Women and Environmentalists Urge You To Vote Yes to the Alternative Vote

 In Citizenship, Feminism, Sustainability, The Political

Helping out with the Yes To Fairer Votes campaign really feels like one of the most important things I have done. Last night at our rally, I was beyond inspired when I spoke with a variety of speakers including Lord Paddy Ashdown, Armando Iannucci, John O’Farrell, Richard Wilson, Ed Milliband and fellow Vice-Chair Jonathan Bartley. I will post more on this another day, including photos of the beautiful upcycled From Somewhere dress that I wore.

The thing that stuck out for me at the rally and for the duration of this campaign is how it has brought so many people together with such different backgrounds, experiences and political views that just know that this is better for our democracy. Whatever the outcome, this quote that a friend Gloria Charles shared with me stands out as being true in this case. ‎”pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried” Tim O’Neill

Two groups of people that I work with and am part of have written these letters to ask you to vote Yes tomorrow; Leading Environmentalists and Amazing Women.

In a letter to The Independent today, over 50 amazing women said:

On 5 May, for the first time, we have the chance to decide how we want to elect our MPs. The choice is a simple one: let things carry on as they are, or vote to give us all more choice, a more powerful vote and more say over how this country is governed .

A just and effective democracy should involve and reflect the needs of the entire population. With the Alternative Vote we will see an end to the days when elections are decided by minorities in marginal seats. Candidates will have to reach out to more members of the community and address a wider set of issues.

This kind of inclusive, consensual politics is good for women – from those who want to serve their country to those who want to create a fairer, more progressive democracy. Women currently make up just 22 per cent of MPs. First-Past-the-Post discourages female electoral representation. It has to go.

Everyone should have a voice and everyone should be able to play an active role in the democratic life of our country. To stand for office, to have their voices heard, to make their vote count. For everyone who has ever railed against or felt excluded by our current political system, 5 May is the chance to change things.

Alexandra Shulman, Editor of Vogue

Amisha Ghadiali, Ethical fashion designer and vice-chair of Yes to Fairer Votes

Ann Limb Charity, entrepreneur, educationist, business leader

Carol Lake, Investment banker

Caroline Lucas MP, Green party leader

Daisy de Villenueve, Illustrator

Francesca Martinez, Comedian

Gabrielle Rifkind, Director of Middle East Human Security Programme, Oxford Research Group

Gillian Slovo, Author and screenwriter

Glenys Kinnock, Politician

Helena Kennedy, Human rights lawyer

Hilary Wainwright, Editor of Red Pepper

Isabel Hilton, Journalist and broadcaster

Prof Jacqueline Rose, Professor of English, Queen Mary, University of London

Jay Griffith,s Award-winning writer

Joan Bakewell, Journalist and broadcaster

Joanna Lumley, Actress

Josie Long, Comedian

Judith Wanga, Writer/documentary maker

Julia Neuberger Rabbi, social reformer and member of the House of Lords

Juliette Stevenson, Actress

Katie Ghose, Chair of Yes to Fairer Votes

Larissa Wilson, Actress

Lindsay Mackie Consultant, New Economics Foundation

Lisa Appignanesi, Author

Lisa Forrell, Director

Lynne Franks, Entrepreneur

Lynne Parker, Founder of Funny Women

Marina Warner, Writer

Nina Kowalska, Campaigner

Oona King, Labour politician

Pam Giddy, Chair of the Yes to Fairer Votes advisory council

Patsy Puttnam, Fashion designer

Polly Toynbee, Journalist

Prof Janet Todd, President of Lady Cavendish College, Cambridge

Rosie Boycott, Journalist and Campaigner

Rowan Davies Writer, editor and vice-chair of Yes to Fairer Votes

Sara Parkin, Founder director of Forum for the Future

Seema Maholtra, Fabian Women’s Network

Servane Mouazan, Social entrepreneur

Sian Berry, Writer and campaigner

Solitaire Townsend, Co-director, Futerra Sustainability Communications

Sue Hollick, Businesswoman

Susan Nash, Chair of Young Labour

Susan Richard,s Author and editor

Tamsin Omond, Activist and environmentalist

Tessa Tennant, Financial consultant, chair of Global Cool, executive chair of Ice

Timberlake Wertenbaker, Writer

Victoria Brittain, Journalist

Vivienne Westwood, Fashion Designer

Wendy Savage. Gynaecologist and campaigner

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Journalist

In a letter to the Guardian, published last week, leading environmentalists said:

In less than a week’s time we will be asked if we want to move to a fairer voting system or stick to the status quo. Our current rules for electing MPs to Parliament were designed for a different age, when 95% of us voted for the two main parties; at the last election this fell to 65%, the lowest in Europe. Man made climate change, nuclear power, degradation of ecosystems, depletion of resources and food waste are environmental problems which cut across ideology and partisan interests and can slip through the cracks when the big parties fixate on the preoccupations of the floating voters in marginal seats who currently decide elections.

The Alternative Vote will allow voters to rank candidates and mean MPs will need the support of 50% of their constituents to get elected, a test currently met only by one in three Members of Parliament. MPs will have to reach further and speak to people who are not their ‘ideologically natural’ supporters, opening the door to others, especially those worried about a degrading environment to put their concerns on the map. But this is bigger than the interests of any one party.

It is about the health of our democracy. The alternative vote will make it easier for independent minded people, inside and outside political parties, to be vocal about the environment and for different political parties to emerge if existing parties don’t pick up peoples’ concerns.

If our voting system cannot cope with the most pressing challenge of our times then it must be reformed and May 5th is our one and only chance to do so.

Signed by:

Jonathan Porritt, Environmentalist & Writer

Caroline Lucas MP, Leader of the Green Party

David Puttnam, Member of House of Lords

Tim Smit, Founder of Eden Project

Tony Juniper, Environmental Campaigner & Writer

John Elkington, Founder of Volans & Founder of SustainAbility

Sara Parkin, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future

Joanna Yarrow, Broadcaster, Author and Founder Director of Beyond Green

Ed Gillespie, Low Carbon Traveller and Writer

Wayne Hemmingway, Designer

Colin Hines, Co-director of Finance for the Future

John Grant, Author & Co-Founder of Ecoinomy

Melissa Sterry, Design Scientist & Futurologist

Dale Vince, Founder of Ecotricty & OBE

Simon Goldsmith, Founder of Principled Sustainability

Polly Higgins, International Environmental Lawyer

Richard Reynolds, Founder of Guerilla Gardening & London Leader

Joss Garman, Campaigner & Writer

Tamsin Omond, Founder of Climate Rush

Amisha Ghadiali, Vice-Chair of Yes to Fairer Votes & Ethical Fashion Campaigner

If you are still not certain what the Alternative Vote is, please watch this video with the history guy, Dan Snow, explaining how it works:

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