The big idea

“One aspires to conquests made by ideas and values, not nations.”                         Christopher Hitchens

British politics seems bereft of ideas and values and bogged down in cynicism and petty tribal feuding.  Ordinary people are sick of it, keen to use their votes, but despairing of finding a party they can be enthusiastic about voting for.

Our current representative system was designed when the primary sources of communication between people were letters carried by messengers on horseback.  It’s been kept at that suffocating and stultifying level because the political elite have found ways to take advantage of that.

Something has to change.

So let’s start a new and genuinely democratic party using the internet, with an always live caucus that is the party website, where every member has equal voting rights and equal opportunity to contribute their ideas.

The party’s policies should derive from the caucus – the good ideas rising by being approved of.  Only one requirement for membership – that members should be democrats.

Why start a new party?   Because it will be much quicker to start a new one than it would be to reform the old ones.  And to allow ordinary people to engage with politics as much or as little as they wanted, without having to conform to schedules of meetings and conferences, which exclude more than they include by time and location.

Direct democracy via the internet will be the future, but the main parties aren’t interested in the idea.  One only has to look at the the woeful web-sites of our current parties to understand how little interest their leaderships take in the opinions of their memberships –   Indeed, the members are the last people whose opinions might be sought – they are generally taken for granted, which is perhaps why membership of political parties in Britain is at an all time low.

But there is no such thing as not being involved in politics – not doing anything is a political act.   Parties should be composed of people, and everyone in a truly democratic party should have an equal voice.  Participation via the net makes this possible.

A genuinely democratic party for Britain.

It’s shameful that we don’t already have one.

That fact that we don’t makes the building of one a necessity.

So we say to all those who have justified protest in their hearts , all those who hope for change:

“Change is wrought not by fighting the old, 

but by focusing your energy on building the new.”

Dan Millman, from “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.”


17 thoughts on “THE IDEA

  1. You’re not exactly snowed under with enthusiastic comments 🙂 By making the party internet based you’re automatically excluding the proportion of the population that can’t or won’t use the internet. (I have no idea what that proportion is, mind you.)

    • It’s a fair point. But schmoozing language until it’s silky smooth and politically correct is part of our current set of problems.

      It’s a comic allusion. Politics is marinaded in smug old men. They need a wake-up call.

      Plus, you miss the point of the big idea here – if you think that’s wrong, join and change it. Your vote will count as much as anyone else’s.

  2. Aye, we have the tools to do something better for sure and increasingly the need.

    I followed a link on the Guardian’s CiF to get here, (on the evening when farage & clegg were on telly apparently, trying to use each other to make themselves more important – a perfect example of the need if there ever was one), another link I followed on the same site lead me to this:

    It’s a bit dry, but worth a read.

    Crowd funding makes a lot of sense, but with respect to spending cash on a website, surely it’s possible to find folks with the skills to contribute them for free?

    Anyway, keep on dancing 🙂

  3. What`s wrong with using a ready made forum that works in exactly the same way as the website you propose? Invision Power Services have a good one.

  4. What do you think you are achieving by spamming links to this website? It stands as an indictment of your motivation and realism, and as there is no way for people to get involved anyway you don’t stand to gain anything from the enthused. Basically it seems you are just hoping someone is going to come along and give you ten grand… A year of inactivity without taking even the most elementary opening steps makes for a very bad – I expect terminal – first impression.

    If you are serious you don’t need all the website bells and whistles yet. You need members. A free forum is the natural starting point to allow user growth and debate. Hell you may even get a few people who will actually do something 🙂

    Have you attempted to contact Dan Thompson? You are going up the same old blind alleys so you could save yourself some time and trouble. Direct democracy in itself cannot be the sole basis for a party. It is in fact the very antithesis.

    • This project has been kept dormant until we knew the election result.

      “Direct democracy in itself cannot be the sole basis for a party. It is in fact the very antithesis.”

      Thanks for that opinion. We’ll have to beg to differ. This is about a different set of ideas, and if you don’t share them or have any enthusiasm for them, you can stick with the old parties with their meetings and conferences that only the most fervent enthusiasts can make it to. This is a scheme to allow everyone to get involved, to side-line and side-step the bores and the naysayers and the proceduralists and pedants that make being part of a “normal” party feel like wading through tedious treacle.

      You might be right about it being too early to build the site, but our feeling is that it’s like Facebook or any other website – the way to see how it will work will be to use it.

      You may also be right that it’s all doomed to failure, and that our time and trouble is being wasted. If that’s true, we can join the Lib-Dems in the dustbin of history, and you can have the pleasure of having said “I told you so.” But of this much you can be certain – our representatives will not fall prey to the kind of hubris that felled the former elite of the Lib-Dems. This party’s membership will always be the voice of the party, with the best IDEAS finding their way to the top, not the most sharp-elbowed and best funded professional politicians.

      This is the perfect time to launch a new idea in British politics. Clearly you have no enthusiasm for it. We do. Bye now.

  5. That I recall Dan Thompson’s political cameo over a decade ago should tell you that I have a significant interest in this field. However I infer from your significant misunderstanding that you are unaware of the history. When I spoke of wasting time I was referencing your failure to learn lessons from the failures of your predecessors. How is your party going to differ from Your Party when you propose taking the exact same path? They actually DID things too; media coverage via the beeb, Guardian and Telegraph, had it possible to sign up, join and debate, had a tie in with YouGuv to run the polling side of things etc. This is far from virgin territory but you seem to be treating it as such.

    That line about waiting for the election was exactly what I had in mind when opining that anyone looking at your website would quickly question your motivation. Any election result bore no relevance to your proposals. Nevertheless we are now several weeks beyond so what are you doing? How does your dormant state differ from your active state? You claim normal parties feel like wading through treacle but based on current form your party would struggle to keep up in a foot race with continental drift 🙂 You’re enthusiastic? Great. Let people see it.

    • PS – just to match you for snarkyness, “Your Party” is just about the dumbest and least creative effort at a new party name ever, and not just because it smacks of a level of sophistication similar to “My little pony”.

      Try googling “Your Party”. Good luck with that.

      Also – Dan Thompson, Oxford PPE – well, whoop de doo. What a difference someone who’s studied PPE at Oxford is going to make!

  6. You seem terribly cross about it all. Perhaps you’d like to explain where Your Party went wrong? I’d suggest the name “Your Party” was part of the problem, because it sounds innately patronising. Or maybe there’s such a thing as an idea whose time has come? What we’re doing is looking for funding to create the website structure that will grow a properly democratic party, where the membership always has a say. All it is at the moment is a set of ideas and ambitions, along the lines of “If we build it, they will come.” But it has to be built so that it cannot be commandeered by professional politicians, or bent out of shape by lobbyist funding.

    On a more personal note, I was assailed by someone with your kind of approach a few years ago while I was out delivering leaflets trying to get people interested in voting for AV. She gave me a good five minute long telling off for the AV campaign’s ineptitude while she struggled to fold up a stroller and fit her two kids in her car. She seemed to think politics was centrally sourced by fully qualified manufacturers, complete with kite marks and bar-coded stock control, and that I was some kind of spivvy salesperson for it all. The tragedy of it was that she completely agreed with what I was working towards and hoping for, but she was incredibly rude to me.

    All I could do was recognise her frustration and feel sad, and I just let her rant at me.

    I’d like to think that she’s the sort of person who could take an interest in a party like this – delivering fifty leaflets to her neighbours, inviting her friends to join, spending as much or as little time and energy as she has on it, but always feeling involved, always feeling she was being heard via her electronic vote when policy choices were being made.

    If you see no value or potential in the ideas here, or imagine that you’ve seen this sort of effort fail before and understand exactly why, by all means explain. You might be right, but we’re trying anyway. Why are you so angry about that? Are you starting up a party which has the same ambitions? We’re talking to all the new parties and trying to make connections. How could we fail more spectacularly than the Lib-Dems have? How could we be a bigger dog in the manger to progress than the hopeless Labour Party, who generate millions of votes for the vile Tories just by frightening the horses?

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