Taking the Party out of Politics
A Summary of Challenges
If you are just joining us today, then you are in luck, because today we are going to have a quick overview of all the big ideas which we have covered over the last 26 or so episodes. Why politics isn’t working for us, the voters, and why it isn’t really even working for the politicians who are trying to do their bests on our behalf, struggling to work within the political systems. Why there are some problems with the very nature of what we call representative democracy and electoral systems, but also why there are some problems which political parties bring on top of those structural problems.
Today, we are going to group our review around three main areas: Voters and Voting, Representative Democracy, and Political Parties.
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34. Interview with the podcast host28:18Award winning playwright Chris Lee takes time out his busy schedule to interview the host of Taking the Party Out of Politics, Andrew Brown, about the political ideas behind the podcast, about his motivation for putting it all together, and together they explore whether it will be possible to make the sorts of changes to our political landscape which are the conclusion of the podcast series.
33. Changing the Way We Use the System28:21It's not that people don't care enough. Absolutely not.But when we campaign about single issues, we are separate. The thinking is not (obviously) linked up. And it too easy for government to nod, and to simply ignore.It's not that we need more consultation.But consultations can be simply a way of allowing the public to let off steam before the government does what it was going to do anyway. We need meaningful, engaged consultations, which look at the real impacts.It's not that we need more online petitions.But a collection of (potentially) uninformed online votes is too easy to justify ignoring. We need to demonstrate that our opinions are properly informed, and that we understand the wider context.We need to do more as individuals.We need to ensure that we are better informed. And to ensure that our elected representatives know what we are better informed.We need to use our systems differently.From Citizen Assemblies, to Citizen Scrutiny, to Citizen Government, to Citizen Information, to Citizen Thinking.
32. Citizen Thinking27:24None of us is as clever as all of us together. We need to listen to experts. But we also need to allow space for good ideas to come from anywhere.Together, not separatelyIt should be about the quality of the ideas, not about how good you are at lobbying; or how much money or power or connections a lobby group has.To run a country, all these things need to come together.People + good information = good decisionsWe need to be careful. We should listen, but we should not be herded into all thinking the same way.Sharing knowledge is power.
31. Citizen Information25:43Ignorance is bliss. And it can also be funny. But it can also be extremely dangerous.We need to know what the basic facts about the world actually are. Otherwise, how do we know when some new piece of information is important.We need to make sure that we have accurate, up to date information. We need to agree on the facts. We can’t have political discussion descending into whether my statistics are more accurate than yours. Statistics should be … statistics.
30. Citizen Government24:11Could selected Citizens (rather than 'elected representatives') actually be asked to do the jobs which our Government and Ministers are doing at the moment? How successful could they be expected to be? What might we gain, and what might we risk losing?
29. Citizen Scrutiny36:40A system which uses informed, balanced, objective, engaged people – citizens – to call our politicians to account, to check that they are doing their job.It’s not a party-political thing. But it is a political thing. It’s making sure that the process of Scrutinizing what our elected Government and Ministers are doing is neutral, constructive, and independent.
28. Citizens' Assemblies23:02Get a small group of people together. Maybe 100. Specially selected to be representative of the range of people and perspectives across the country. Young, old. Rich, poor. Different races and genders. Different political views.Give them all the information about a topic. Let them ask all the questions they need to. Let them discuss it, and think about it. Let them hear from the experts, and from the people who really care about the topic.Let anyone who wants to, listen in. Publicize the process. Publicize the information and the ideas and the background to the topic.And then: ask that group of people to make a decision on that topic, on behalf of all of us. A decision which is nuanced and informedAnd then ask our elected representatives to follow up on that decision.
26. The Northern Ireland Protocol08:49Why is it so difficult? Essentially, because of the three things which Brexiters wanted, you could only ever have two:1. The whole of the UK to leave the European Union on the same terms. 2. Leave the single market and the customs union, and 3. Avoid a border between the North and South of Ireland.You cannot avoid having at least one of the three things which Brexiters didn't want:A: leaving the EU and the customs union, means you have a border between North and South Ireland.B: not having a border, means the UK would stay in the customs union.C: Northern Ireland stays under some EU rules, meaning the whole of the UK didn't leave the EU on the same terms.This is what the Northern Ireland protocol entails. Checks are made on goods travelling between the UK and Northern Ireland.The disagreement is on how rigorously checks are made on goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.