Standing Aside in Ilford North: A Letter from the Green Party's 2015 candidate, David Reynolds

, 01 May 2017, Tags:

The Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party has decided not to stand in the Ilford North constituency in the coming General Election. Although the Green Party has a powerful and compelling vision for building a better, bolder Britain, and will be standing in the other seats in Redbridge and Waltham Forest, as well as in every corner of the country, the UK's outdated electoral system calls for a different approach in marginal seats such as Ilford North.

Not only does the government appear totally out of its depth when it comes to securing an acceptable Brexit deal, but the extent to which the Conservatives are now an authoritarian hard-Brexit party is becoming clearer by the day. Their failed policies on austerity, our crumbling NHS, the national housing crisis and the environment, all offer a bleak and uncertain future especially to young people in Britain today.

It is essential to resist the Tories' extreme visions of Brexit and their hard-right populism. One way to do this is for the more progressive parties to cooperate in areas where it makes sense to do so, like Ilford North, and recognise that the first-past-the-post electoral system means that standing candidates against each other in marginal seats is only likely to hand victory to the Tories. We call on the Liberal Democrats to acknowledge this reality and follow our lead in not standing in Ilford North at this election.

In the longer term, this cooperation must lead to a change in the voting system. First-past-the-post may have been fine in the 1950s, but it is totally unsuited to today's multi-party political environment. It cannot be right that the Conservatives can form a majority government with the votes of only 24% of the electorate. A system based on proportional representation would ensure that the views of all voters, including those in safe constituencies who know their votes make no difference under the current system, are properly represented in Parliament. And giving young people the vote at 16 would encourage them to get involved in a system that currently allows them no say in their future.

 

David Reynolds

Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party 2015 Parliamentary Candidate for Ilford Nort

 

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