- Turnout at elections is plummeting. Predictably enough, some in the larger parties have responded with calls for compulsory voting. We disagree. The problem is not the quality of the voters; it is the quality of the politicians. British politics is a cosy cartel. Hurdles are placed at every stage to prevent the progress of smaller parties offering real alternatives to the soggy centre ground. We need a new form of politics that brings power back to the people and gives everyone faith that their views do count. To do this, a radical overhaul is needed of the assumptions on which our electoral system is based.
- Wessex Regionalists wish to see more people take an interest in political party organisation. To ensure that the energy and enthusiasm of youth are tapped, we favour lowering the voting age to 16. We do not favour State funding of political parties as this would increase the power of party managers at the expense of the rank-and-file. If a party is worth supporting, its supporters will pay for it. A more pressing issue is the funding of parties by organisations – corporate donors and trade unions. We believe that politics is for people and only people – as individuals – should fund political parties.
A regionalist government in Wessex will:
- abolish the election deposit: an arbitrary tax on smaller parties
- introduce proportional representation at all levels of government (of the options available, single transferable vote has the advantage that it gives the voter – not the party – the power to rank candidates in order of preference)
- severely tighten the national limits for General Election campaign expenditure
- require all reporting of elections in newspapers, on radio and television to provide the opportunity of equal coverage to all parties and candidates
- lower the voting age to 16
- ban donations to political parties by outside organisations.
Meanwhile, the Wessex Regionalists will:
- press the Electoral Commission to recommend these changes to Government.