Hang 'Em High - The campaign for a hung parliament
Throw out the big two parties, Vote for change
London – 21 April 2010
“A hung parliament is our best chance for serious democratic political reform, including a fair voting system that ensures all shades of voter opinion are represented in parliament. It is the most likely way to secure a government that has majority public support,” said Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner.
“A representative parliament and government is a human rights issue. Democracy is about a fair voting system and the right of people elect a government that commands majority support.
That’s why I am supporting the Hang ‘Em campaign for a hung parliament:
“A big vote for the Greens, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the SNP is vital to break the poisonous stranglehold of the big two parties that have ruled Britain for 50 years without ever winning a majority of the popular vote.
“The last thing we need is more one-party rule by a government with minority support. For over half a century, we’ve had governments with a majority of seats based on a minority of votes. The rot has got to stop.
“A hung parliament would prevent one party ramming through unpopular policies against the will of the majority. It would add to the pressure for serious political democratisation to renew our body politic. It is our best hope for progressive social change.
“A fair voting system would empower the liberal, left and green majority. It probably would have prevented the poll tax and British involvement in the Iraq war:
“The first-past-the-post voting system is political corruption on a monumental scale. It frustrates the will of the majority. Millions of votes don’t count. In 1983, 1997 and 2005, it produced big majorities in parliament, based on only 36% to 43% of the popular vote. This is not democracy. This is why we need democratic renewal. A hung parliament is the outcome that is most likely to produce this renewal,” said Mr Tatchell.
Join the Hang ‘Em Facebook group here:
See the Hang ‘Em website here: http://hang-em.com/
The Hang 'Em campaign aims to bring about a hung parliament – a parliament that is balanced, where no party has overall control.
It is the first campaign of its kind in the world. The internet has been previously used to support party campaigns but it has never been used to challenge the choice on offer and produce a balanced parliament. It comes as politicians (1), economists (2) and opinion polls (3) suggest a groundswell of support for a 'hung' Parliament.
The aim of this non-partisan campaign is to bring about a hung parliament with as many smaller parties and independents as possible, from the Greens and the SNP to Plaid and the Lib Dems.
It’s call is “to frustrate the bosses of the Labour and Tory parties” and open up British politics to “a wider range of MPs and opinions.” The message is this: "We have got to renew democracy in Britain. They won't, so hang 'em until they do".
The method: Hang 'Em supported candidates will be chosen by asking four questions:
1. Realistically, could they win?
2. Are they neither Labour nor Tory loyalists?
3. Do they have a record of independence, rebellion and integrity?
4. Are they from a smaller party or independent (the smaller the better)?
The candidates will be listed on the Hang 'Em website.
Hang 'Em has been started by an informal (and growing) ad hoc network of grassroots volunteers. (4)
Anthony Barnett, former director of Charter 88, said: "The aim of Hang 'Em is not ideological. It is not about voting for a candidate whose views you agree with (and is likely to lose). It's about voting for people with integrity and character - the more independent the better - including Tories and Labour candidates with a record of rebellion. It's about joining up with people across Britain, from right and left and centre, who feel the same way. It's about starting to turn anger into something positive.”
Jonathan Bartley from the progressive Christian thinktank Ekklesia said: "Many are furious with a political class who they feel have waged war without consent, spent taxes to line their pockets, invaded privacy with cameras and lied about nearly all of it. And nor will they let people decide the issues central to democracy. We have got to renew the political system in Britain. A hung parliament would be a more representative Parliament, and there is now a clear political and economic case for it."
Helen Lambert web-designer from PoliceStateUK said: "The two parties have become ever more complacent while reducing MPs to their playthings, we need to break politics open and the quickest way is to hang parliament."
Notes to Editors
1. Clare Short and Alex Salmond are amongst retiring MPs who have said that because of the state of the decline of the House of Commons a hung parliament is needed to bring about much needed political reform.
2. Barclays Capital analyst Simon Hayes has said that a hung Parliament might be a blessing for the UK economy:
The Economist magazine notes this week that of the ten largest fiscal retrenchments carried out by OECD countries since the 1970s, seven were pushed through by coalition or minority governments:
3. A ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror at the weekend revealed 46% of voters would choose a hung parliament:
4. Hang'Em was started by a network of people including: Anthony Barnett, former director Charter 88; Helen Lambert co-founder of PoliceStateUK; Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley, founders and directors of Ekklesia the progressive Christian thinktank; Stuart Weir, Founder of Democratic Audit; Rosemary Bechler, openDemocracy editor; Tony Curzon Price, Editor-in- Chief openDemocracy; Guy Aitchison, Deputy Director of the Convention on Modern Liberty; Adam Price former Plaid Cymru MP; Felix Cohen, web consultant; Peter Johnson, financial analyst. Others supporting it include human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
They were inspired by the response to Suzanne Moore's call for a hung parliament in The Mail on Sunday (20 February 2010):
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/arti cle- 1252574/SUZANNE-MOORE-If-let-tick-box-polling-day- said-Hung-Parliament.html
and by Anthony Barnett's cover article in the New Statesman on 22 March:
5. Website: http://hang-em.com
Facebook page: Hang 'em
Twitter hashtag: #hangem