Engaging with Democracy

This is still a work in progress in my head, but some of the things I'd could see this group doing are

  1. Get into schools, colleges and communities to build an understanding of what Democracy can be and build skills that help in active participation; Debating skills, how to make a case, how to effectively get politicians working for you.
  2. Organise public meetings between politicians and public at election times and between elections.
  3. Work closely with organisations like FullFact so that the public can tell truth from fiction when politicians speak.
  4. Build an understanding in the electorate of what politicians can do, and what they can't.
  5. Create a political discourse where honest politicians can thrive but dishonest politicians are found out.
  6. In general build an active, participatory and mature democracy.

I'm not at all sure how my imagined organisation could have the high profile it would need to really get into the public's consciousness, to be taken as a serious player by the politicians. It would also need a carefully worded constitution to remain politically independent.

There are a few pressure groups around that have similar aims, some of which I have been aware for sometime. These organisations would seem to do good work and campaigning, but they don't have a high profile. That is NOT intended as a criticism; unlike 'my' organisation they do exist! And I don't know how to get the profile I think is required.

Many people in the UK - and other parts of the world - are turned off politics. The frequent belief is that politicians are all the same'.

This point of view got an unofficial spokesperson a couple of years ago when the comedian Russell Brand gave TV interviews calling on young people not to vote, to break the system by not engaging - though, to be fair, he later retreated from this position.

It is my belief that the only cure for Bad Politics is Good Politics.

The idea I give on this page first occured to me during the expenses scandal of 2009. Then over 100 MPs were caught overclaiming on their expenses. Some very seriously thought their mortgages on more than one home could be claimed on expenses; other claims were trivial or bizarre like a tube of lipstick or the infamous Duck Houses. The reputation of all politicians, never high, took a real knocking.

But individual politicians can be very popular locally - for example - MPs standing for re-election the first time often get significantly better results than their first election. When the public are able to tell the good from the bad in politics, the results are noticeable.