Once again, the local election results in Wolverhampton demonstrate the need for reform of the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) voting system, which leaves large numbers of voters regularly unrepresented on the City Council.
The average turnout in the recent contest was a pitiful 32.84%, with less than a third of registered voters bothering to take part.
The lowest figure of 22.66% was in Bushbury South and Low Hill, where the Leader of the Council, Ian Brookfield was re-elected.
The highest figure of 46.64% was in Tettenhall Wightwick, where two seats were won by the Conservatives.
The major campaign effort is put into marginal wards, where Labour and the Conservatives campaign vigorously for dominance, while ‘safe’ wards for either party are neglected.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland use a fairer voting system, and Wales has passed legislation to let local councils scrap the FPTP system.
Proportional Representation is vital to breathe new life and energy into our local elections. and encourage more people to take part in deciding who should represent their views.
We need to ramp up the pressure and say enough is enough. Voters in England need a real voice, and fair representation.
One party fiefdoms need to be transformed into a vibrant local democracy, where people feel that their vote is not ‘wasted’. It could make a big difference to the turnout, encourage more people to take part in local elections, and provide an outcome that better reflects voters’ choice.
David Murray, Wolverhampton
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