One often overlooked aspect of our proposed exit from the European Union is that we will then lose our chance to be democratically represented in any parliament.
At present, every vote cast in European elections results in at least one regional MEP who shares the individual voter’s concerns and aims and who will work towards furthering them in the European parliament.
Voters can follow their progress by signing up for their regular emails. In the same way, voters can also learn about the work of MEPs in their region who they didn’t vote for. This is open government and much to be desired.
Since every vote counts, providing a minimum number of voters for that party is elected, even the smaller parties can be represented in the European Parliament.
The European Green Party, for instance (our regional MEP is the energetic Molly Scott Cato), punches well above its weight and has helped to achieve notable environmental reforms including water quality, clean rivers and safe beaches, animal welfare, etc etc (unfortunately our present government has chosen to disregard the regulations regarding air pollution, and if we leave the EU, many of these reforms are at risk of being lost).
The failings of the present first-past-the-post system for the UK Parliament have been highlighted by the referendum result.
Future generations will be astounded that such a drastic decision, to leave the European Union, was taken in spite of such a close result and based on the votes of only 37 per cent of the voting population.
Why did the government not act instead to answer the concerns of those who voted simply in protest because they felt ignored by Westminster?
It is time to replace our outdated and unfair system of electing our MPs. This matters more than ever now that we are about to lose our only chance of casting a meaningful vote.
The Make Votes Matter campaign is attracting support from all political parties and this week people have been taking part in a fast (see the Hungry for Democracy blog) to draw attention to the need for action.
There is already a mechanism for electing MPs proportionally. Let’s use it!
Sue Lloyd, Quay Street, Minehead.