I recently went to a fascinating lecture given by Dr Jane Adams for the Woolhope Club on political reform in early nineteenth-century Herefordshire.

The surprising thing was how involved many people were.

Although few could vote, they signed petitions that were sent directly to Parliament, boycotted sugar to support the abolition of slavery and, with a county population of 100,000, some 5,000 attended a meeting on the repeal of the Corn Laws.

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They were battling Old Corruption, the idea that politicians governed in the interests of the elite rather than the people. Now we are faced with the New Corruption, with the UK perceived to be more corrupt than Uruguay or Hong Kong and levels of patronage that would make Robert Walpole, our famously corrupt first Prime Minister, go white.

As they discovered, the solution is involvement, signing online petitions, writing letters to the Hereford Times and directly to our MPs. Above all voting, something for which our ancestors fought tirelessly.

Then we can defeat the New Corruption as they defeated Old Corruption.