The Tories are planning an assault on democracy

I write for Left Foot Forward

Voter suppression, limiting protest on the streets by banning anything that might be effective, stopping people seeking justice in the courts when the government acts in a dictatorial way – the Queen’s Speech is clearly designed to help the Conservatives stay in power for many decades longer.

Voter ID is a solution looking for a problem. The absence of fraud is obvious, which leaves us with one question: why is the government making this a priority?  

The same question has to be asked of their intention to impose First Past the Post on the Mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Londoners have used this electoral system for over twenty years without any controversy, and the vast majority of voters used it for Police and Crime Commissioner elections last week. It allows Greens, Lib Dems and other smaller parties to gather first preference votes from people who know that their second preference is a ‘safety vote’ for one of the two main parties. 

And then for the Government plans to “restore the balance of power between executive, legislature & the courts.” This is an ominous threat to the ability of Parliament to hold ministers to account and the independence of our judiciary. There have been numerous, successful examples in recent years of people challenging the government in the courts, including the Good Law Project using a judicial review to expose the profiteering of the Tory chumocracy from the Covid crisis.  

Boris Johnson currently has nine different official investigations into his financial dealings and personal connections. We need PR and an elected second chamber, but we also need a complete rewrite of the rules on party funding, the use of social media and corporate lobbying. Along with a Green New Deal, that could become the basis of an electoral pact to not only beat the Conservatives at the next election but transform the way we govern ourselves.