Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PICamp. Looking for game-changing ideas

I don't usually use this blog to boost my work, but I'm doing PICamp - political innovation camp - in Belfast later today, and I think it picks up a lot of the things I bang on about here all the time.

The concept of political innovation - not agitation or caucusing or drafting demands, but coming up with disruptive ideas that change the game - is a really exciting one. It's not been tried before in this form and I'm really looking forward to it.

It's coming at a time when there is a sudden energy around constitutional change in the air.

Alan Johnson has called for electoral reform - quite a big thing I think - and something that I think he has been keen on for years. Personally, I think that voting reform isn't the most important thing on the menu. I'm lukewarm on the subject - electoral systems should be designed to facilitate a form of representation and optimal policy outcomes, not just meet some notion of fairness.

I think the big crisis in this country is one of representation - last week I tried out an idea over on Liberal Conspiracy and Common Endeavour - reselect.org that is designed to put pressure on the quality of representation. I hope it's an idea that will take off in due course, and it's one that should become relevant as this whole focus upon MPs behaviour matures.

I can think of a number of piss-poor MPs that are in safe seats and that won't be forced out by their party leaders. As this whole crisis of confidence in MPs plays out, the public mood (and that of the more active sections of the population) will switch to the lacklustre ultra-loyal careerists in the safest seats. They are the a part of the problem that can be removed by a fairly small bit of orchestrated activity. Reselect.org offers a suggestion of how this can be done.

Either way, rather than waiting for politicians to make the running here (they can't really do much at the moment), it's a moment for people to come up with innovative political ideas - ones that can boost local politics, promote decentralisation, bring over-powerful media owners and pressure groups to book, and promote better representation.

If you are at a loose end in Belfast later today, and on the offchance that you haven't heard about PICamp yet, come along.

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