Electoral reform supporters gather at Parbold Bottle to call for proportional voting system

Electoral reform supporters gather at Parbold Bottle to call for proportional voting system

by Henry James (October 2021)

ELECTORAL reform supporters in West Lancashire campaigned at the site of the famous Parbold Bottle.

The Bottle is a symbol of the path to democracy starting from 1832 and the Great Reform Act.

Ken Lamden, from West Lancs Make Votes Matter said: “It’s awesome to think that we are continuing the tradition of democratic campaigning in West Lancashire that goes back nearly 200 years. Although unlike in 1832, everyone 18 has a vote nowadays, our first past the post system which hails back to those times is far from perfect.

“For example in the 2019 general election it took 38,264 votes to elect a Tory MP, 50,837 votes for a Labour MP, 336,00 for a Lib Dem MP, 866,435 for a Green MP and 25,883 for an SNP MP – how can that be fair? We want a proportional voting system where seats match votes and all votes count equally.”

Ken continued: “First past the post, known as winner takes all, has been rejected by most modern democracies.

“A proportional system, where the number of MPs matches the votes cast means that those in power fairly represent the diversity of peoples’ views.

“Every vote counts so there is no such thing as a “wasted vote”.

“A proportional voting system would at a stroke do away with the lottery of tactical voting, remove the unfair influence of marginal seats and remove the inbuilt party advantage that is part of first past the post.”

The local campaigners are part of the national Make Votes Matter group which draws support from across the entire political spectrum and from various non-political groups with the aim of introducing Proportional Representation for UK Parliamentary elections.

Group member and local historian Stephen Hesketh also spoke of the history of the monument and the Great Reform Act it marked.

Old maps and photographs show the original monument to have stood on higher ground on the edge of Parbold Hill quarry. Whether due to age or activities in the quarry, in the 1950’s it was in need of some repair and the decision was taken to rebuild it in its present location beyond the quarry perimeter.

In its original and at that time treeless location, the monument would have enjoyed a more prominent position in the local landscape and been visible from the road, canal and, later, from the railway.

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