Transforming Politics in the 21st Century 11 Jun 2015

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I’ve just returned from a debate at the RSA on transforming politics in the UK. The resounding – and familiar – conclusion is that the adversarial party political system is so over. Fit for purpose 200 years ago it now woefully ignores advances in technology, citizen empowerment and expected standards of public service. Click here to join the […]

Next debate: Sun Mar 8 International Women’s Day 2015

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Click here to join the discussion on Sunday Mar 8th (4pm UK time, 5pm CET, 12pm EST) The original version of the film The Battle of the Sexes was made in 1914… and while it might sound anachronistic it seems we’re not done yet. The most likely person to kill a woman is still her partner. 44% of women in […]

Report: What is nationality? Dec 2014

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Nationality … what matters to you and why? How can we make it work for us? Post Scottish referendum and with serious ongoing challenges in Ukraine, Syria and Palestine to name but a few, in this Thinking Tank we took an open minded, open hearted and challenging look at the concept of nationality and its value […]

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Transforming Politics in the 21st Century 11 Jun 2015

I’ve just returned from a debate at the RSA on transforming politics in the UK. The resounding – and familiar – conclusion is that the adversarial party political system is so over. Fit for purpose 200 years ago it now woefully ignores advances in technology, citizen empowerment and expected standards of public service.

Click here to join the discussion on Thursday Jun 11th (4pm UK time, 5pm CET, 12pm EST)

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Is it good enough?

While the expenses scandal of UK politicians may have been the last straw for UK voters, it is not the main underlying reason for a global trend of increasing disenchantment with democracy. Imagine if retail worked the same way. Every five years you got to pick one store that you would use for everything. It would be the only one you could use and you would have to buy everything it sold. Even if the day after you chose it there was a policy change and they now only sold GMO and processed food when you had voted for them because of their fresh vegetable selection. Or doubled the prices.  You wouldn’t stand for it would you? Nor would most of the other customers. There would be rioting on the streets. There would be outrage. People would take action.

How fascinating then that we have been successfully trained to put up with this sort of deal when it comes to something way more important. This is no longer just shopping at stake, this is our health, our education, our civic state. This is the way we treat criminals, the elderly, immigrants and each other. This is everything and yet our say is so minimal and so infrequent.

So what’s the alternative?

Having competing governments operating parallel systems like different brands of retail store could be tricky. But not entirely impossible. A worthwhile thought experiment at least just to work through some of the issues.

Another option would be a super coalition. A proportional representation so that Parliament roughly represents the preferences of the population and a Big Cheese is elected separately.

Or how about no politicians? Have people on charge of say, transport, who know about… Oh let’s say, transport. And then a serious process of derivative debate and research to agree strategies that maximise benefit for the population overall. That any of us could seek to be part of. Protected, of course, by some checks and balances to avoid vested interest ruling the roost.

Current status

Apparently there are more members of pressure group 38 than there are of any political party in the UK. That’s a good clue. When I explain the voting system to my teenage children I have so far failed to come up with any argument compelling enough to get them to vote (one because they say they know too little so can’t make an informed choice, the other because they live in a parallel world where authority has no value and little clout).

I am impressed that the Dutch government show a more open minded tendency. Ministers in various fields have held online citizen dialogues where the wisdom of the crowd is allowed to influence the outcome of the policy. A lot more subtle than another referendum and more representative than a town hall meeting with its attendant risk of being taken over by the loudest vested interest. See the road tax example here.

Next steps

They say we get the government we deserve. If the current system is good enough for you then fine. If not, then rather than moan about low citizen participation, let’s see what we can do about it. What’s your first step going to be?

I run an independent online dialogue forum called The Thinking Tank. Our next conversation will be about citizen engagement and how we shift from leaving  it all to top down politics towards more bottom up collaborative decision making where we all become part of the solution. Got a point of view? Let’s hear it. See you there on Jun 11th (add your name to our mailing list using the form on the right to make sure you get the right info about it)

Click here to join the discussion on Thursday Jun 11th (4pm UK time, 5pm CET, 12pm EST)

 

Next debate: Sun Mar 8 International Women’s Day 2015

Click here to join the discussion on Sunday Mar 8th (4pm UK time, 5pm CET, 12pm EST)

The original version of the film The Battle of the Sexes was made in 1914… and while it might sound anachronistic it seems we’re not done yet. The most likely person to kill a woman is still her partner. 44% of women in the UK experience sexual violence at some time in their lives. In recent research I have done with young men they talk of the difficulty of understanding and dealing with unfamiliar emotions of attachment and jealousy with little or no guidance. As well as the shocking figures there is a more subtle problem that society as a whole needs to address.

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On this year’s International Women’s Day we invite both men and women to consider the dysfunctional dance we have created between us and what actions might take to address the root causes of this situation which is not serving either gender.

For a quick and witty round up of the facts, you might want to prep by reading Soroya Chemely‘s piece on the Huffington Post. “according to UN gender reports, women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of its food and earn a whopping 10% of its income.

Click here to join the discussion on Sunday Mar 8th (4pm UK time, 5pm CET, 12pm EST)

Or book your place with Eventbrite

Dive into the Thinking Tank today to share your insights and consider those of the diverse group of participants we have come to expect. for a short while today think freely about something that affects us all and let’s see where we can get together.You can share your views in advance on twitter #ttt.

Check out our report from the last debate on nationality.  The Thinking Tank Report Nationality 1412

The Thinking Tank debate on Nationality revealed this to be a complex and under-considered topic which requires a more proactive approach to make the most of the potential benefits and mitigate against leaving it to be hijacked by nationalism.

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Report: What is nationality? Dec 2014

Nationality … what matters to you and why? How can we make it work for us? Post Scottish referendum and with serious ongoing challenges in Ukraine, Syria and Palestine to name but a few, in this Thinking Tank we took an open minded, open hearted and challenging look at the concept of nationality and its value […]

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Report: Mind the Generation Gaps

Generation Gaps: we always knew about the teenager / parents one but as we live longer and change faster how many more are opening up? Click here to see the report Thinking Tank – Generation Gaps From centenarians to baby boomers to millennials* – and whatever comes next – we have grown up with different needs […]

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Report: Engaging Employees

Employee engagement – is it happening for you?

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Report: Are you a sustainable leader?

Have you got what it takes to be a sustainable leader? And what does it take anyway? As the Economist put it in their CSR supplement  “it is the interaction between a company’s principles and its commercial confidence that shape the kind of business it will be”. Click on Glance (below) for 6 top tips […]

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What’s next?

We are in the process of developing our programme of Thinking Tank debates and, as always, welcome some co-creation. Here are some of the ideas that have been suggested. What do you think we should do first? Or do you have another idea? Beware of the loan shark. How has short term credit been so […]

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Report: Ethics of Banking

First off, it’s a shame we didn’t have more participants from the finance sector. Although they were 50% of the invitees. they were only 10% of the participants. Too scary? Come on bankers be braver next time. We considered over 150 ideas and opinions – here are the ones that got more than 70% support […]

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Falling off pedestals or getting ready for the future?

News drives events, events drive news. Are you a news gobbler? Is it the first thing you do when you wake up or the last thing at night? Click here to join the debate. Feb 14th, 4pm UK, 5pm CET, 11am Eastern time. Twitter hashtag #tttnews… feel free to share your views in advance of the debate […]

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Pirates! Oct 18th, 2012

On Oct 18 we had conversations at two time slots to consider our relationship with piracy in 2012. Over 300 ideas and opinions were put forward and considered by the group with some key themes emerging. LATTE REPORT Download the more detailed report here: (coming soon) ESPRESSO REPORT These are the top statements that I tweeted […]

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