GET PR DONE! (GPRD) is an independent, grass roots, cross party/ no party, single issue campaign group. Let’s unpack that sentence. Then examine the campaigning bit.
We are not dependent on any larger organisations or political parties. We see ourselves as fighting on behalf of ourselves and ALL voters.
Grass roots activism and protest are what wins real change in the end. How else did the suffragettes win the right to vote for women almost one hundred years ago?
Many of our members and supporters are also members of a range of political parties. Hence, we are cross party…and that can be challenging. Many political activists today are, however, turned off by the internal wrangling that infects many parties today and nu what a mate calls “the tedium of established tribal political networks.” (This tribalism is reinforced by our “winner-takes-all” voting system.) So many of our supporters and campaigners are proudly “no party.”
Single issue? We agree that the reasons behind the UK’s undemocratic voting system are very connected to the overall democratic crisis of this country. And campaigning to GET PR DONE! won’t, by itself, transform the UK into a democratic “promised land.”
But campaigning and winning on PR opens the doors to winning on other issues. And focusing on one issue and one main strategy — gaining proportional representation by FIRST winning over the Labour Party — definitely helps focus our efforts. We are, after all, a mostly online-based group operating all across the UK in the midst of a deadly global pandemic. We are following a basic step-by-step campaign approach.
So FIRST Labour…and then the real campaigning battle, ALL parties versus the Tory Party hierarchy to bring in PR in the UK. (We know a good number of grassroots Conservatives also back PR).
OUR PAST CAMPAIGNING
After its devastating election defeat in December 2019, the Labour Party held a series of hustings to select a new leader. For the founding core group of GET PR DONE! supporters, these meetings were a perfect occasion to launch our campaign for PR. It was an all-party/no party effort. After all, voters of all parties are punished by the current wretched voting system.
So at a total of 12 Labour leadership hustings that stretched from Nottingham to Manchester, about ten of us who are members of the LibDems, Labour and the Greens passed out more than 4000 flyers. The flyers called on Labour to make a manifesto commitment to PR. (See photo at top of this column.)
Our flyer (see below) and the ensuing discussions led to an overwhelmingly positive response. But just as we were drawing up a schedule of other Labour Party and trade union meetings to leaflet, you know what happened next in the spring of 2020. The UK was hit by the first of several Covid-19 lock downs. All such meeting were cancelled or held online. We needed to switch to Plan B.
Plan B means exclusively online campaigning. This was (and still is) of three main types:
1) We held five ZOOM events with pro-PR speakers from the New Zealand Greens, from the UK Lib Dems, with academic expert Jeremy Gilbert, and twice with Labour MP Clive Lewis. He is the unofficial leader of pro-PR Labour MPs. (Elsewhere, see a copy of an ad for one such event we held with Clive.)
2) We have created and distributed a weekly series of pro-PR memes. The memes are intended as conversation starters about PR. We distribute them each week in more than 75 Facebook groups, on Twitter and Instagram. (For a selection, see ‘Memes’).
3) We have created a cross party/ no party Facebook group which has become the premier social media location for debate and discussion of PR issues.
OUR FUTURE CAMPAIGNING
In coming months, we will definitely carry on and expand our online campaigning. Speakers for more ZOOM sessions are being booked. (No tickets were left for our past four ZOOM sessions.) Soon we will be creating a video production team as well.
At online meetings of Constituency Labour Parties, supporters of GET PR DONE! will be putting forward motions requesting that Labour back proportional representation at its conference in September 2021.
Meanwhile, we are involved in the complex process of building a UK-wide organisational infrastructure and de-centralised local PR campaign teams. (Do click on the ‘Join/ Contact’ button to be part of these campaigns.)
And then when it is safe to do so and when Labour and trade union meetings resume offline, we will be able to resume our campaigning activities that were so rudely interrupted many months ago in Nottingham.
GET PR DONE! FLYER
In the December 2019 election, 43.6% o the vote under First-Past-The Post (FPTP) delivered 56.2% of the seats to the Tories. This means we are ruled by yet another elected dictatorship. And for how long?
Proportional representation (PR) is a much fairer and democratic voting system. Most smaller parties support it. But to bring in such a system, we ALL need the active support of the Labour movement and the Labour Party. This is because PR can only be delivered by a Labour government (or a Labour-led coalition).
So, let’s put the pressure on the Tories. Get your trade union branch, Constituency Labour or affiliated organisation to discuss and, hopefully, adopt, this simple motion borrowed from Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform:
“We call upon the Labour Party to include a commitment to introducing a more proportional voting system in its next manifesto.”
GET PR DONE! is a cross party/no party grass roots campaign aiming to promote Proportional Representation.
If you wish to help, email: getPRdone@gmail.com