Restoring faith in politics and politicians

I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors recently, and it’s clear there’s a lot of work to be done to restore faith in politics and politicians.

I’m not pointing fingers at any particular political party here. It’s the system that’s broken.

And if people don’t trust the system, democracy fails. People stop voting. So the election result no longer represents what people want.

Assuming that we have a change of government this year, it will be interesting to see if we have a change of culture. I’m concerned that Labour have already ruled out capping bankers’ bonuses. Do they still believe in trickle-down economics? I think we all know that what trickles down isn’t money. It’s something much smellier. Are Labour already in the pockets of rich donors?

But again, I’m not pointing fingers at any particular party.

What I’m hearing on doorsteps is that many people are fed up with the whole damn thing. As far as they’re concerned, the wheel turns, this party then that party comes to power, their lives don’t get any better.

Yes, they might mention cronyism (Michelle Mone and other Covid profiteers), hypocrisy (Partygate), chumocracy (dishonourable honours lists), or autocracy (“did anybody ask us what we wanted?”).

But the overall feeling is that the implied contract between government and the people has been broken.

We vote them in. Their job is to govern. And governing means looking to the long-term wellbeing of the country – not just the latest opinion poll. To give us the circumstances and the freedom so we build good lives. To represent us in the way we want to be represented. Heck, they might even listen to us once in a while. We might just have some good ideas.

So there are three things I believe we need.

We need proportional representation so our representatives actually represent the full spectrum of our views. So the proportions in government reflect the proportions in the country.

Yes, that might mean that people end up in Westminster that I profoundly disagree with, that I even find morally reprehensible. But that’s democracy.

Proportional representation would be a game changer. It would be harder for one party to bulldoze its agenda through. Alliances would be necessary. We wouldn’t waste so much time, energy and money as the pendulum swings from one side of the political spectrum to the other.

We would stay closer to the common sense centre, which is what most people identify with.

We need decentralisation. Communities know what their community needs. Every community is unique.

Yet we have one of the most centralised governments in Europe. Regions are starved of resources, with a 40% reduction in council funding in the last 10 years – which is why so many councils, of all political hues, are going bankrupt.

And we need collaboration. Within communities, different people have different needs. And no matter how public-spirited we are, we all have blind spots. And by definition, we’re blind to our blind spots. Proportional representation has to apply not just to central government, but at every level down to the local.

The raging fury that so many people feel about the state of our country at the moment is largely due to frustration at not being heard.

We all deserve a voice. We all deserve a say.

So here’s what I will do. I will listen. Not every view can prevail – compromise is always necessary where different people have different views. But I will listen respectfully, bring people together, and try to find a way forward that delivers the greatest good to the greatest number.

That is democracy.

P.S. If this is something you care about, you can sign our petition, called Fair Votes Now.

Other Stuff:

On a lighter note (literally!), I enjoyed recording this Desert Island Discs style blend of music and conversation (non political) with John Fairhurst on Malmesbury Community Radio. In my biased opinion, it features some of the best music ever! 

Hold the Date: evening of 7th March – We’re planning an event at the Royal Agricultural University about food and farming, with a panel discussion followed by breakout groups to talk about food security, regenerative agriculture, community gardens, and other aspects of food production and distribution. More details coming soon. Mark your diaries!

To keep up to date with me and my campaign, please follow me on Facebook! Or on LinkedIn, if that’s more your style.

We’re keen to welcome more campaigners to our team to help with deliveries and/or doorknocking. Please consider lending us an hour or two a month. Email my wonderful Campaign Organiser, Poppy Fair, for more details.

We are especially looking for help with media liaison and social media. 
Ideally 4-8 hours per week. Details available on request. No obligation – please get in touch!

We are also looking for financial support. Every pound matters – even the price of a weekly latte would help. If you’re ready for positive change in the South Cotswolds, please put your money where your mouth is by hitting Reply to this email, and I’ll let you know how. Thank you! 🙏

Quote(s) of the Week

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”
— Winston Churchill

“Democracy is a slow process of stumbling to the right decision instead of going straight forward to the wrong one.”
Have a great week!


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