Blogs

7 Apr 2017

Fighting for fair votes around the world – lessons from the Global Greens Congress

Pic: @JohnGormley Proportional representation has been a longstanding campaign of the Greens. But not just here in the UK – democratic reform is often a key plank of Green platforms. So it was fascinating to see leaders of the Green parties of Canada, New Zealand, the US, Japan and Korea come speak alongside each other at Make Votes Matter’s fringe at the Green Party’s Spring Conference in […]
6 Apr 2017

How PR ‘completely transformed’ New Zealand politics: Metiria Turei, Green Party co-leader

In 1996, New Zealand introduced the Mixed Member Proportion (MMP) voting system – a mixed FPTP and proportional list voting system. It was a big step forward for the fight for fair votes everywhere. I went to the Global Greens’ Congress in Liverpool last weekend – and had the chance to catch up with Metiria Turei, the co-leader of the New Zealand Green Party - who was elected when PR was first […]
3 Apr 2017

Enough is enough - it's time for a full review of Lords' expenses

It seems that each new batch of expenses from the House of Lords is yet another scandal. This weekend we saw fresh revelations – and with it, some pretty egregious abuses of the system. Yesterday the Sunday Times revealed that some Peers are claiming up to £40,000 a year in expenses – while making little or no contributions to debates, committees or questions. It follows news that former Lords […]
27 Mar 2017

The Brexit deficit

If there was a ‘word cloud’ of popular news topics over the last twelve months then ‘Brexit’ would be front, centre and in bold. Since last June’s referendum the topic has dominated headlines, been the focus of family discussions over the dinner table, and of course the workloads in Westminster and beyond. On Monday the Institute for Government published a report highlighting the dominance of […]
21 Mar 2017

We did it: petition for PR hits 100,000 signatures

We did it. The petition to introduce real Proportional Representation for Westminster has hit its target of 100,000 – with over two weeks to go. Thousands of you shared our blogs, tweets, emails and posts about the petition. And it’s paid off. It had about 50,000 signatures at the start of February, meaning it has surged over the past month to get it over the threshold to go before the Petitions […]
17 Mar 2017

Cyfnod Newydd i ERS Cymru

Wrth iddi ymuno â ERS Cymru, mae Jess Blair yn nodi'r heriau a'r cyfleoedd i ddyfnhau democratiaeth Cymru Yn ystod y deuddeg mis diwethaf, mae’r tirlun wleidyddol wedi newid yn sylfaenol dros y byd. Rydym wedi gweld y refferendwm ar aelodaeth y DU o'r Undeb Ewropeaidd, yn ogystal â Llywydd Trump a dau etholiad yng Ngogledd Iwerddon. Tedyd eleni ddim yn debygol o fod yn llai cyffrous gydag […]
16 Mar 2017

Local spending matters when votes aren't equal

Today we have seen the consequences of a violation of the rules on campaign spending, one facet of the way political parties are funded. Yet the Electoral Commission’s fine of the Conservative party for breaching reporting rules on party spending highlights bigger issues in our political system. Campaign spending rules exist for a key reason. Britain’s first past the post electoral system rewards […]
14 Mar 2017

An exciting time to join ERS Cymru

As she joins us as the new Director of ERS Cymru, Jess Blair sets out the challenges and opportunities for deepening Welsh democracy. In the last twelve months the political landscape across the world has fundamentally changed. We've seen the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, President Trump's inauguration and two elections in Northern Ireland. This year looks set to be no less […]
10 Mar 2017

The momentum for Lords reform is growing

Reform often comes through an unusual mix of factors. They stir up within a short space of time – until the whole strange potion explodes. It feels like we might be witnessing that process right now with the House of Lords. Last Sunday the petition for an elected House of Lords hit 100,000 signatures. That means it will now be considered for a debate in Parliament by the Commons’ Petition […]
10 Mar 2017

A shifting Stormont: The view from the Belfast election count

Last week's surprise election in Northern Ireland, called in the aftermath of the Renewable Heating Scheme (RHI) scandal, yielded a result that few predicted. I spent the Friday of the election at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre, where all four Belfast constituencies were being counted – yielding a total of twenty Assembly members in the following 24 hours. This number was reduced from the […]