Saturday, 20 July 2024

If they won’t give us PR give us ‘None of the Above’
After the recent Eastleigh by-election the media focused on the Liberal Democrats success in holding onto the seat and the second place achievement of UKIP. Both are significant in their own way. The LD’s have been sliding down the polls for some time so their victory (although they still lost votes) is a testament to the strength of their local ‘machine’ (although subsequent polls still show a steady national decline). UKIP successfully captured the populist and right-wing protest vote. After previously seeing their Coalition partners take all the hits to come third in one of their target seats must have come as a shock to the Conservatives and doesn’t bode well for a majority in 2015.
One statistic that went however largely unnoticed, was that only half the voters turned out, despite a massive assault on resident’s letter boxes and doorsteps. If anyone wanted to vote there was plenty of choice on offer but for many they couldn’t bring themselves to legitimise a flawed system. Even if we accept that there is an apathetic 20% this still leaves nearly a third of the electorate who stay at home because they are disillusioned with our political system. This disenchantment grows regardless of politicians efforts. For example, an astonishingly high third of the turnout were from postal voters (susceptible to fraud and arm-twisting).
There are growing number of voters who say ‘a plague on all your houses’ and don’t believe voting will ever change things. National Liberals believe that votes count more in referendums (as the majority view ‘wins’) and if cast for legislatures under a Proportional Representation system (to reflect all national opinion). This would help increase voter turnouts and thus legitimacy. In the alternative we believe that voters need to be offered the opportunity to protest at the system and the parties by including a None of the Above on ballot papers.
To quote from the Total Democracy group (the cross-party organisation that the NLP supports) ‘Anything that shocks the system, such as in Eastleigh is good, but despite all the parties fighting the election throwing the ‘kitchen sink’ at it, only half the voters were prepared to vote. The largest protest vote stayed at home! It is time to allow the disillusioned section of the electorate the chance to cast vote by putting ‘None of the Above’ on the ballot paper. Join the None of the Above campaign If our political ‘masters’ won’t give us more referendums or PR then give us this!
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