Our politics in this country – local as well as national – is in crisis, because voters are increasingly aware that they are being cheated.

In Scotland, thanks to reforms introduced by a partnership between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, voters in local elections have a 95% chance of affecting who gets elected. In England, however, the rotten First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system means that only about 45% have any impact. So much for consistent democracy in our so-called United Kingdom.

Governments get elected with large majorities in the House of Commons with less than half the votes cast. It takes 33 times as many supporters to elect a Green MP as to elect a Scottish Nationalist. Residents in “safe seats” – by far the majority – have no chance of ever securing a change in representation.

Unsurprisingly hardly any democracies have copied the UK electoral system. Instead, countries like New Zealand have chosen fairer ways to choose MPs and Governments, resulting in better gender and minority representation, more consensus and longer-term policy planning, together with much greater public satisfaction.

The groundswell of public opinion here now demands reform. This is both reflected in the Make Votes Matter (MVM) campaign throughout Britain (including the MVM Group in the Stroud District) as well as in Parliament. There the newly established All Party Group includes Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National and Green representatives.

All readers who want to make our democracy work effectively are invited to join our campaign to make votes matter again – email mvm.stroud@gmail.com – and to challenge all those who ask for our support in the May elections to do so too.

Yours faithfully

Myles Robinson, Mollie Scott Cato, Paul Tyler, Alan Mossman, Robin Layfield, Kevin Cranston, Daphne Tomlinson, Martin Whiteside, Simon Pickering, George James, Eva Ward, Norman Kaye, Nick Easby, Barbara Imrie, Liz Hillary, Colleen Rothwell, Sally Pickering, Adrian Oldman, Elizabeth Lee, Huw Oliver, Lucas Schoemaker, Bob Hilliard, Tricia Watson, Suzanne Airey, Chris Jockel & Martin Brown, David Drew, Cllr Doina Cornell, Leader of Stroud District Council, Cllr Lesley Williams, Leader of the Labour Group on Gloucestershire County Council, Cllr Steve Robinson, Cllr Chas Townley, Cllr Trevor Hall, Ela Pathak-Sen, Laurie Davies, Taz Jones, Vanessa Price, Natalie Bennett, Megan Sheer, Robin Layfield, Helen Fenton