The chairman of the Lichfield and Burntwood branch of the Green Party has challenged politicians to use the Brexit vote as a trigger for electoral reform.
The EU referendum last week saw a majority back the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Some analysts have suggested the leave campaign’s success came on the back of a desire for people to show their dissatisfaction with mainstream politics.
Robert Pass, chairman of the local branch of the Greens says that while the referendum may have allowed people to regain control of their destiny, they must be clear about who has the power over it in future.
“Like most people in the UK, I was surprised by the decision of a majority of British people to leave the EU,” he said. “However, I fully understand why so many people voted for Brexit.
“Many people feel disempowered by forces out of their control, millions have seen their quality of life suffer following years of de-industrialisation, the financial crash and socially damaging cuts to public services and infrastructure. The leave camp and the right wing media shamelessly played on people’s fears and anger by pointing the finger of blame at immigrants and the EU.
“The Brexiteers struck a nerve with the campaign slogan ‘Take Back Control’. Who doesn’t want greater control of their democracy? But the question we should be asking is control for who?
“I’m all for removing the influence of unaccountable, unelected elites, but we must not forget that leaving the EU has done nothing to remove that undue influence from the corridors of power in London.
“In order to truly take back control, the people of this country should use our exit from the EU as an historic opportunity to refresh and revitalise our democracy in the UK.”
Mr Pass – who stood for the Greens at the 2015 General Election, says voters now need to push their politicians for a change to what he believes are tired forms of democracy.
“We need to make seats match votes”
“We need electoral reform,” he said. “The first-past-the-post system is rigged in favour of the two established parties. It is no longer fit for purpose and must be replaced with a fairer, more proportional system.
“This would mean that in future, we would not have a repeat of the 2015 General Election where four million people voted for UKIP and over one million voted for the Green Party and they each won just one seat in the House of Commons, whereas the Conservative Party achieved 37% of the vote but won 50% of the seats and 100% of the power.
“In short, we need to make seats match votes.
“We need House of Lords reform, it is no good celebrating freeing ourselves from the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels without turning our attention to the unelected Lords in Westminster, who derive their power and status from either inheritance or political patronage.
“Finally we need to deal with the toxic influence that money has on our politics. The power and influence that wealth buys is immense and growing. Wealthy individuals and corporations give money to our political parties because they want something in return. Money buys them the kind of influence that ordinary people can only dream of.
“Then there are the thousands of corporate lobbyist, whose full-time job is to influence our elected representatives behind closed doors.
“Brexit will be a hollow victory for those who believe they are ‘taking back control’ if we do not get to grips with the truth. Our politicians are serving the interests of wealthy elites, leaving the EU will not change that.”