Last Saturday we held our socially-distanced national day of action, Demand Democracy Day! Hundreds of activists from across the country joined in, sending an unequivocal demand for the reform of our broken voting system.

Amid the pandemic, this was a day of action like no other. We all know that now, more than ever, we need Proportional Representation – and people across the UK were determined to do something about it…

Inspired by a virtual protest by the MVM Lewes local group, the concept for the day was simple. Make a placard, sign or banner. Take a photo of yourself calling for PR. Post it on social media with the #DemandDemocracy hashtag. This simple concept led to some amazing creativity, inspirational campaigning, and epic feats.

Among the highlights were huge messages printed on banners or written into sandy beaches in locations around the UK. From Cornwall to Cumbria, Belfast to Bath – and a huge banner from Westminster Bridge, directly in the shadows of the place we want to transform into a truly representative Parliament.

Just shy of a hundred activists came together in Westminster to make some noise, have some fun and to send our message. It was truly inspiring to see people coming together from across the political spectrum and different backgrounds for one common goal. Despite strong winds, our banner drop was a success and along with smoke canisters made for an extraordinary spectacle.

It was brilliant to see so many local groups in action – some of them longstanding, some of them brand new for this event. Just to name a few, we had a street stall in Oxford, placards in Land’s End, posters in Belfast, a beach demo in Bournemouth, and many more. We even saw MVM Manchester and MVM Lewes partnering up to twin their actions, paying tribute to their local suffrage legends, Emmeline Pankhurst and Thomas Paine respectively.

And we were delighted to see so many photos of you (and your pets!) taking part individually or with friends. From Brighton to Belfast, young and old, you all helped to spread the word about the need to scrap our First Past the Post voting system and replace it with a good form of Proportional Representation fit for the 21st century. We all took a stand against misrepresentation, wasted votes and minority rule. Instead, we demand a better, tried-and-tested alternative, which treats the people equally and produces a Parliament that is both politically and socially diverse.

Thanks to all of this great work, our movement picked up some great media coverage. This is crucial both for getting our message out of the political bubble – and to keeping up the pressure on the politicians who are yet to commit to fair votes. We’re incredibly grateful to the members of the Alliance who helped raise the profile of Demand Democracy Day, with groups and public figures from across the political spectrum showing their support.

Our biggest thank you goes out to every single activist who made Demand Democracy Day the success that it was. We understand that circumstances are particularly tough right now, but this didn’t stop us from safely (!) voicing our demands. Without people like you standing up for democracy, our movement couldn’t be the people-powered operation that it is.

If you do have any more photos of your action/s that you’d like to send in, we would love to see them. You can tweet us @MakeVotesMatter with the hashtag #DemandDemocracy or email us at team@makevotesmatter.org.uk.

What’s next?

Every time we hold a big action like this, we shift the dial of what is possible. Despite the impact of the pandemic, Make Votes Matter has become a bigger and stronger grassroots movement than ever before in recent months. Yet, it’s still just the beginning. If we all keep going, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.

In September, we’ll invite everyone who took part in #DemandDemocracy day to our next all-activists’ Zoom call to decide how we can step up the campaign – in scale, pace and creativity. Doing so depends on hundreds of amazing people giving their time to campaign for equal votes – and thousands donating what they can to keep our lights on. If you want to make the UK a real democracy, please volunteer your time or make a monthly donation of whatever amount you can afford.