The picture below shows the level of support in my local area for my political views – pretty much the lowest possible!
So what, you might ask? Well, what it means is there is a very high possibility that my local representative will (1) not share my views and (2) be responsible for representing more people who disagree with me than agree with me. It’s just isn’t possible for someone to do both.
I have posted before that the need for local representation was originally created in previous centuries, when your representative living a long way off meant that effectively only the very rich, who could afford to travel, would have their voices heard. But that is not the case in the early 21st century – we regularly hold long and meaningful conversations with people on the other side of the globe, never mind the other end of the country.
You could argue that I can always move, if I want to be adequately represented. After all, a quick trip down the South Coast line, and I’d be in sunny Brighton, where there is the strongest support for my views. Even a little shuffle sideways into Kent would get me pretty strong agreement with my views, and a much greater chance of being well-represented. But there are two issues with that: the first is, why should I (and all the other people of all political hues) have to move to get decent democracy? And the second is, that would create even greater division within our country.
I know I’m a bit weird, a bit of an outlier, but does that mean I lose my right to representation? And what about all the other outliers – to left and right of me – do they not deserve real effective representation too? Or is it only the middle ground, those willing to toe the various party lines, who get to have democracy?
The answer, as I have said before, is to move away from a party-based system of local representation, and instead have our representatives elected on the basis of the issues that they are willing to take up. Here’s the post where I first suggested this: http://www.life7bn.com/are-we-truly-represented/