Jun 8th, 2009
We can’t leave it to the politicians to sort this mess out
By 38 Degrees team
It feels like politics in the UK has lots its way. The Labour government which inspired such hope twelve years ago is no longer trusted and torn by conflict. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have also had their share of scandal. Last week most of us chose not to vote for any of them, whilst the BNP profited from the crisis to make alarming gains including two MEPs. Right now we can’t rely on the Westminster parties to sort this crisis out on their own. But People Power can force their hand. There’s never been more need for us to come together to demand politicians properly sort out our political system.
In two weeks almost 6000 people have got involved with 38 Degrees. Our campaign for a recall law has moved the issue right up the agenda, with party leaders now agreeing to “look into” the idea. This isn’t yet a victory, but it is progress – recall started being talked about seriously as people started signing our petition. This shows that we do care about sorting politics out, and that by working together we can force politicians to respond. What should we do next? We were planning to hand our recall petition in this week, but events have moved fast and we feel we should decide together what our next steps are.
Our Recall petition, now over 4000 names strong, is definitely something we need to build on. My view is that the best time to deliver it is when the Party Leaders meet to discuss reforms. This meeting has been promised, but a date hasn’t be confirmed yet. After that I think we should probably turn up the heat on individual MPs, and make sure they’re sending a clear message up to their leaders that a real recall law, that puts power to hold our local MP to account firmly in the hands of the people, is an important part of the solution. It feels like this campaign is still building momentum – what we’ve done so far has put the issue on the agenda, but more pressure is needed to make sure the positive talk is converted into real action.
Polls tell us that three quarters of us now believe that big changes are needed to the UK political system, more than ever before . The current crisis presents us with an opportunity to demand changes which could make politics better, for good. But what are the most important changes to focus on? Should we keep all our attention on demanding a Recall Law that would mean politicians couldn’t ignore voters between General Elections? Should we campaign for changes to the voting system to ensure parliament better reflects who we voted for? Or should we be doing something else entirely? We’re most powerful when we work together, so we need to decide together what we work on.