Dear Clive Efford,
Thank you for your recent reply (dated 11th September 2013) to my letter to you (sent 27th August 2013). I note with some disappointment that, while you wrote several paragraphs praising Ed Miliband, you failed completely to address any of my actual questions.
I would genuinely appreciate answers to those questions. I have copied them again here, and I would be grateful if you would answer them for me.
I am strongly in favour of electoral reform. I would like to see the following policies in place:
* There is talk of introducing compulsory voting for first-time voters (i.e. those eligible to vote for the first time). I am against this, as it effectively criminalises those who would simply stay home. Doing nothing in the privacy of your own home should never be a crime.
* I am very strongly in favour of adding a “none of the above” option on ballot papers. In the event that “NOTA” wins in a seat, the leading “live” candidate would be elected on a “pro tem” basis for one year, then a by-election must be held. As a practical consequence, I don’t expect “NOTA” to win more than one seat every general election or two, but it would accomplish a more important goal. It would allow protest votes to be objectively measured as distinct from abstainers and spoiled votes. Additionally, it would take in votes that might otherwise go to extremist political parties trying to take in the protest vote. This will mean the larger parties won’t feel the need to shift policies to match that extremist party to “recapture” those votes, and instead they can investigate why those voters were choosing NOTA and chase votes by shifting policy in that direction instead. I suspect the final result would be that both Conservatives and Labour will end up shifting towards more populist ideals, instead of the current situation here they chase the moneyed vote.
* The House of Lords is over-stuffed. It is one of the largest second bodies in any nation. While a proper reform is needed, including a proper public debate on the matter, one stop-gap measure is possible. I would like to see a moratorium on new nominations to that house until the current number falls below 650 (equal to the number of MPs), through resignation or otherwise, and that the number never be allowed to rise above that number again.
I would be pleased if you could outline your policies (and where you can speak for your party, those of the Labour party) in these three areas. I would be especially interested if there are any discrepancies between your personal views on these items and the policies of the Labour party.
I hope to advise my friends and associates of your responses.