Monday, 28 October 2013

The Power Inquiry recommendations : a brief review.

Russell Brand talks about two areas of interest to us all in the Paxman interview, and elsewhere :

these are

a) the cruelty of the way Political, economic and religious power as we know it behaves - war, poverty, misogyny, concentration of wealth,,,


b) the desire of ordinary folk who have empathy, intelligence and the energy to render Governance incapable of such cruelty, yet who feel totally excluded from so doing due to the current political systemic and institutionalised set-up.

We are excluded from policy decision making, we are excluded from adequate oversight, and our concerns raised, when harms are caused, are brushed aside.

a well known war criminal, free and at large, unindicted, 
simply because the people are excluded from policy decision making.

The Power Inquiry of 2006 looked at HOW power could be devolved to the grass roots, those people who are largely imbued with common sense, decency, empathy, intelligence and the energy to render Power incapable of such cruelty such as The Iraq War or the mistreatment of 'failed' asylum seekers, or the mistreatment of the elderly in privatised 'care' and so on, if they had the opportuniy.

In essence this is about Power Relationships of old being superseded by shared power with empathy based relationships at it's core.

Here is a brief list of Power Inquiry Recommendations:

You can download the full POWER INQUIRY REPORT in .pdf format  from this web page.
- it's a very inspiring document!

Rebalancing Power

There needs to be a re-balancing of power between the constituent elements of the political system: a shift of power away from the Executive to Parliament and from central to local government. 

Much greater clarity, transparency and accountability should be introduced into the relationship between the Executive and supra-national bodies, quangos, business, and interest groups. 

Too much power goes unchecked. The aim here, in The Power Inquiry, is to allow the freedom for our elected representatives to be the eyes, ears and mouth of British citizens at the heart of government.

1. A concordat should be drawn up between executive and Parliament indicating where key powers lie and providing significant powers of scrutiny and initiation for Parliament.

2. Select committees should be given independence and enhanced powers including the power to scrutinise and veto key government appointments and to subpoena witnesses to appear and testify before them.

This should include proper resourcing so that committees can fulfill their remit effectively. The specialist committees in the Upper House should have the power to co-opt people from outside the legislature who have singular expertise, such as specialist scientists, when considering complex areas of legislation or policy.
3. Limits should be placed on the power of the whips. Indeed the Party Whip is anti-democratic in nature and should be abolished.

4. Parliament should have greater powers to initiate legislation, to launch public inquiries and to act on public petitions.

5. 70% of the members of the House of Lords should be elected by a 'responsive electoral system' (see 12 below) - and not on a closed party list system - for three parliamentary terms. To ensure that this part of the legislature is not comprised of career politicians with no experience outside politics, candidates should be at least 40 years of age.

6. There should be an unambiguous process of decentralisation of powers from central to local government.

7. A concordat should be drawn up between central and local government setting out their respective powers.

8. Local government should have enhanced powers to raise taxes and administer its own finances with oversight and consent by it's local population.

9. The government should commission an independent mapping of quangos and other public bodies to clarify and renew lines of accountability between elected and unelected authority.

10. Ministerial meetings with representatives of business including lobbyists to be logged and listed on a monthly basis.

11. A new overarching select committee should be established to scrutinise the executive's activities in supranational bodies and multilateral negotiations, particularly in relation to the European Union, and to ensure these activities are held to account and conducted in the best interests of the British people.

Real Parties and True Elections

The current way of doing politics is killing politics. Russell Brand is not lying. Russell Brand being accurate, Paxman agrees but differs in that he claims that if you don't vote the you have no right to complain, which is an opinion position rather than the reality of Power Politics as we know them because it's a way of avoiding the central issue of powerlessness by being excluded from the key parts of decision making processes.

An electoral and party system which is responsive to the changing values and demands of today's population must be created.

This will allow the development of new political alliances and value systems which will both regenerate existing parties and also stimulate the creation of others.

12. A responsive electoral system - which offers voters a greater choice and diversity of parties and candidates - should be introduced for elections to the House of Commons, House of Lords and local councils in England and Wales to replace the first-past-the-post system.

13. The closed party list system to have no place in modern elections.

14. The system whereby candidates have to pay a deposit which is lost if their votes fall below a certain threshold should be replaced with a system where the candidate has to collect the signatures of a set number of supporters in order to appear on the ballot paper.

15. The Electoral Commission should take a more active role in promoting candidacy so that more women, people from black and minority ethnic communities, people on lower incomes, young people and independents are encouraged to stand.

16. The voting and candidacy age should be reduced to sixteen (with the exception of candidacy for the House of Lords).

17. Automatic, individual voter registration at age sixteen should be introduced. This can be done in tandem with the allocation of National Insurance numbers.

18. The citizenship curriculum should be shorter, more practical and result in a qualification.

19. Donations from individuals to parties should be capped at£10,000, and organisational donations capped at £100 per member, subject to full democratic scrutiny within the organisation.

20. State funding to support local activity by political parties should be introduced based on the allocation of individual voter vouchers. 

This would mean that at a general election a voter will be able to tick a box allocating a £3 donation per year from public funds to a party of his or her choice to be used by that party for local activity. It would be open to the voter to make the donation to a party other than the one they have just voted for.

21. Text voting or email voting should only be considered following other reform of our democratic arrangements.

22. The realignment of constituency boundaries should be accelerated.

Downloading Power

The people want to nurture a culture of political engagement in which it becomes the norm for policy and decision-making to occur with direct input from citizens. This is the central plank of The Power Inquiry. This means reform which provides citizens with clear entitlements and procedures by which to exercise that input - from conception through to implementation of any policy or decision.

I repeat it's about the move from older Power Relationships to sharing power at the grass roots, where empathy and connection can inform the decision making processes. Empathy and connection are actually common sense qualities to nurture for there can be no meaningful community without these..

23. All public bodies should be required to meet a duty of public involvement in their decision and policy-making processes.

24. Citizens should be given the right to initiate legislative processes, public inquiries and hearings into public bodies and their senior management.

25. The rules on the plurality of media ownership should be reformed. This is always a controversial issue but there should be special consideration given to this issue in light of the developments in digital broadcast and the internet.

26. A requirement should be introduced that public service broadcasters develop strategies to involve viewers in deliberation on matters of public importance - this would be aided by the use of digital technology.

27. MPs should be required and resourced to produce annual reports, hold AGMs and make more use of innovative engagement techniques.

28. Ministerial meetings with campaign groups and their representatives should be logged and listed on a monthly basis.

29. A new independent National Statistical and Information Service needs to be created to provide the public with key information free of political spin.

30. 'Democracy hubs' should be established in each local authority area. These would be resource centres based in the community where people can access information and advice to navigate their way through the democratic system.

These ideas are a starting point in the solution to the problems, the frustration, the despondency most people feel when facing up to the problems of Politics and Power.

Russell Brand was merely being honest.

Russell Brand is not the 'answer' and he knows it.

Of course he knows it, he's not stupid and he's not a megalomaniac.

He's a man who has seen through difficult experience some of the consequences of poverty, addiction and he is someone has thought about it in some depth.

And now he is speaking out against the hypocrisy.

As most of us do in our living rooms.

WE are the answer. All of us adults.

This is a choice we must make as mature adults, of we are to give meaning to our affirmations of love to our children, on behalf of their children and grand children.

Kindest regards


Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe

No comments: