come to that) if it is felt that they are not representing their constituent’s best interests. As I write this I have an open mind as to how this might be achieved, but the current system does need to change.
Political parties also need to play their part, and parties need to better reflect the wishes of their members. I realise that sometimes members wishes will no doubt be at odds with those of the general public but that shouldn’t mean that we shy away from a system that might contain these challenges. Greater accountability would I’m sure increase the interest and participation in politics by the population at large. We need greater accountability. We can’t carry on as before.