Tag Archives: Member of Parliament

Yet more cats say #Yes2AV

28 Apr

Having been shown the video below

we’ve also found another cat’s take on Humans and Voting.

The humans are thinking about changing the way they elect their MPs. At the moment, they use a simple system called first past the post. Everyone has one vote, and they get to vote for who they want their MP to be. The person with the most votes wins.

That might sound simple (and sometimes I think that humans need to keep things very simple) but it does cause problems. (read the rest here)

King Taddle in the Weekly Taddlegraph


Join the Mullans in 7 days and say #Yes2AV

28 Apr

It is just seven days until the polls open and among other things we get a chance to change the way we elect our MPs. Ordinary voters all across Northern Ireland will be turning out to say Yes! people like the Mullan family from Portrush.

The Mullans preparing to say Yes! next Thursday

The Mullans may be voting in different ways on their ballot papers for the Assembly and Council elections next Thursday, but they agree on how they will vote on the AV referendum.

“We’re from different political persuasions, but we’re united in the belief that the current system needs reform.  We need to make the system to elect MPs fairer.  That is why we are supporting YES!

“At the last election, only three Northern Ireland MPs were elected on over 50% of the vote.  This means that far too many of our voices aren’t counted, something which a YES! vote will change.  It’s also easy to use, we’re already used to preferential voting here in NI, it’s as simple as 1,2,3.

“By voting YES! we will be giving ourselves a stronger voice in elections, because if your favourite doesn’t win, you can still have a say in who does – no more all or nothing.  It’s a small, progressive change which will lead to a big difference to our politics.”

Why not join with the Mullans and thousands of others in Northern Ireland and say Yes! next Thursday, 5th May. Polls are open from 7am until 10 pm.

Remember to vote in Northern Ireland you need to take your ID with you on polling day

  • A UK, Irish or EEA driving licence (photographic part)
  • A UK, Irish or EU passport
  • An electoral identity card
  • A Translink Senior SmartPass
  • A Translink 60+ SmartPass
  • A Translink War Disabled SmartPass
  • A Translink Blind Person’s SmartPass

Belfast Says Yes!

4 Apr
Belfast Says Yes!

Banner drop outside Belfast City Hall (Picture by Phil O'Kane: Used with Permission)

Once upon a time, not so long ago a very different message looked down on Belfast shoppers from the front of City Hall. But on Saturday local activists unveiled a different and new message to the lunchtime crowd, “Belfast says Yes!”. We also were not doing this alone over Saturday and Sunday in over 100 locations across the UK fellow activists for fairer votes were doing exactly the same.

Many stopped and took photos on their phones, taxi drivers on the rank opposite tooted their horns in agreement and many people said it was about time for people in Belfast to be positive about something.

At the last election only one of the four Belfast seats returned an MP with over 50% of the votes behind them, and he had abandoned them for a seat elsewhere. So of course the people of Belfast are wanting MPs that will work hard, reaching out beyond their core support.

Northern Ireland Organiser Stephen Glenn said:

“It was great to see the positive response from passers-by this afternoon. Belfast and Northern Irish voters understand the unfairness of First Past the Post, many of them can’t understand why we still have it for Westminster when they use their preferences to produce fair devolved and local government.

“As people were saying today it is about time people here were positive about something. It is good to see as we head into the final weeks so secure a Yes vote on 5th May.”

A Yes vote in the referendum on the 5th May will lead to hard-working MPs looking out for the concerns of their constituents as they strive to get and keep the support of over 50%. It will also do away with you, the voter, having to maybe lend your only preference to a party you may not necessarily agree with most just to stop someone else getting it. Voting yes means you can rank your candidates in order of preference for Westminster too.

Release: Rathlin says YES! to fairer votes

28 Mar

The Harbour, Rathlin Island

Rathlin says Yes! to Fairer Votes

Rathlin Islanders welcomed the YES to fairer votes campaign to their shores. The campaign spent a day talking to voters across the island about the upcoming referendum on 5th May.

The islanders had recently rallied around to secure the island’s ballot box so that they could continue to vote on the island. The residents are well aware that every vote matters and want their voice to be heard.

Stephen Glenn, campaign organiser for NI said: “Everyone I spoke to today said they wanted politicians to work harder to get elected. They want their vote to count and their voice to be heard. That’s exactly what the new Alternative Vote system will do. Rathlin Islanders have just as much right to be heard and we’re taking this campaign all across NI.”

Every vote counts from Rathlin and beyond


Community Organiser Laura Hawthorne on the ferry to Rathlin

Billy Bragg wants Northern Ireland to say Yes!

25 Feb
Billy Bragg with Stephen and Laura

Billy Bragg meets Yes! Campaign Team backstage at the Crescent Arts Centre

This week Billy Bragg has been in Belfast for the Belfast Nashville Songwriters’ Festival but performing and carrying out a workshop. The musician and songwriter always well known for his political stances is one of the Yes! to Fairer Votes campaign vice chairs. Northern Ireland Organiser Stephen Glenn and Community Organiser Laura Hawthorne went along to meet him at the Crescent Arts Centre and get him to give a message to the people of Northern Ireland.

Why is Billy so keen to see a change in the way we vote in Westminster elections? He says:

“One of the worst aspects of our current voting system is the existence of so many ‘safe seats’, where the same party gets elected time and time again on a minority of votes, a phenomenon that undermines voter participation. Alternative Vote will challenge the safely seated MPs to get off their bums and start seeking the votes of the majority of voters in their constituency, forcing them to reach out beyond their natural supporters.”

In Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland we are hoping that our MPs do start to reach out beyond their natural supporters. That would mean that we are starting to have an existence that truly is shared. So if you want your MP to work harder and get off their “bums” to seek your vote, stand up say Yes! and get others to do so on 5 May. Contact us to out how you can get involved.

Here are a few words from Billy.

Democracy Drinks – 28 Feb, 7.30–9pm, The Parlour

18 Feb

Join us for Democracy Drinks

Sign up to join us for our Democracy Drinks on 28th February in the Parlour Bar, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast, from 7.30 until 9.00 p.m.

Local activists will be there to tell you why they are voting Yes, and to provide further information on how you can get involved in the campaign in Northern Ireland to make sure all MPs work harder.

Find out more about what we are doing by liking us on Facebook.


Join me in making our MPs work harder – says Michael Carchrie Campbell

17 Feb

Fairer Votes Belfast Coordinator, Michael Carchrie Campbell, says Yes!

Michael Carchrie Campbell, Fairer Votes Belfast coordinator is calling for those who support the change to the Alternative Vote for electing MPs to Westminster to support the nationwide campaign and help ensure that there will be a positive result in the UK-wide referendum on May 5th.

Speaking this afternoon, Michael said:

“Following Royal Assent to the Parliamentary Voting Systems and Constituencies Act earlier today, we now have the referendum to make the change to a fairer voting system set for May 5th.

“The Yes campaign needs as much help as possible to ensure that the real messages are put out to all of us in the communities of the UK. To help us all in our local groups do this, the campaign centrally needs major financial assistance. We’re not backed by the rich bankers or the trade unions. We’re a campaign of the people. That’s why I’m asking you to join me in donating as much as you can to the campaign so that we can get as much literature printed and campaigning training carried out as quickly as possible.

“Of course, once we have literature printed, and then in our hands here in Belfast, we will be organising street stalls and other events to make sure that all voters in the UK know why this campaign is one of the most important ever in our history.”

To help the Yes campaign please donate as much as you can afford. And say Yes to Fairer Votes as well.

Watch this space for more updates on what will be happening in and around Belfast in the coming weeks and months.

There Will Be an AV Election in the Lords

9 Feb
View of the House of Lords Chamber in the Pala...

Image via Wikipedia

As anyone who has followed proceedings in the House of Lords, with regard to the Bill that could bring about a referendum for a fairer voting system for Westminster elections, the Labour peers have dragged their heels.

There are still 92 positions for hereditary peers in the House of Lords. This was the number that was decided upon in 1999 would exist until all hereditary positions were removed. However, when one of that number dies, there is a by-election in the upper chamber. Normally this is an election by the members of that peers political designation to keep the balance as it is.

The death on Christmas Eve of Lord Strabolgi necessitates just such a by-election. The timing of this event, Lord Strabolgi’s political history and the means to elect his replacement leads to an ironic coincidence.

For many years Lord Strabolgi was a Labour peer for most of life (even being a front bencher) although he was recently technically an independent as one of the deputy speakers. He was one of only four Labour hereditary peers in that original panel of 92. Today’s announcement of the by-election to take place on 22 March comes while their Lordships are still debating the Bill that contains the referendum on the Alternative Vote. The means of electing Lord Strabolgi’s replacement is ALTERNATIVE VOTE!

If Lord Strabolgi had not been a deputy speaker only the Labour Peers would be ranking their candidates in order of preference on 22 March. As it is all the life peers will have a say in selecting a replacement.

However, if it is good enough for the largely unelected Upper Chamber of Parliament to elect the only elected element to their chamber why is the Alternative Vote not good enough to fill the fully elected House of Commons?

AV is used in many ways by the political classes in the UK for elections among themselves. Why? Because they see it as a fairer way to come to a result. Yet some of those political classes don’t think the people should have the same chance as they give themselves. That’s why Yes! to Fairer Votes are campaigning for that change. That’s why people are calling from our phone bank in Belfast to tell others about the referendum.

You to can get involved email northernireland(at)yestofairervotes(dot)org(dot)uk (replacing the relevant bits) or call us on (028) 9089 1798 to get involved today.

Stephen Glenn is the Northern Ireland Organiser for Yes! to Fairer Votes

Labour Yes campaign takes off

8 Dec

Today sees the launch of Labour Yes! – the Labour Party’s Yes to Fairer Votes Campaign, together with a well branded website in line with the main Yes! campaign website.

One of the things that caught my eye was

Get involved

The Labour Yes Campaign is looking for volunteers to be Labour Yes Champions in every constituency in the UK. If you are interested in becoming the Champion for your area please email volunteer@labouryes.org.uk

The Campaign will be organising campaign activity alongside regular Labour campaigning sessions. If you would like to talk to us about bringing Labour Yes volunteers to your area, please get in touch with us at volunteer@labouryes.org.uk

Yes Champions?

Is this something that we should be looking at within all the political parties? I think so. If every party had a Yes champion in every constituency this would be a great help to the Yes campaign.

In every constituency in the UK?

Can I put my hand up and ask does this include that part of the UK known as Northern Ireland?