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Changing the system

A coalition of leaders and academics want genuine change in Westminster

OBV’s Simon Woolley is among the signatories in a letter published in today’s Guardian, calling for genuine reform of the voting system.

Woolley joins faith leaders and academics from across the political spectrum in supporting calls by Power2010 to tackle the ‘root problems’ in Britain’s democratic system.

Power2010 advocates radical reform to deliver a fair voting system and a transparent democracy in response to Thomas Legg’s report on expenses. The coalition have organised a mass online petition which closes on 22 February, next Monday.

The full Guardian letter:

With the publication of Thomas Legg’s report on expenses, some will now urge us to “move on” from one of the most shameful episodes in parliament’s history (Report, 5 February). We should resist any such calls unless it is accompanied by the real change we need. The expenses scandal is just one symptom of a dysfunctional political system whose faults have real implications for the lives of people across the country.

The upcoming election will provide some much needed catharsis, but our political system will only be healed if root problems are addressed. It is for that reason that we are supporting the public debate on democratic renewal being promoted by Power2010. We represent millions of people of all political persuasions and are collectively one of the largest and most diverse coalitions ever brought together in this country to drive democratic reform.

The campaign is currently drawing up a people’s agenda for reform through a mass online vote at http://www.power2010.org.uk, and it is here until 22 February, when the vote closes, that we are urging our supporters to have their say. Power2010 will then continue, campaigning on the outcome of this discussion. Change can only succeed if it comes from the grassroots. Civil society must take the lead in encouraging a popular dialogue on reform.

Gavin Hayes General secretary, Compass; Noel Hatch Compass Youth; Richard Reeves Director, Demos; Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari Secretary general, Muslim Council of Britain; Jessica Asato Acting director, Progress; Simon Woolley National co-ordinator, Operation Black Vote; Janice Small Director, Conservative Action for Electoral Reform; ; David Babbs Executive director, 38 Degrees; Tehmina Kazi Director, British Muslims for Secular Democracy; Ian Galloway Convener church and society council, Church of Scotland; Simon Barrow Co-director, Ekklesia; Andrew Elliot Council chair, English Secondary Students Association; Anna Watson Senior rights and justice campaigner, Friends of the Earth; Angus Hardie Director, Local People Leading; Josie Appleton Convener, Manifesto Club; Dot Gibson General secretary, National Pensioners Convention; Stuart Etherington Chief Executive, National Council for Voluntary Organisations; Stewart Wallis Executive director, New Economics Foundation; Phil Booth National co-ordinator, NO2ID; Anthony Barnett Founder, openDemocracy; Pam Giddy Director, Power2010; Ian Leggett Director, People and Planet; Graham Smith Campaign manager, Republic; Martin Sime Executive director, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations; Linda Butcher Executive director, Sheila McKechnie Foundation; David Miller Executive director, SpinWatch; Adam O’Boyle Co-founder, Student Hubs; Peter Facey Director, Unlock Democracy; May De Silva Director, Women into Politics; Willie Sullivan Campaigns director, Vote for a Change

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