The recent UK general election was the most unproportional UK election of all time. When only 66% of the electorate bothered to vote and just 36% of the people who voted, voted for the winning party. It is hard to stomach radical changes from a political party with only 24% of the total electorate voting for them.
In fact just 16% of UK voters say they trust us politicians. I’m pretty tired of hearing “you politicians are all in it for yourselves”, “you’re all the same”, etc. For the record we’re not. Most politicians I’ve met are really decent public spirited local residents who want to improve things.
Clearly we need electoral reform to start changing these perceptions but winning parties in the UK are unlikely to allow this unless they feel it’s in their interests. A real Catch-22.
In the short-term a Lib Dem Lord Jeremy Purvis is proposing a new Constitutional Convention Bill about how we thoughtfully consider how we run our country – the system we vote under, House of Lords, etc. Fab. Long overdue. I suspect tories will sink it at the first opportunity but you can but hope.
Longer-term how do we make voting easier and the number of issues voters can influence far higher. In Scotland we’ve seen how passionate the referendum became and how high the turnout resulting. Locally we’ve seen huge interest generated by a junction being changed – Townley Road/East Dulwich Grove.
The flip side to this is the huge increase in support for campaigning groups, online petitions. 38 degrees is a great example of harnessing people power.
It was one of the reasons I signed-up to MyMP2015. It feels a logical extension to making myself so available on the EastDulwichForum and trying to get a step increase in how people can participate in decisions.
But with the internet how much more participatory could we be?
One successful mode is Podemos the Spanish political party. They use a mix of offline citizen assemblies and online forums so all members can get to shape party policy. Expanding this to a council or parliament would give everyone a say in how our country in run.
What do you think? How would you shape our