openDemocracyUK

Call for a People’s Campaign

We find ourselves at a crossroads. The path of our country and the character of our democracy will be shaped afresh in the coming months, for good or ill.

Paul Hilder
22 September 2014

Up and down the country, people’s energies are rousing -- from Glasgow to Clacton, from London streets to Cornish hamlets. Their patience grows ever shorter. Most feel no one is listening to them. No one is talking their language, or offering them much change they can believe in.

Is this really a moment for caution? Will a political party that drifts into office by default, through rivals’ failures, have won the public trust and leadership mandate needed to steer a course through the coming storms?

The British Labour movement is challenged to re-discover its soul and purpose. Yet the answers cannot be found by looking inward.

The call for a people’s convention is a start, but let’s move from theory to practice: The urgent task today is to open up a real conversation with the millions of citizens with whom both Labour and politics as a whole have, for the most part, lost touch.

That's why today I am launching a petition on Change.org, so all of us who agree can raise our voices together. I’m calling on Ed Miliband and his team to announce a People's Campaign when they meet this week in Manchester, alongside bold new policies on the NHS, inequality, housing and the economy.

I’m going out on a limb here, and I can’t do this alone. Please join the call by signing the petition now.

Having spent much of my life starting new movements and campaigns, I know that people-powered politics truly is a gamechanger. 

Millions of 38 Degrees members across the UK have campaigned together to protect everything from the NHS to forests, while taking the fight to tax-dodgers, privatisers and other predators. Almost forty million Avaaz members worldwide have won campaigns on dozens of issues, from anti-corruption to peace and human rights.

Increasingly, these movements are coming together not just online, but in local communities and on the streets. And with Change.org, we took it even wider -- giving many millions more their first experiences of making change, saturating the mainstream media.

Even more importantly, there are now dozens of political campaign stories proving the impact of a more open people-powered model -- from Barack Obama in 2008 to the meteoric rise of Marina Silva in Brazil today.

As Scotland hammered home, real politics is to be found in living conversations with the people you aspire to serve, not in the deadening echo chambers of Westminster, Fleet Street or the policy circuit. This truth is often spoken, all too seldom lived by those inside the bubble.

Much of the Labour grassroots knows what I am talking about. But they need their leadership to heed the wake-up chorus, change course, and open up. 

I am hopeful that the time is right, and that this is the campaign that Ed in his heart of hearts wants to run. He and his team have already put in place a well-oiled machine that can deliver the basics on the ground. Now they need to open up the campaign, and give everyone a part of it.

But that won't happen unless we ask them to - and I'm not just talking about Labour members, but about everyone who wants a better politics and a better country. So if this sounds like something you might agree with, please take a look -- and if you agree, sign the petition today!

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Layla Moran Liberal Democrat MP (TBC)

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData