Considering the expenses scandal and a looming general election likely to be fought on gesture politics more than real vision, it is all too easy to become disenfranchised-from our political parties, the state of democracy and our country's governance as a whole. However, the Power2010 campaign seeks to shake up this apathy and get the public involved in the functioning of our democracy. Created by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, it aims to find the public's 5 most popular political reforms, and asks all prospective MPs to adopt them as a pledge.
In September, Power2010 asked the public to come forth with the democratic reforms they wanted to see at the next parliament. The response was huge; over 4,000 proposals were put forward. These ideas were whittled down by a representative sample of the population, and any securing above 50% support are now up as a shortlist of proposals on their website. Until 22nd February, you can vote for the changes that mean the most to you. Following this, the 5 most popular demands will form the Power2010 Pledge. This will be taken to all those standing for election, with a request for their own pledge to clear up politics.
There are some great suggestions on the shortlist such as 'Scrap ID cards and roll back the database state', 'English Votes on English Laws' and 'Expand the Freedom of Information Act'. The only way to ensure that the ideas that appeal to you make the final pledge is to vote for them. The campaign has brought about ideas from people across all backgrounds and party ties, and by keeping the suggestions limited to ways of enhancing democracy there is little political bias.
The number of parliamentary candidates that will take up the Power Pledge remains to be seen, but the more that those who care about parliament's health support the campaign, the better. Making it clear to parties where the public stands on civil liberties and transparent government is perhaps one of the best safeguards against the situation disintegrating further.
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