London, UK - APRIL 14, 2010 An internet campaign using social media, including Facebook and Twitter, is being launched on Thursday 15 April, with the aim of bringing about a hung parliament.
It is the first campaign of its kind in the world - the internet has been used to support party campaigns but it has never been used to challenge the choice on offer. It comes as politicians (1), economists (2) and opinion polls (3) suggest a groundswell of support for a 'hung' Parliament, and the much needed reform they say will not otherwise take place.
The aim of the non-partisan campaign is to bring about a hung parliament with as many smaller parties and independents as possible, from the Greens and the SNP to Plaid and the Lib Dems, from Esther Ranzen to rebels like Tory David Davis and Labour's Frank Field.
Its call is "to frustrate the bosses of the Labour and Tory parties" and open up British politics. Its message: "We have got to renew democracy in Britain. They won't, so hang 'em until they do".
Its method: Hang 'em (http://hang-em.com/) supported candidates will be chosen by asking four questions:
1. Realistically, could they win? 2. Are they neither Labour or Tory loyalists? 3. Do they have a record of independence, rebellion and integrity? 4. Are they from a smaller party or independent (the smaller the better).
The candidates will be listed on the Hang 'Em website.
Hang 'em has been started by an informal (and growing) network of volunteers with no funding. (4)
Anthony Barnett, former director of Charter 88 said: "The aim of Hang 'em is not ideological. It is not about voting for a candidate whose views you agree with (and is likely to lose). It's about voting for people with integrity and character - the more independent the better - including Tories and Labour candidates with a record of rebellion. It's about joining up with people across Britain, from right and left and centre, who feel the same way. It's about starting to turn anger into something positive.
Jonathan Bartley from the thinktank Ekklesia said: "Many are furious with a political class who they feel have waged war without consent, spent taxes to line their pockets, invaded privacy with cameras and lied about nearly all of it. And nor will they let people decide the issues central to democracy. We have got to renew the political system in Britain. A hung parliament would be a more representative Parliament and there is now a clear political and economic case for it."
Helen Lambert web-designer from PoliceStateUK said: "The two parties have become ever more complacent while reducing MPs to their playthings, we need to break politics open and the quickest way is to hang parliament."
Notes to Editors
1. Clare Short and Alex Salmond are amongst retiring MPs who have said that because of the state of the 'decline' of the House of Commons a hung parliament is needed to bring about much needed political reform.
2. Barclays Capital analyst Simon Hayes has said that a hung Parliament might be a blessing for the UK economy. (http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/politics/analysis/would-a-hung-parliamen... ) The Economist magazine notes this week that of the ten largest fiscal retrenchments carried out by OECD countries since the 1970s, seven were pushed through by coalition or minority governments http://www.economist.com/specialreports/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15841541
3. A ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror at the weekend revealed 46% of voters would choose a hung parliament http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/11784
4. Hang'em was started by a network of people including: Anthony Barnett, former director Charter 88; Helen Lambert co-founder of PoliceStateUK; Simon Barrow and Jonathan Bartley, founders and directors of Ekklesia, the religion and society thinktank; Stuart Weir, Founder of Democratic Audit; Rosemary Bechler, openDemocracy editor; Tony Curzon Price, Editor-in- Chief openDemocracy; Guy Aitchison, Deputy Director of the Convention on Modern Liberty; Adam Price; Felix Cohen, web consultant; Peter Johnson, financial analyst.
They were inspired by the response to Suzanne Moore's call for a hung parliament in The Mail on Sunday (20 February 2010) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1252574/SUZANNE-MOORE-If-let-t... and by Anthony Barnett's cover article in the New Statesman on 22 March http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2010/03/labour-brown-british-bri...
5. Website: http://hang-em.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/hangparliament
Twitter: http://twitter.com/hang_em and Hashtag: #hangem
Contact: Jonathan Bartley - officeATekklesiaDOTcoDOTuk