General Election 2017 is close in the UK and unsurprisingly, I find myself disappointed with the choices presented. This got me thinking about the state of democracy in this country in general. An unfortunate reality is that if you have an opinion about a certain issue, you are forced to pick a side and conform with ALL the beliefs of that party. In the lead up to the elections over the past month, conversations with my friends made me realise that very few of them were voting for the party they genuinely aligned themselves with. Instead, they were voting for the “lesser evil”. This is a big problem. We should not have to merely settle when it comes to policies that have a significant and lasting impact on our livelihoods.
Political rivalry is not the answer. There is no me vs you, there is just us (smooth). The number of issues that rival voters actually agree upon is surprisingly high. But, the fact that the voter has to subscribe to a particular party’s overall ideology because of few other similaraties, brings isolation.
Real life discussion between rival voters in agreement
What’s the solution then?
Subway for politics.
Before you sign me off as a lunatic (if you haven’t already), hear this out. When you visit Subway, you don’t get a pre-made sandwich, you get to choose and customise your own.
…what if we did the same with public policies?
Instead of having parties push policies for us to back, what if we adopted a bottom-up approach? The people would vote on policies that matter and public servants would be elected for implementation. These representatives will possess autonomy to make smaller decisions on our behalf but they will act with complete transparency and every decision can be called into question. Much like the Swiss politcal system.
Different parties with similar goals, cut the package, get the policy
Coordinating this effort will undoubtedly be challenging, but the prevalance of smartphones and the internet reduce many barriers. It is time for us to modernise the century-old political system and work in real-time. An app, for example, would allow us to
- accept/reject policy proposals;
- achieve greater transparency on the activities of our representatives;
- keep tabs on how the money of the taxpayer is being spent
I feel that the candidates who claim to serve us are so far up the ladder that they cannot hear us any more and something needs to be done to bring back accountability. Obviously, I am not claiming that my proposal is free of loopholes and there are details that need ironing. However, my goal here was to simply push the ideology for a democracy that is dynamic, transparent and effective. If you think that I did not make any sense whatsoever, please let me know. Conversely, if you liked it, a discussion is always welcome. Thanks for your attention!