Julian JamesKeymaster27 June 2014 at 13:35Post count: 25
Now that the dust has settled it is time to move YOURvoice forward to the next phase, building on the initial success in our push to deliver Digital Direct Democracy (D3). The core aim remains the same: to provide the electorate with the opportunity to directly express their opinions via elected representation.
Doubtless you will be aware that there is a General Election next May. Securing seats in the House of Commons could be a great opportunity to further the cause of Direct Democracy. There is however a discussion that needs to be had and decisions that need to be made about the future of YOURvoice in order to address the challenges that Westminster introduces.
- The primary concern is that of constituent engagement. The YOURvoice framework for D3 relies upon active participation in discussions and votes by the electorate to provide elected representatives with a mandate. There will be some issues that get people very worked up and so generate a significant amount of conversation and subsequent high turnout. However, other issues will be less exciting but still relevant to the process of government. With pure play D3, the popular vote wins every time meaning that the representative would be bound to vote in the way that the constituency decides. Hypothetically that might be just a single vote on a legislative proposal but is that acceptable? What level of engagement constitutes a mandate?
A problem that could occur may be that a constituency is hi-jacked by groups with extreme views. Should a manifesto be applied that directs a representative on certain issues in order to prevent persecution of specific individuals or groups? Or should the D3 principle be left to run its course and trust that democracy will always provide the clearest and most representative view of the constituency as a whole? Engagement is key.
- YOURvoice needs to determine how a representative should vote in Parliament in a situation where there is insufficient time to consult constituents. Events such as national disasters or responses to aggressive action from other nations could require decisions to be made within a timescale that would preclude direct public consultation. Should representatives vote by way of their own conscience; abstain from such a vote or have a manifesto which the representative abides by in the event of such a vote being required? Exceptions to the rule would also have to be taken into account. If the manifesto did not specifically cover a given instance, how should the representative then vote?
YOURvoice is your party so your contributions will help shape how these and other issues are resolved enabling YOURvoice to deliver robust and operationally sound D3. Please ask anyone who you think should be participating in this process to register at http://yourvoiceparty.org.uk. By working together we can help YOURvoice deliver a better democracy.
Jody LeeParticipant27 June 2014 at 17:40Post count: 4
To answer that question would require a certain level of knowledge of the workings of government, which should be a corner stone of the party, that is, a source of clear information giving the contributor the chance of an informed decision. although if the party was successful it would include many people who either have no time to be informed or no wish. so in general I believe it would have to adapt by trial and error.
Thom StrettonParticipant28 June 2014 at 01:39Post count: 4
This is the difficult part of this concept, this wonderful experiment into true democracy. Personally a manifesto may be a dangerous direction to take as this is the curent, tried, tested and unbelievable part of party politics. If we are to engage the voting populous they must remain engaged. Let us not get lured into any false belief that this will engage all people, whilst I belive in this idea it will definatly have teething problems – not least of which will be convincing people “of a certain age” that it is a viable proposition.
The hi-jacking of vote by extremists is definitely a concern. Currently on Facebook the group Britain First are gaining followers daily from people who agree with there attractive memes without qctually knowing who Britain First really are. If people are not willing to do some basic research and just form an orderly que behind that first neo-nazi group with a good publicist then maybe we are all doomed anyway.
As far as emergency votes in parliament are concerned, in this day and age a twitter pole can be taken in a matter of hours, it does not have to be local voting that determines the party’s voting direction. If all else fails, the the elected MPs should have a feel for the beliefs of their constitutes. Event in this electronic age MPs of the party should make themselves available on a face to face basis locally.
Deanna NicklenParticipant28 June 2014 at 12:34Post count: 3
We don’t have to allow extreme groups to hi-jack… I firmly believe that the majority shouldn’t trump the rights of the minority. Individual rights and freedoms should be protected, not frowned upon. If we don’t protect them, then we run the risk of spiraling into self-destruction thus harming everyone. We really need a set of values that are agreed upon to protect them like America has. Perhaps it is time that Britian becomes an ideal too. That she stands for something much more than her history. That when people visit, they think about her values… and not just tea, London, social welfare, etc.
If we did have a set of values, then representatives would have to follow those if they must choose alone. If they don’t, then they should be held to account for it. But you probably can do as Thom Stretton mentioned, and it would be great to see professionals in the fields like scientists taking part in the discussions… helping to inform people about issues so we do get a clear picture. Obviously not everyone will vote on every issue, but it would be great to engage as many people as possible for each one through different methods. Just see what works.
Thom StrettonParticipant28 June 2014 at 15:24Post count: 4
I agree with Deanna, we as a nation should have a set of values as a goal to aspire to like the American Constitution. And like that statement of intent it should be based on secular values. I have no problem with people having beliefs or religious convictions but any rules or guidelines to live by should be generated by a 21st century set of morals. We live in a society of many creeds and colours and all are welcome but any religion or lack of it should not be justification for how others lead their lives.
Deanna NicklenParticipant28 June 2014 at 18:19Post count: 3
The American Constitution is a wonderful idea. Constitutions like that are inspiring to people. I know that I’d like to move to America, partly because it aligns with my own values according to the constitution and I think I’d be more free there. If the government and country really reflected those values… it would be quite something to see. People are more likely to go to that country to follow the values.
I think we also need to know what we want government to look like. To know its purpose. Right now, it is all over the place. It is like it has become a business of its own… but should that be the case? Not only that, but it is entirely funded by taxpayer money. People who have no say on whether they pay, how much, and what they are forced to pay for. I’d love to get my hands on the finances of the government… that would show its true colours.
Yeah… the values should be secular. I’m aware that not everyone will agree with me, but when I view most religions and their values… they seem to be anti-human and individual. I don’t want values like that to be dictated to me. That’s asking for our country to self-destruct, little do people who want them realise. The values should be based in reality, positive for individuals and protect our rights and freedoms. Not things that violate or restrict us. We deserve better than that.
Helen LeechParticipant29 June 2014 at 22:57Post count: 1
When universal suffrage came in, weren’t the worries the same? That people would vote ignorantly, and be swayed by popular movements rather than worthy ones? I personally think it would be an error to set limits on how people vote.
I’m more interested in the process than the ideals.
Julian JamesKeymaster30 June 2014 at 09:27Post count: 25
My concern is not how people choose to vote. In fact, YOURvoice representatives must remain impartial at all times as they are merely D3 facilitators. The problem arises from low turnout when people fail to engage. For absolute D3 to be robust and effective, all constituents need to be actively engaged in the process. If this is an unrealistic target then a modified solution needs to be implemented. What should that modified solution look like?
Tim JefferyParticipant30 June 2014 at 20:53Post count: 3
Good point Julian. The basic fact is that only modified solution would have to involve bringing in elements of representative democracy in some way. Representative democracy isn’t a bad thing. Much of the problem comes from when Politicians mis-represent their constituents because ultimately, they aren’t accountable enough to the people who have selected them to be representative of. I have 3 thoughts:
1) Engaging all constituents on all the issues is probably an unrealistic target and for D3 to work, at some point, representative may have to be selected, even if it is on a micro-local level in order to gage the general mood of their community, village or street. How this would look and how these people would be selected would need much further discussion but in order for it to be distinct enough from our current model, they would need to serve much shorter terms, be far more accountable and be subject to immediate re-call if required. These “Community Delegates” could sit at constituency councils, chaired by the Your Voice elected MP.
2) Direct Democracy cannot be achieved unless their is an active dialogue or discussion amongst the population of constituents. People decided on issues in isolation won’t create the collaborative form of engagement that will lead to mass engagement. Whether it be through digital or physical means, a forum for discussion amongst constituents will be needed so people can not only respond to the political agenda but also shape it. It will also allow for a forum where people can argue and people can be persuaded in to the changing of their mind. If engaging all constituents is the aim, then this will need to be a physical forum as well as a virtual one.
3) Voting isn’t always the best or easiest way to make decisions or understand mood. Often, voting can crystalize opposition on the losing side and further divide and entrench people of differing viewpoints. Decisions can be made by general consensus and although this can be harder to define and can take longer to reach, it does lead to further unity going forward. As long as everyone has the opportunity to put their voice forward, a decision reached by consensus is democracy.
I would be interested to hear peoples thoughts. Much to discuss…
Kazek LokuciewskiParticipant8 July 2014 at 21:46Post count: 3
I see no other way than random samples of the electorate. Perhaps 1000 people from the constituency invited to have their SAY.
This would involve a certain cost and pushing for responses.
I think it would be ok for the result from the 1000 sample who chose to respond within the given time frame to count. even if it is just 10 people.
What it can’t be is open to all activists since vested interests are the most driven.
When I get a direct request to fill in a vote it’s for a friends dog / child or idea to win a poll. Never something fir or meaningful.
Bill NobleParticipant11 July 2014 at 13:05Post count: 34
Hi all! I just wanted to say Hi and register my interest in YOURvoice and possibly getting involved.
I am 59 and have for a very long time been concerned that MPs do not represent their constituents. A truly democratic system where an MP is 100% committed to pursuing the views of their constituents is very appealing. In the last election I helped elect a Liberal Democrat MP (Tessa Munt) as a way to get rid of the fully entrenched Tory MP. What I didn’t expect was the subsequent coalition and how very important policies were thrown away. Subsequent attempts at having a meaningful dialog with Tessa have been frustratingly pointless as she is bound by her allegiance to the Liberal Democrats and to the Government.
I think what YOURvoice is trying to achieve is brilliant and I would certainly like to become involved in some way. There are a number of issues (as discussed above and elsewhere) that clearly need resolving though. My main concerns are: (1) The reliability of online voting systems which currently cannot be made knowably immune from interference, and (2) Enabling all constituents to have their say, even those that don’t want to get involved at all with every issue (this will be a very very sizeable proportion of the electorate). The experts say that (1) is not currently solvable but it may nonetheless be possible to get to a system that is acceptably reliable (especially given that the current paper system is not fully immune from interference). Issue (2) I think can be addressed by making it easy for constituents to assign, if only temporarily, their vote to an individual or party. I am sure a way could be found to use the proportion of votes cast at the election for the various parties to be accounted for subsequently when polling constituents for their views. This way a dyed in the wool Labour supporter, for example, could be reassured that if the YOURvoice candidate was elected they would have to take into account the views of the Labour supportes as well as the Tory etc. This of course is in direct contrast to the current system where it is all or nothing, where a Labour supporter in a constituency that is Tory past, present, and future has no hope of influencing policy. I think YOURvoice could be particularly successful in constituencies where one political party is fully entrenched.
Jody LeeParticipant11 July 2014 at 15:15Post count: 4
Here’s my plan
1. spread the word more and more
2. the website needs to log peoples post code when pledging an interest that way mp’s or councillors can be assigned to areas where there is enough people to get back the deposit.
3.the people who are put forward as mp’s or councillors shouldn’t be picked on their political stance, but there ability to speak publicly, (personally I would choose comedians they are the best public speakers).
4. mp’s/councillors should be able to speak there own minds always falling back on ‘but my opinion doesn’t matter I do what the constituents want!’
5.with all these things in place get on as many tv/radio shows as possible with the bullet proof arguments as above and ‘so you don’t trust the people to make the right choice’ when confronted.
with these in place the party could go far. The complexities and functions of the party would come with time and experience. if we decide things now it will only change further down the line.
Bill NobleParticipant1 August 2014 at 12:09Post count: 34
I agree with all of Jody’s points but we should be cautious about using comedians as MPs. Someone like Russell Brand has sufficient gravitas perhaps to be effective but there is a danger that using comedians could possibly trivialise the party in some people’s eyes, particularly the media. MPs should definitely be local and good communicators though.
Jody LeeParticipant1 August 2014 at 12:44Post count: 4
Absolutely bill using a famous comedian would be wrong. but I know tonnes of armature comedians that know how to handle a crowd and are very confident speaking publicly but also get involved in charity events and are very community minded, basically there is no shortage of people who want to be comedians and some of them would love to get involved.
Thomas SwanParticipant15 August 2014 at 14:43Post count: 14
Regarding the initial questions posed by Julian, both could be addressed by making a “Constitution”. The first use of D3 would be to establish what’s in this Constitution. Proposals for inclusion could be a “bill of rights” and a “public emergency bill” that protects minorities and determines how the system behaves in an emergency. Changing the Constitution at a later stage would require more than a simple majority. A supermajority of 66%, 70% or 75% would be needed (as decided upon by the public in the first use of D3).
Julian JamesKeymaster15 August 2014 at 17:17Post count: 25
Actually, as a political party registered with the Electoral Commission, YOURvoice already has a constitution that was written when I formed the party for the Euro Elections this year. At this stage I am particularly keen to hear suggestions as to the mechanics of how D3 should operate going forward. In the Euro Elections we campaigned on the basis of out and out D3 but obviously this has the potential problems that I highlighted in the first post of this thread (and those issues raised in other threads of this forum). Here are some ideas that have been suggested outside this forum for you to consider. Take a look and pull them apart; modify them or propose your own solutions. We must resolve this problem if we are to have any chance of standing up to public and media scrutiny in future elections.
1. Constituent Selected Party Preference
- Individual constituents indicate whether they would like to engage with all legislative proposals via D3 or set a preference to follow a particular party whip
- Those who have chosen to have their D3 vote follow a particular party whip can opt to engage with D3 at will thus overriding their party whip preference
2. Preference via Profiling
- Preference based representation via constituent profiling for decisions where there is insufficient engagement to activate the D3 override
- D3 override activated once a certain proportion of constituents have engaged in a legislative proposal poll
- No policies
3. Vote with Government
- Vote with government unless overridden
- D3 override activated once a certain proportion of constituents have engaged in a legislative proposal poll
- Ethical compliance
4. Independent Umbrella Party
- Independent representatives present constituents with their own manifesto but agree to abide by a constituency D3 override
5. Standard Party
- Manifesto based on party policies
6. D3 Party
- Manifesto based on policies established via D3 process
7. Established Party D3
- Encourage established party to adopt the D3 mechanism
Bill NobleParticipant15 August 2014 at 21:34Post count: 34
Wow that is an excellent set of options Julian. My view is:
1 – Yes
2 – Maybe, but the profiling is going to be very hard to do in an acceptable way
3 – No, a predominantly Conservative constituency could end up voting with the Labour government for example
4 – No, this will greatly confuse and obscure the D3 message, we could end up with some very odd candidates!
5, 6 – No, I think having policies will obscure the D3 message. It must be possible for people with wildly different views to support D3
7 – Yes, but I very much doubt this will get any traction at all. The Young Lib Dems have discussed D3 but not got anywhere with it.
For me the only model I really like so far is 1 – Constituent Selected Party Preference
Julian JamesKeymaster17 August 2014 at 12:13Post count: 25
I’m glad to hear that you like the first option Bill as that’s the one you suggested to me a few weeks ago! Currently it’s my preferred option too. It addresses two of the issues that were highlighted by voters during the election as being major stumbling blocks for D3. Both come about as a result of constituents failing to engage with D3. In these cases it is assumed that the constituency is being represented by YOURvoice or a similar D3 party.
- The opportunity for polls on legislative proposals to be dominated by interest groups
If constituents fail to engage with D3 then interest groups could mobilise their members in a constituency and cause the result of a poll to swing in their favour where the result may have been different had the majority of constituents made their opinions known.
- Excessive power in the hands of the few who choose to engage with D3
Without a stipulation that a certain proportion of constituents vote for a poll to be valid, should just a single vote be cast, that would determine how a constituency was represented on a legislative proposal.
By allowing constituents to align themselves with a party of their choice (which may be YOURvoice thus indicating that they wish to participate in all legislative proposal polls via D3), every constituency poll will have a good proportion of constituents engaging in the decision making process. Of course, those who have chosen to align with a party merely need to vote to override this preference. In this way D3 is always available to all constituents but engagement is less of a problem.
In addition to the benefits for standard polling on legislative proposals this system also provides a solution to the problem of emergency voting in the event that there is insufficient time to poll constituents.
It is understood that this is a compromise. At this stage all solutions are though!
- The opportunity for polls on legislative proposals to be dominated by interest groups
Bill NobleParticipant17 August 2014 at 14:02Post count: 34
Ah I thought it sounded familiar Julian 🙂
Sadly nobody has yet managed to devise a perfect system of democracy. We just need to come up with the best offering we can with the least problems and the fewest barriers to take up.
I am convinced that the key to success is communicating well. One of the key skills I would like to see amongst the YOURvoice team is a fabulously brilliant copywriter. Do you know any? I know a couple of fairly good copywriters but am not sure if either would be interested in this though.
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