There are many reasons why voters are being taken for granted in this constituency...

Written by Dr Sam Page on .

Sirs,   
Peter Morgan has complained at the lack of opportunities to interact with local candidates for the General Election. He also says that he has received very few leaflets and 'not a single canvasser'. 

There are many reasons for this:  Devizes is classified as a 'very safe seat', in fact it is the 38th safest seat in the country.   At the 2010 General Election, the Tory candidate received 55% of the vote and a majority of 13,000.

That means that this year's result is a foregone conclusion - the Electoral Reform Society has already called the Devizes result and 'voter power' in this constituency, based on the probability of the seat changing hands, is just 0.084, compared to an average UK vote.

Then there's the funding issue: while campaign funding at constituency level is strictly limited, funds controlled by party headquarters are not. The two big parties, Labour and Conservative, get their funds from wealthy tycoons or Trades Unions, while smaller parties (excluding UKIP) get their funds from individual membership subscriptions.

It costs £500 for a deposit to stand as a Parliamentary Candidate. The Green Party was able to stand candidates in almost every constituency in England and Wales for this election by fund-raising via Crowdfunder.

Furthermore, the Devizes constituency covers a huge area, stretching from Baydon in the north to the outskirts of Andover in the south.  This means that it is extremely expensive and time-consuming for candidates and activists of small parties to leaflet households in every town and village in the constituency.  Canvassing the whole area is out of the question. 

A proportional voting system would abolish safe seats and ensure that the incumbent campaigns vigorously to win our votes.  Four years ago I campaigned in Marlborough for a fairer voting system in the run-up to the AV (Alternative Vote) Referendum. I wonder if Peter Morgan did the same?

Dr Sam Page
Marlborough

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