Leading article: Vote for change. Real change

Share
Related Topics

Four weeks ago, with predictions that turnout in the election then about to be announced would hit a historic low,
The Independent on Sunday launched its One of the Above campaign. The aim was two-fold: to persuade those hundreds of thousands of eligible voters who had failed to register to do so, and to suggest that, in spite of any understandable misgivings about politicians, as many of us as possible should use our vote.

In the first of those aims, hundreds of thousands did register, particularly the young; and on the second, turnout looks likely to climb out of the valley of apathy of the last two elections, buoyed by a close race and perhaps by the television debates. So far, so good.

Now though, as polling day approaches, for the logical extension. The underlying principle of the One of the Above campaign is to make sure that the democratic will of everybody is expressed equally, and that, we believe, is impossible under the discredited first-past-the-post system. Never again should the vast majority of votes be deprived of any impact on the outcome.

So today we begin our campaign for a fairer system with a plea: in this election of all elections, the opinion polls, in signalling a hung parliament, suggest a historic opportunity for change that, as Nick Clegg suggests to us today, may not recur for a generation. And that compels us to suggest that readers should consider voting tactically on Thursday.

What do we mean by that? As the Tories are opposed to electoral reform and are ahead in the polls, we are asking voters in 85 key constituencies to vote for the candidate best placed to frustrate David Cameron. This is all the more urgent as our ComRes poll today suggests that he is poised on the very edge of securing a majority. We publish our guide to the mechanics on page 19.

This is not because we dislike Mr Cameron. We may still be unsure whether he stands for the environmental approach that he emphasises to us today, or for the unlovely politics of immigration he trumpeted in the television debate on Thursday. But the reason for opposing him is that this self-professed candidate of change refuses to consider the most vital change of all. From electoral reform flows much else that we believe this country needs: green jobs, a fairer tax system, an urgent defence review and sustained investment in health and education.

These values are perhaps best espoused by the Liberal Democrats, and one of the pleasing features of this campaign has been the realisation at large that Nick Clegg is a formidable politician, leading a strong team.

Why, then, do we not make it simpler and say: vote Lib Dem? For two reasons. First, one of the anomalies of the present system is that voting Lib Dem could hand scores of Conservative-Labour marginals to Mr Cameron - as Peter Mandelson correctly points out on page 41. Secondly, we do not believe that to reduce the Labour Party's share of the vote to a historic low would be right. Indeed, the best outcome of this election would be a Lib-Lab coalition.

This newspaper has long defended Gordon Brown but is not unaware of his failings. He is a radio politician in a television age, and that has cost him dear. He has been around a long time, and that has had its impact in an era when the mantra is for change. And he has not succeeded in persuading voters that his personality defects are irrelevant to the question of effective government. Yet there is a magnificence about Brown and, on the rare occasions when this election campaign has addressed matters of substance, most importantly the economy and the deficit, it is a case of "no time for novices". And Labour has done an impressive job in 13 years, whatever the failings, notably of foreign policy.

We debated whether it was right for us to dare to advise our readers. But we think we should be clear. We worried that to ask for an anti-Tory vote in selected constituencies might seem negative. But we are convinced that nothing could be more positive than to secure a change to a fairer voting system. No one should be scared of a hung parliament: it is the key to progress.

We called on Britain to register, and we call on you to vote. If you are convinced by the Tories, then please give Mr Cameron your considered support. But if you believe that we are on the cusp of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, then join with us, and vote for the change that really matters. Use your democratic right to enhance the democratic rights of all. Vote for a hung parliament, and a better, fairer, greener Britain may just be ours.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Read Next
'Our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic'  

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk
David Cameron (pictured) can't steal back my party's vote that easily, says Nigel Farage  

Cameron’s benefits pledge is designed to lure back Ukip voters. He’ll have to try harder

Nigel Farage
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices