Thursday, 3 March 2011

Revolution or Reform?

On the 2nd February I wrote about the Burghers of Calais and mentioned that I had read about them in Stephen Clarke's book 1000 years of annoying the French. In the same book I read about the French Revolution. Stephen tells us that the storming of the Bastille was not the major event that sparked events. In fact there was a long list of grievances presented to King Louis XVI. The Revolution could have stopped there and then as the king was fairly hopeful that the (fairly major) demands could be negotiated. The problem was the voting system.

The clergy, with 291 votes represented 10,000 people. The 270 votes from the nobility represented 400,000 people. Thirdly, the 25 million commoners had 585 votes. The 'people' had a majority but they wanted their MPs to represent equal numbers. The disagreement between the Assemblee and the king escalated into revolution. So voting reform was the key factor.

Move forward to present day UK. There are so many who no longer vote as they feel disenfranchised and apathy wins. However there are so many more who are angry at the failings of our electoral system. Our former Labour MP on Morecambe is well aware of the Tory money that was poured into certain constituencies. Elections are won and lost in just a few seats across the country. There are so many voters who just don't see the reason to vote when their MP has a huge majority.

If there is a choice between revolution or electoral reform I would rather go for the latter.

Change the world

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