openDemocracyUK

Power 2010 after the vote - can it light up the country?

The POWER2010 campaign for democratic renewal in the UK has unveiled its five-point Pledge for the election.
Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
25 February 2010

I like the five outcomes of the Power 2010 process. They are the issues that it will now take to candidates. All open up large questions about the system we're suffering under:

1. The need for proportion voting - but what system and how to decide it?

2. The need to get dismantle the database state - yes! yes! but how do we protect liberty in the modern, digital age?

3. The need to elect the second chamber - indeed, but how do we make sure it is not then filled with tribal politicians and stolen from us?

4. The need for English Votes on English Laws - absolutely if this is what the English want (this one does!) but surely this is best done with our own parliament?

5. The need for a written constitution - too true, but more important than what it contains is how we get it and make sure that it belongs to the people in spirit.

On number 4 - the English Question - there is an important exchange between Peter Facey of Unlock Democracy and Paul Kingsnorth of the Dark Mountain Project on Gerry Hassan's blog in the comments after a piece by him that he also published in Bella Caledonia. Gerry says that

This should be a golden era for radical reformers and democrats, with idealists and campaigners pushing at an open door in terms of the popular imagination and mood

Why isn't it?

Thatcherism and New Labour didn’t happen by accident; they happened because we allowed them to happen, and we allowed the political system, the state and radicalism to be captured by zealous anti-democratic revolutionaries.

Much the biggest question now for Power 2010 is how to impress any of its five issues on all the candidates so that they know regular people are serious about wanting system change. And then making sure the candidates who are elected feel that they have to play their part and reform the system or the voters will feel their collars and show them the exit next time.

Perhaps we need a bigger public row of some kind than that between Facey and Kingsnorth to generate a surge of support Power will require to feed the massive commitment of aggregate lobbing that will see local people talking to every candidate. And I hope there will be a way of sharing an on-line document of all the candidates and whether they have been lobbied and by how many. The organisers may think this is risky but the Power campaign needs to encourage people to join in by letting them see the results of their action directly, rather than by just reporting to the centre.

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