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corneilius
21-04-2006, 01:06 AM
This is really interesting.

I have just read The Power Inquiry Report, which one may order online, for free. It is the result of an 18 month study, funded by The Joeseph Rowntree Reform Trust with input from community groups, NGOs, charities, local government, interested indiduals, voter and experts

http://www.powerinquiry.org.uk

"After eighteen months of investigation, the final report of Power is a devastating critique of the state of formal democracy in Britain. Many of us actively support campaigns such as Greenpeace or the Countryside Alliance. And millions more take part in charity or community work.

But political parties and elections have been a growing turn-off for years.
The cause is not apathy. The problem is that we donít feel we have real influence over the decisions made in our name.

The need for a solution is urgent. And that solution is radical. Nothing less than a major programme of reform to give power back to the people of Britain..." Power Inquiry

corneilius
21-04-2006, 01:32 AM
I have enjoyed reading The Power Inquiry Report, referred to above. It was, for me at least, truely refreshing to read something that took the view that the people do know and understand what is needed to establish the frame work for locally empowered political decision making. The report showed in detail how that could be done by reinforcing the democratic principles of transparency, information flow, accountabilty and responsibilty throughout the system. Power flows from the people, decisions are made, across the nation, at local community level, and and that governance is manifest accordingly and accountable to that procees and those people.

The report is based on evidence given by various interested groups, including community groups, NGOs, charities, local government, academics, profeesionals, interested indiduals, voters groups, voters and experts over an 18 month period. It looks at why democracy does not work, noting that the same issue is faced by most Western Democracies at this time. It traces the historical developement of that malaise since the age of Industrialism, and contends that government has not changed, in is still operating with an 18 century paradigm as it basis, a paradigm that no longer exists.

The Report contends that we the people have become more educated, and aware and feel more competent to engage in democracy, in decision making democracy as opposed to voting electiv democracy. It suggests removing private funding fron parties, replacing it with state funding (3 quid per member). It holds that all lobbying be recorded.

These are just a few of the changes that are proposed, there are many more. The report does state that the changes must be radical, must all be made to work together as to avoid piecemeal change. They also state, realistically, and in my opinion, quite humbly, that the ideas suggested are a starting place, that more information may come to light as things evolve, and that there remained a need to be open to that information, and to what that imply as the changes are worked out, and that this had to be done without compromising any of the principle threads of these changes.

I finished reading The Power Inquiry feeling that at last the thinking of sensible, compassionate and intelligent people has found a voice, a place to start, something real.

I heartily reccommend it.

The only people who object to it are politicians, who "like it in principle, but ...." and corporate power. Very telling indeed.

IdleRich
21-04-2006, 12:54 PM
Well, just read that (the six page summary not the whole report) and it's fairly interesting stuff in some ways. Most of what it says should be obvious and uncontroversial but it is good that somebody is saying this in a simple and unhysterical manner. On the other hand it doesn't really go in to enough specifics as to what the goal is or as to how it should be achieved (perhaps this is because I haven't read the longer version). The main examples of this being:

"A responsive electoral system - which offers voters a greater choice and diversity of parties and candidates - should be introduced..."

OK, but what system?
The other problem is that the people it suggests as the building blocks for "an alliance for change" are those with the most vested interest in the status quo.
Still, seems like a step in the right direction.

corneilius
21-04-2006, 06:50 PM
Well, just read that (the six page summary not the whole report) and it's fairly interesting stuff in some ways. Most of what it says should be obvious and uncontroversial but it is good that somebody is saying this in a simple and unhysterical manner. On the other hand it doesn't really go in to enough specifics as to what the goal is or as to how it should be achieved (perhaps this is because I haven't read the longer version). The main examples of this being:

"A responsive electoral system - which offers voters a greater choice and diversity of parties and candidates - should be introduced..."

OK, but what system?
The other problem is that the people it suggests as the building blocks for "an alliance for change" are those with the most vested interest in the status quo.
Still, seems like a step in the right direction.I think they say in the report that this is a starting point, and that given their experience over the 18 months, with consultations, meetings, conferences, projects and various exercises, they feel that the detailed answers would be worked out by discussion at local community level, where the people are, where the creativity and the experience is.

So it is up to a citizenship who working with the best information as to how certain aspects might play out. I believe that less party lines, and Proportional Representation might be in the picture ......

gek-opel
22-04-2006, 08:38 PM
I agree Proportional Representation ought to be point one on any agenda towards increasing democratic responsiveness in this country, but there are considerable practical political problems obstructing its implementation. What would be required to make this a practical reality would be for there to be a hung parliament in which the liberal democrats were required to join in coalition, the price of which would be the future implementing of proportional representation. Outside of that its not in the immediate power obtaining and maintaining advantage of either of the two main political parties to pursue this kind of policy.

corneilius
24-04-2006, 04:58 PM
The report tackles this point, and suggestsfor example that - based on evidence submitted to the Inquiry - PR voting if accompanied by a reform of constituency borders, an equitable reformed system for standing as an electoral candidate, based on signatures collected and a smaller fee, rather than party alignment, wwith equal access to funding for the campaign, access to media and so on and other provisions such as requiring lobby affiliation of elected candidates to be visible, and interactions wih lobby groups regarded as being on record, and accountable to the public.

It also suggests lowering the age of involvement in politics, and many other revealing ideas that have mostly been tried and tested elsewhere - there is no 'risky' policy decisions to make other than upsetting the status quo.

And still the Report concludes that is does not hold all the answers, not can it predict all the questions that arise, the questions that will in time lead to answers.... much will become clearer as we are closer to working together, as the communication flows between grass-roots democratic, community based people increases, as information is shared.

gek-opel
26-04-2006, 07:42 PM
I actually think these will eventually be implemented, but only once the political class in this country lose the legitimacy offered by voter turnout. I consider it a duty to not vote, to drive down the %ages... until it makes the politicians feel as if their own sense of worth, of value, has been eroded. Then they will have to change the system for the sake of their own narcissism--- in some areas at the last local Govt elections turn out was as low as 18%!

corneilius
26-04-2006, 10:17 PM
The only way these kinds of policies will be implemeted, if ever, will be when we as people recognise that we are the power, the power to discuss, to meet and to listen, to share info, to then make decisions supported by the innate wisdom within our communities, a wisdom straining at the leash in this country, with a false master that seeks yet more power. Wealth is the false masters name!

It will more likely happen if we get moving on learning how to work together, and by constant effort, to span the divides of nationality, creed, colour or gender. It will more likely happen if we the people unite in our action, to stop the wars, to empower a system that can distribute resources equally to all, to allow those who live as indigenous cultures, to continue, to live in their land, knowing it will remain untouched. Forever. This and more.

Starting at home, house by house, street by street, day by day, life after life untill peace is real and tangible everywhere humans are. Thats activism of the long, long term and it fuels activism in the short and median term. Everything else we learn and blag as we go along. I think. ;)

luka
27-04-2006, 09:13 AM
i think i have the answer
Who Wants to be the Prime Minister TV show,once every year. telephone voting.

owen
27-04-2006, 10:34 AM
in 5th c BC Athens politicians were chosen by lot, like with jury service. might have interesting results

corneilius
27-04-2006, 07:18 PM
I think there's probably lots of possibilities, and the best way to find them is to facillitate people getting together at a community level, to share concerns, to share info and to make stronger connections between people, especially in cities. The answers we need are not just the results of experts, but are also the wisdom of small groups of people who live in the same community, once they have access to accurate information.

This happened in Harrow, where the council budget allocation process was opened to the public. 300 people attended, and they were able to input their info and concerns into the councils decision and influence that decision. As Harrow Council put it "well... it is your money" ....

There are many more examples of small exercises in applied democracy, at community level, that have worked well. That is one of the strong points of the Power Inquiry - it is suggesting nothing new, drawing on what does work and has been shown to work.

corneilius
07-05-2006, 06:43 PM
See my comments in the Local ELections thread about the Power Inquiry Conference.

And here's a bloggers view-point

http://nether-world.blogspot.com/

more from me on monday after I have done all me gigs etc,.

Bacon Slicer
24-05-2006, 10:58 PM
I think the problem is that currently the three main parties occupy the centre ground, with lunatic fringe parties at the extreme right and left.
Efectively three very polarised points leaving millions of people either feeling disenfranchised or in reality being disenfranchised.
It is painfully obvious that no government department is being run properly. Personally I don't think whatever party got into power could change this without sacking the entire civil service and starting again.

corneilius
13-06-2006, 06:36 PM
I agree, Impeach them all, and start again from local grass-roots upwards. lol! But yes. It is a case of the current people in the system are not carrying out their work with a strong sense of a duty of care to the people, and by privatising so much of our social utilities, amassing profits from subsidies the service users pay, they have have effectivley robbed the people twice.

If there is a profit in water administration that profit belongs to the people and the land, just as the problems inherent in privatised water are problem that belong to the people, and only the people can resolve that problem - by returning communal resources to communal stewardship and communal responsibility.

I would go further, and say that same ethic ought to extend into food production, 'education', and all other resource bases. Wer know this is feasable in small and large urban communities.

The models exist, are seen to be working - http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/articles/657

The crucial element is people ....