In a fit of righteousness I splashed out a tenner a few weeks back to join the Electoral Reform Society. Fair voting systems are something I've always been in favour of and surely one of the most important issues facing our country. With the impending election heading for a hung parliament, the issue is racing back to the top of the agenda and I felt I'd like to become more knowledgable. So I joined.
I hadn't heard a peep from them until a rather lush glossy magazine plopped on the doormat yesterday and it is worth the wait. It's full of informative articles both about the campaigning activities the Society has been up to, alongside opinion pieces on Single Transferable Vote, Alternative Vote and so on.
As someone who had a vague idea that electoral reform was something "good" before, I now feel armed with the knowledge and the conviction that our democratic process is completely wrecked. Just a handful of voters decide the outcome of the country; a tiny swing from one party to another can results in huge swathes of seats transferring hands. More importantly, the views of significant minorities are simply not taken into account whatsoever. We bleat about giving democracy to other countries as a front for giving our troops something to do (or die for) but true democracy is something sadly lacking much closer to home.
There's a particularly nice article pointing out that the FPTP system resulted in Jedward nearly winning the X Factor. Under a more proportional system would they have got anywhere?
My pockets are £10 lighter but it's something well done. This is an issue that transcends party politics - and one of the most important issues we face this year. Now's the time to get somethnig done about it.