Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)
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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Power 2010

Message received :-
Dear Mrs Rigby

Firstly I wanted to say thanks for blogging about us and mentioning the campaign.

You'll have seen that we're now over halfway through the public vote phase of the campaign where the top 5 reforms that will form the backbone of the campaign are being voted for by the public.

There are 29 ideas being voted on. PR is currently in the lead, followed shortly by abolishing ID cards and the database state - but a lot could change between now and February 22nd when voting closes.

We're hoping to mobilise as many people as possible to vote to make the result as legitimate and powerful as it can be to strengthen our hand when we finally approach politicians and with that end in mind I wondered if you'd consider featuring one of these fashionable Power2010 "Vote" buttons on your website or sidebar: (link removed by Mrs R)

There's even a choice of colours: black and white. Just copy and paste the HTML into your site.

Thanks again - and I hope you can keep following and blogging the campaign.

If you have any questions or feedback on the campaign do let me know.

All the best,

Ghazal
Power2010 team
Who could refuse such a polite request, so the button has been added over there in the sidebar.

In case you're wondering about Power 2010 there's all the information you need on the site,(link removed by Mrs R) but the main thrust is to get opinions, and votes, on ten issues, including Proportional Representation, Fixed Term Government, English Votes on English Laws, a Written Constitution, Scrapping ID cards - and so on.

Why did the Rigbys get interested?

Well, there's nothing worse than being led to believe you're being listened to and having your opinions respected - which was, apparently, the intention of the government petitions site. At the beginning it was lauded as a way of government keeping in touch with what ordinary folk were worrying about, but over time it got a bit like one of those birthday cards that says "All I got for my birthday was this lousy card" - because in response to signing a petition all you end up with is an 'on message' email that M$'s filters automatically consign to the junk folder, and you wonder if it was worth giving personal details (which are probably somebody's data-stick) away - over 72,000 people signed Kalvis Jansons' "Please-Go" petition.

So what's the point in voting for something on a site that doesn't seem to be linked with any political group? Well, that's what appealed to us, there's more about it here (link removed by Mrs R)
The public vote
The public vote began January 18th and lasts five weeks until 22nd February. During this time are working with individuals and organisations across the country to meet up, discuss, and vote, ensuring as many people as possible participate and tell us the reforms they most want to see.
The five most popular ideas following the vote will become the POWER2010 Pledge and the focus for our nation-wide campaign at the next election.
Election campaign
The aim is for as many people as possible to sign the Pledge and then take it to the candidates in their constituency, by writing to them, calling them, and attending local hustings, public meetings and MPs' surgeries.
Together we will ask every candidate standing at the next election to make a public commitment - a pledge - to clean up and reform our politics.
In this way we will ensure that the next Parliament is a reforming one and delivers the changes our broken democracy so desperately needs.
In the end it can't do any harm, and has the potential to do quite a lot of good - although, of course, some issues could easily be highjacked by those of a particular political persuasion, which seems to have happened with the PR issue - but no matter. It's worth a try, isn't it - at the end of the 'voting' we'll all be able to see the 'most important' issues and can then take those issues to the candidates for the next general election - and we'll be able to find out if they're really interested in getting our vote.
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6 comments:

Witterings From Witney said...

Accept the premise of your argument Mrs. R, but do the public understand the idea? One can 'ask' all one wants, but if the 'elected dictatorship' ignore that, what is left to do? How does one enforce the public's choice? Do they have the 'knowledge' to make that 'importance of choice'? Do 'they' understand what is involved with 'public debt', the basic question of who rules this country?

One can only surmise that, because of the decision by the 'political elite' not to allow discussion on the above, the public are making 'ill-informed' decisions.

Nice idea by Power 2010 but a tad like 'Government Consultations' - totally meaningless!

Mrs R said...

@ WfW - Don't things have to start somewhere, and isn't Power 2010 as good a place as any to try to reclaim democracy? Having a go, to see what it might achieve, isn't going to break something that's already broken, or is it?

I think you're as disenchanted as the rest of us and, I think, are equally fed up with being ignored by government who do it 'because they can' - isn't it reasonable to question those who want to take over the reins?

Is it up to MPs to say what we do or don't understand? Some of them haven't a clue who 'the public' is, because they never see beyond carefully selected 'focus groups'.

We Rigbys, all of us, dotted around the country, are members of "the public" - we're not stupid even though none of us is involved in politics, none of us has any link or affiliation to any particular political group and each Rigby over 18 has a vote - which will be used.

Sorry - got carried away - now I need to lie down in a darkened room for a while - have a drink on me while I recover ;-)

Witterings From Witney said...

Mrs. R,

Have to confess to having had more than one drink while I wait - why do women take so long to recover? (Joke)

The point I should have made is that the areas that Power 2010 wish to be addressed, cannot nor will be addressed, until such time as we revert to being a self-governing nation once again.

Once we are a self-governing nation and have hopefully introduced real local democracy, then we can introduce new laws that the people want.

What Power2010 are trying to achieve is akin to putting cart before horse. I agree that we have to start somewhere but to reach a destination you have to know from whence you are starting - would you not agree?

I can but repeat until such time as we have a vote on EU membership, which hopefully will result in 'OUT' we can discuss all the changes we want to democracy - but it will achieve nowt as we will not be able to implement nary a one.

Mrs R said...

Phew - yes, you're probably right with just about everything you say, but it's too depressing, so while we have a UK parliament that is answerable to the UK electorate, surely we need to try to make prospective MPs listen, and hear.

If parliament sits there and says nothing can be done about any of the issues raised by Power 2010 (or indeed any other issues) 'because the EU says so', and so won't even try, then what's the point in ... well, almost anything?

It's a massive circle isn't it, I keep on ending up back at the beginning.

Oh, and women don't always take longer to recover, it's sometimes a good excuse for a lie in! ;-)

Mrs Rigby said...

WfW might well have been wider than they imagined.

It would appear that the "campaigning site" is being used as a front by the Labour Party. See posts dated 31 March 2010

All links to that site have been removed from this blog

Mrs Rigby said...

WfW might well have been very wise.

It would appear that the "campaigning site" is being used as a front by the Labour Party.

See post dated 31 March 2010

*** All active links to that site have been removed from this blog ***