Two campaigners from Mapperley hungry for democracy are planning a protest against the current ‘outdated’ voting system next week.
Seb Soar and Alan Dawson are planning a hunger strike in support of a campaign being organised by Make Votes Matter and plan to avoid eating anything between 8pm on Monday (February 5) through to 8pm on Tuesday.
The national Hungry4Democracy campaign is calling for the UK’s current first past the post voting system to be replaced with proportional representation.
The campaign is taking place next week to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave women the chance to vote in general elections.
Proportional representation is an electoral system in which the distribution of seats corresponds closely with the proportion of the total votes cast for each party. For example, if a party gained 40 per cent of the total votes, a perfectly proportional system would allow them to gain 40 per cent of the seats.
The system would benefit smaller parties, like the Greens or Ukip, as they would be better represented, because votes count towards seats even when they do not end up electing a local MP. Campaigners claim it has also been proven to have a range of positive outcomes, including greater income equality, less corporate control, better long term planning and more environmentally-friendly policy in other countries where it has been introduced.
The pair will end their hunger strike at The Bread and Bitter pub on Mapperley Top this Tuesday. Any money they would have spent on food will be donated to charities via the Make Votes Matter campaign.
Seb Soar said: Our democracy needs to evolve and that’s why we are taking part in this 24 hour hunger strike. One to celebrate the efforts of the suffragettes, but also to highlight the need of democracy to be more representative. Proportional representation is the way forward and with enough support, it will happen.
Alan Dawson said: The First Past the Post system often means that 70% of those that vote in elections do not get the kind of representative they want. No wonder that politics is so polarised at the moment. People should not have to vote tactically every time. They should have the confidence to vote for a candidate that they believe in.
He said: “This is an important issue. I am willing to do this hunger strike, despite the fact that I get irritable when I miss just one meal.”