Firstly, may I congratulate you on your election success as leader of our party. I believe that the change of leadership, across the board, creates an opportunity for the party to move forward electorally as a truly viable alternative to the existing political establishment. Notwithstanding the amazing and significant contribution made by Nigel, there always comes a time when a fresh face and approach is beneficial.
There is little doubt that Nigel Farage has made a huge contribution to British politics and may well have been the most influential politician of this generation. He will never be forgotten.
In your address to party members which I received yesterday you specifically raised the following:
“[…] easily came third by number of votes cast in the 2015 General Election even as we were handicapped by a flawed and morally bankrupt ‘First Past The Post’ electoral system”
I couldn’t agree more.
UKIP must pave the way forward with a raft of innovative policy solutions for today’s world. I believe that, rather than conceal policy until the last minute, they must come thick and fast, be openly sourced and rigorously tested yet presented as soon as they are ready so that UKIP candidates all around the country have something special to tell to their constituents. This is how we engage all, and particularly, younger people.
First amongst such clear policy commitments must be voting reform. It is arguably the most important and most far reaching political idea of the age. It will change forever the make-up of our government, create governance with a mandate as opposed to a majority and bring back into the electoral fold those millions of voters that see no point in turning out as so many constituencies are simply foregone conclusions. Additionally, it is a campaign with little scope to be denigrated unfairly. Leaving the EU and controlling immigration is essential but drew much negative and scurrilous comment.Voting reform however actually has the support of ordinary people as well as the ‘liberal left’, and because of the spread of support this campaign should be one for UKIP to progress with vigour.
As a candidate who contested the Witney by-election hustings on Monday 19th September I presented a strategy which embodied the concept of campaigning for the idea of fairer voting reform along with the party and me as an individual. I did not win the support of the members in the hustings vote but, as of the time of writing, the necessary confirmation of that from the NEC has not yet been made known to me.
However, I did have a unique strategy. In essence I wanted to ask the people of Witney who also believe that our present FPTP system is wildly unfair to, in effect, lend a by-election vote to the cause in order to raise the profile of voting reform to a level that will stimulate a real and progressive debate within the country. In a simple by-election the voters of Witney could change the political landscape and I thought that such a message might gain traction amongst the many people who truly believe that such a change is overdue.
To stimulate interest even further I introduced a new and innovative system called F2PTP. Some UKIP grandees have already seen and commented upon it (favourably) shortly after its development in May 2015, but perhaps now such an innovative idea needs to be part of an evaluative process we (UKIP) need to go through.
The system itself is fully detailed at www.makevotescount.co.uk. Also on the website are arguments that counter the supportive arguments that support FPTP and arguments that present a debating route to achieve another referendum.
Witney has some interesting characteristics. As the former Prime Minister’s seat it has a potential to draw media interest. Were we to poll substantially the coverage would be more than it would be for a more neutral seat. Were we to win, the media storm would last for days, perhaps weeks. Within the campaign, though, the introduction of a completely new idea, an entirely different approach to fairer voting that suffers none of the drawbacks of PR or PR lookalike systems would stimulate interest and critical scrutiny.
In essence such a novel and pragmatic option may even serve to heighten the media interest in F2PTP and voting reform in general. Were we to be able to show that in a strong Conservative constituency we could attract significant support for fairer voting, supported by a brand new idea, we will bring voting reform back into the forefront of political debate.
The ‘we’ in this is significant. UKIP are the party that speaks of issues no-one else wants to talk about, we are the only party with new and innovative ideas in the political spectrum so, to initiate debate around a new methodology of voting reform may well show that the characteristics and honesty that drew so much support from the electorate has, by no means, abated in the wake of a leadership change.
I urge you to support and initiate a panel to evaluate, from first principles, all the appropriate, or seemingly appropriate options that currently exist including, of course, the UKIP inspired development of F2PTP. We must find a way to engage with all those who see no need to vote and one way to do that is to make everyone’s vote count.
Just as a taster the following statistical derivations were calculated by applying the F2PTP system to both the 2010 and 2015 general election results.
If there was a voting system that:
- Retained the direct link between MPs and their constituents.
- Eliminated wasted votes. Eliminated tactical voting.
- Made every constituency an effective marginal.
- Increased by a third the voters who got the MP they voted for.
- Kept every vote alive and active for a whole parliament.
- Was simple to explain and implement.
- Made actual constituency sizes much less relevant. (virtually irrelevant)
- Eliminated the blue/red national divisions completely.
- Was clear about who won without the need for a computer.
Wouldn’t you want to examine it?