Dear BBC Question Time,
I recently applied to be in the audience of an upcoming November recording of Question Time in my home town. I have yet to hear anything back. I also put myself forward to appear on the panel of that show in my capacity as the founder of electoral reform group NOTA UK.
We have been campaigning for a formal and binding ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option to be added to ballot papers for all UK elections since 2010. I have appeared on BBC Radio 4 show ‘PM’ (2013), 5 Live’s ‘Ballot Box Brigade’ (2015), Matthew Wright’s ‘The Wright Stuff’ on Channel 5 (2017) and also on his Talk radio show (2019) as well as making a number of other media appearances over the years.
In 2014, we successfully lobbied the parliamentary Political & Constitutional Reform Committee (PCRC) to include NOTA as a proposed reform in a survey and public consultation on ‘voter engagement’. The huge show of public support for NOTA that this provoked compelled the PCRC to recommend in it’s final report (published 05/02/15) that the next government hold a public consultation before May 2016 specifically on inclusion of NOTA on ballot papers.
Instead, the incoming Conservative government promptly scrapped the PCRC and tore up all of it’s recommendations.
You are coming to my home town in November. At a time when the country will undoubtedly still be reeling from the utter chaos of the last few weeks (and years) while coming to terms with either yet another unelected (or previously ousted!) Tory prime minister or the grim prospect of yet another general election in which only two parties, both representing the establishment class first and foremost, can ever wield any power.
That is the exact same paradigm that got us in to this mess in the first place. Despite all the chaos of Brexit, Covid and the very public implosions of both the Labour and Tory parties, nothing has fundamentally changed about the undemocratic system that somehow passes for democracy in the UK since we launched our campaign in 2010.
Enough is enough. People are angry. Really angry. There are millions of disenfranchised, unrepresented people up and down the country who aren’t going to take this any more. Of all the possible ways that those people’s feelings could be expressed, supporting our campaign for formal and binding NOTA on ballot papers is by far the most benign, peaceful and ultimately transformative.
Clearly then, the time has come for our non-partisan, neutral campaign for real electoral and democratic reform to finally get the respect and coverage it deserves. With that in mind, I again formally request that you invite NOTA UK to the table this November.
For reference, our extensive white paper explains in detail what we are campaigning for and why.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Founder of NOTA UK
Open Letter to BBC Question Time
Dear BBC Question Time,