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Power 2010, the open campaign for democratic renewal, has entered the final few days of its public poll – where anyone can go online and vote for the changes they’d make to British democracy.
Of the 29 ideas in the vote, themselves submitted by members of the public and then screened by a Deliberative Poll of a random selection of the population, only the top five come midnight on Monday 22 February will make the cut as a set of people’s proposals for democratic renewal.
With over 70,000 votes cast in a little over a month and the deadline approaching, there has been real tussle on the leaderboard. A strong push from the likes of the British Humanist Association, Progress and Unlock Democracy has seen a fully elected second chamber surge into third place bumping English Votes on English Laws off the top five. Though with Paul Kingsnorth’s last minute throw of the dice on Comment is Free EVoEL might just bump fixed term parliaments despite Floella Benjamin’s recent endorsement.
Moving to a proportional voting system and scrapping ID cards sit contentedly in the two top spots with over 8,000 votes apiece while less than 400 votes separate the next four options.
Over 70 different organisations have now entered the fray: ale drinkers and imams, farm hands and preachers, union workers and tax payers, school children and pensioners alike. Their concerns have been different but root analysis the same – politics must be fixed with a stronger parliament, stronger relationships between MPs and their constituents, and greater protection for people’s rights and freedoms.
Again the proposals to achieve these consensus inducing changes differ, but the discussion in civil society is coming together. Power 2010 has now become a centre of truly mass and diverse deliberation, with over 5,000 comments filling our discussion threads as debate rages on the merits of STV and transparent lobbying, the costs of a written constitution and handing parliamentary timetabling over to MPs.
The parties have been somewhat slow to recognise the potential of this kind of diverse discussion for self regeneration. To my knowledge, neither Brown nor Cameron have voted, but led by the less tribal, more open minded wings of the two main parties (Progress and Tory Reform Group, Compass and Conservative Future…) we hope the rank and file enjoy a true chance to enter the fray and write a popular manifesto for democratic renewal while party leaderships write their own.
The resultant set of people’s proposals for democratic renewal will form the basis of a pledge, to be put to every candidate in the run up to the general election by teams of their own constituents – the organising for this has already begun as teams gather across the country to talk of democratic deficits, and to plan a better politics. Democracy as a campaign of the people, for the people, and by the people.
So if you haven’t yet cast your vote now’s your chance have your say and be represented.
(c) George Gabriel is Power 2010's Partnership Coordinator.
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