November 27, 2022

Darren Hughes, Managing Director

Darren HughesThis year has undoubtedly been one of the most turbulent years in modern political history, but one that has given democratic reformers both justification for the need for a new kind of politics and much hope that change is indeed possible.

At the beginning of the year we had one Prime Minister, nobody would have predicted that we would end up with two more. The chaos of First Past the Post is for all to see. We end 2022 with a series of crises – from rising living costs to energy prices and climate change – each symptomatic in different ways of Westminster’s broken politics.

We’ve seen what happens when our winner-takes-all voting system, undeserved one-party majorities, and command-and-control politics lead to a culture of filth and nepotism — where internal party struggles take precedence over ordinary people’s priorities.

But more and more people are realizing that reforming our political system isn’t just a nice touch, it’s the basis for us to achieve the kind of change we need to address the issues we face as a country. A voting system that represents the views of all voters is an essential part of a democracy that benefits every voter.

This year was the first full year of our new strategic plan – A future built on democracy — and with it a renewed focus on both making the case for reform and setting the policies that our politics needs. During this time we have seen real achievements and new ways to solve our problems. From Labor’s support for proportional representation at this year’s party conference to an agreement on Senedd reforms in Wales, the green shoots of a fairer democracy are on display.

We are proud to have helped drive these changes through our work in 2022. By raising our voice in the media, developing sound research and policies, campaigning and lobbying, and lobbying for reform online, we have led the charge for reform.

But we know that we cannot achieve the change we want to see alone. This year we have worked with many others to advocate for better politics. We have worked with organizations such as IPPR, Conservative Action for Electoral Reform and many others. As part of the Labor for a New Democracy coalition alongside groups like Labor Campaign for Electoral Reform, Politics for the Many, Make Votes Matter, we have pushed PR up the Labor agenda and a historic victory in support of PR within the party won. As a founding member of the Democracy Defense Coalition, we have worked with Fair Vote, Open Britain and Unlock Democracy to fight against the government’s dangerous plans for voter identification in the electoral law. As part of the new Democracy Network, chaired by our very own Dr. Jess Garland, we have joined forces with other organizations that share our values ​​to put democracy at the heart of political debate.

And of course, nothing we do would be possible without the continued support of our members and supporters. Over 5,400 of you continue to support our work each month and serve as cheerleaders for reform in your communities across the country. Your continued support during these difficult times is appreciated more than ever.

But we know the difficulties we face when implementing change. Honesty is one of the three values ​​that underpin our work and we would be remiss not to speak openly about the challenges we face as the opportunities for reform continue to grow.

As the case for reform grows, so will her opposition, while attacks from supporters of the status quo grow with her. That is why we must continue to fight for our cause and advocate for reform wherever and whenever we can.

The ERS’ core belief that politics can be better than it is feels more true than ever.

As we look back at what we have achieved this year and at our plans for the year ahead, we know that our vision of a democracy fit for the 21st century is all the more important.

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