Letters - December 21, 2019
It’s time to change old voting system
Millions of voters are denied representation by our Victorian voting system
The General Election results show that the votes of thousands of readers have counted for nothing, thanks to continued use of our antiquated first-past-the-post voting system.
Signing away your democratic rights with the mark of illiteracy in single member constituencies enables MPs to be elected on a small fraction of the vote.
As a consequence, seats won by a party do not necessarily reflect the level of support nationwide for that party, nor are outcomes consistent or certain.
Votes determine the result of an election according to where they are cast, not for whom they are cast.
So, in this election, Boris Johnson’s so-called landslide was achieved on just 44 per cent of the vote, 56 per cent of those who voted did not support his party.
Moreover, in Scotland, the Nationalists took 81 per cent of the seats for just 45 per cent of the vote while, in Northern Ireland, unionists were awarded fewer seats than the nationalists, even though they had polled more votes.
As the Secretary of the Labour Party observed, as long ago as 1936: “There is no greater gamble on earth than a British general election”. You might as well throw dice.
If your readers want to know more, www.knackered.org.uk sets out the deficiencies of our current voting system and advocates its replacement with the Single Transferable Vote, a British invention which is used for some elections in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
STV increases the degree and accuracy of representation, it minimizes wasted votes, and is the most powerful vote on the planet. It is high time it was introduced for all elections in the UK.
Dear John... this is why you lost!
An open letter to John McDonnell. Dear John, you claim that the reason Labour performed so poorly at the General Election is because of an unfair media campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.
It was unfortunate for both of you that your ideology was spawned in yesteryear - when your short-lived current positions were just aspirations beyond your wildest dreams.
Moreover, Boris Johnson has been battered incessantly by the press since the start of his premiership - yet has emphatically defeated his enemies.
NHS staff need to be valued
The NHS urgently needs to look at how it cares for staff, making them know they are valued and encouraged to be fully engaged in the organisation.
Caring for patients comes more naturally when you feel valued yourself.
Health services are primarily people-focused services with people caring for people.
Good equipment used by enough well-trained staff working in buildings that are fit for purpose is important but good morale delivers the first class health service we really need.
Some advice for Labour Party
As a Northern working class voter, I’m used to being despised by the Tories, but now it seems I’m also despised by Labour.
If Labour is to become a serious political force again, it could do worse than take some advice from a lifelong supporter:
. Don’t choose a leader who is unelectable.
. Stop waging a class war which was lost decades ago.
. Build policies around a consensus where working people and businesses have a mutual interest in being successful.
Helping families this Christmas
Christmas is traditionally thought of as an opportunity for families to get together and have a wonderful time.
However, many of us find it difficult to live up to the ideal of that perfect Christmas portrayed in TV adverts and magazine articles.
There are always challenges as well as joys at Christmas - can we afford it, will everyone get on and perhaps one of the trickier challenges parents face - managing children’s expectations of Christmas.
However, help is at hand!
Here at Family Action, a charity that has supported families for 150 years, we have launched a special series of both light-hearted and serious online advice to help people prepare for Christmas and enable them to enjoy the festive season.
Our tips are available at www.family-action.org.uk/christmas. Parents and carers of children and young people can also contact Familyline for free help throughout the year on 0808 802 6666, [email protected] or text 07537 404 282. Out of hours, a text service is available for those in crisis.
To access the crisis text service, callers should text FAMILYACTION to 85258.
We hope people find our advice useful and that it will help families to have a very Merry Christmas.
David Holmes CBE
CEO, Family Action
Has there been realisation at No. 10?
The Prime Minister has said that his Cabinet “should not be embarrassed about saying we are the People’s Government”. Have they suddenly come down to earth and realised that the workers are the ones who keep this country of ours on its feet – and not them?