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Not Apathetic

Tell the world why you're not voting - don't let your silence go unheard

They're not voting because...

To make voting worth while, we the people...

To make voting worth while, we the people should be able to vote on individual policies/laws where it is perfectly clear what the outcome will be for voting one way or the other. eg Should we go to war with Iraq - Yes/No?

No more confusing hype or spin, just a simple single page of "the facts" and a helpline number for "impartial" support and further information.

Made up your mind, then Text: Vote Yes or Vote No to 5555

The problem with voting for politicians or parties, is that they are all so similar that there's so little to choose between them, other than pre-election "pledges" that are never kept anyway.
Tony Blair has proved he can't be trusted already and will continue with his agenda regardless of the country's opinion. Howard comes across as smarmy and arrogant. And poor Charles Kennedy seems a little too frail to lead the country (not to mention being in the "yellow" team - I wonder how many people just vote for their favourite colour?)

What do politicains contribute in this day and age anyway, other than putting a public friendly face to hundreds of unseen policy makers, accountants and spin doctors?

written 11th Apr 2005

Responses

Andrew replies:
Yes/No?

Nothing is black and white like that. Even if a system was set up for individual issues. Representatives would congregate into groups that had similar views anyway. That's how political parties started in the first place.

written 11th Apr 2005

Gavin replies: Politicians do not phrase questions like that; the question would be, for instance:

"Would you be in favour of implementing necessary steps against Iraq if the available data was largely supportive of existing information showing that dangerous weapons of mass destruction are currently available for use by the hostile forces of Iraq in a way that could threaten Britain and / or its allies and might indeed by used by the current regime to kill en mass many innocent individuals including babies and puppies?"

...or something along those lines. Basically, the question would be phrased in such a way that only a completely heartless bastard or a fool (or perhaps someone who can see what's really happening) would fail to choose the "correct" answer.

written 11th Apr 2005

Tony replies: If you want to engage me in the political process, then seek my opinion on specific issues. Ask straight questions and I'll give you a straight answer.

While I agree that many issues aren't black or white, the decisions that have to be made about them are.

An intelligent person should be able to articulate a question in such a way that it requires a very direct response. These kind of closed questions are easy to understand and hard to misinterpret.

eg Should this law be implemented? Yes / No / Needs Review / No Comment
Should we go to war?
Yes / No / Not without UN Support / No Comment
You get the picture

While this system may have it's flaws, it has to stand at least as much chance of giving people fairer representation than the current system. And by keeping it simple, talking straight, avoiding spin and sticking to the issues, many more people would be able to relate to politics.

The current game played by politicians is seen as immature tit-for-tat. It's all smoke and mirrors to distract us from the fact that we really have no say in any of the decisions made on our behalf.

Why should I support one "team" or the other in a political system such as ours, when on the next big issue, their views may not match mine?
I've never been satisfied when it boils down to picking the lesser of two evils, but that's exactly what I feel like I'm being asked to do.

written 11th Apr 2005

Michael replies: From the sample of messages to Not Apathetic which I have read it seems that most authors would give serious consideration to the idea of more direct democracy. We have looked at how this works in other countries and have come up with some proposals for Britain, the countries, cities and districts etc..

We propose to introduce the right of citizens to introduce their own proposals or laws to be put to the people's vote and the right to change or veto laws passed by parliament. An agreed number of supporting signatures must be collected to start these procedures. This type of "direct democracy", side by side with "representative democracy", is already well tried in Switzerland, the USA and elsewhere. New systems of communication such as internet may prove to be helpful for improving and reforming both types of democracy.

At present we are allowed to vote for candidates, parties and their promises once every few years. "Initiative and referendum" allows us to vote and decide directly on those important issues, problems and challenges of public affairs which we citizens select.

More info. via http://www.iniref.org/

written 11th Apr 2005

Azriphale replies: Direct democracy is a great idea but...

Parking tickets and speed cameras would get abolished. There would never be any green policies passed (I see the "poluting business pays for votes" headlines now). The death sentance would be approved. Our system of government would depend on the weather (fewer people vote in the rain - which would affect results).

You want to make you issues count? Pester your MP/Councillors etc. Collect signatures. Jamie Oliver has more or less proved that it works.

Find out how you our government is supposed to work at www.open.gov.uk

You want to know what your MP does to earn his/her money? Take a look at
www.theyworkforyou.com - not don't rely on statistics alone. Try reading what they have said in parliament, it can be quite interesting (surprisingly).

The system does work you just have to get interested in it.

written 11th Apr 2005

Azriphale replies: Direct democracy is a great idea but...

Parking tickets and speed cameras would get abolished. There would never be any green policies passed (I see the "poluting business pays for votes" headlines now). The death sentance would be approved. Our system of government would depend on the weather (fewer people vote in the rain - which would affect results).

You want to make you issues count? Pester your MP/Councillors etc. Collect signatures. Jamie Oliver has more or less proved that it works.

Find out how you our government is supposed to work at www.open.gov.uk

You want to know what your MP does to earn his/her money? Take a look at
www.theyworkforyou.com - not don't rely on statistics alone. Try reading what they have said in parliament, it can be quite interesting (surprisingly).

The system does work you just have to get interested in it.

written 11th Apr 2005

Michael replies: Azriphale wrote: "Direct democracy is a great idea but...

Parking tickets and speed cameras would get abolished. There would never be any green policies
passed (I see the "poluting business pays for votes" headlines now). The death sentance would
be approved."

This is scare mongering without any real basis. If people have the means to behave responsibly
then they will usually do so. Our system does NOT allow effective participation in running
local or state affairs. With direct democracy: pro-environmental laws have been passed; death
penalty has been abolished; people are more likely to comply with tax regulations.

The occasional reform may be brought in through the efforts of a prominent "personality".
That's exceptional. We need better, practical democratic rights *for all* at every level of
government (local, regional, central) , so that we can express our political will even if the
politicians and the "interest groups" want something else.
Michael
http://www.iniref.org/

written 11th Apr 2005

Michael replies: Azriphale wrote: "Direct democracy is a great idea but...

Parking tickets and speed cameras would get abolished. There would never be any green policies
passed (I see the "poluting business pays for votes" headlines now). The death sentance would
be approved."

This is scare mongering without any real basis. If people have the means to behave responsibly
then they will usually do so. Our system does NOT allow effective participation in running
local or state affairs. With direct democracy: pro-environmental laws have been passed; death
penalty has been abolished; people are more likely to comply with tax regulations.

The occasional reform may be brought in through the efforts of a prominent "personality".
That's exceptional. We need better, practical democratic rights *for all* at every level of
government (local, regional, central) , so that we can express our political will even if the
politicians and the "interest groups" want something else.
Michael
http://www.iniref.org/

written 12th Apr 2005

TL replies: "Jamie Oliver has more or less proved that it works."

Yeah, just remember to get yourself a prime time TV show and become famous first though.

written 12th Apr 2005

Azriphale replies: Being famous helps certainly. But if you shout loud enough people will listen. Speed cameras are now bright yellow, fuel tax increases have been reduced all because of public pressure.

Examples of road building plans being scraped or mobile phone masts being moved due to local residents pressure are small scale but they further prove the point. If you are right or in the majority, you can alter government policy. You just have to be interested enough to learn how to use the system.

written 12th Apr 2005

Colin replies: Charles Kennedy frail??
- you've obviously never met him!!!

written 13th Apr 2005

Michael replies: Azriphale on 12th Apr 2005 wrote:
"Examples of road building plans being scraped or mobile phone masts being moved due to local
residents pressure are small scale but they further prove the point. If you are right or in the
majority, you can alter government policy. You just have to be interested enough to learn how
to use the system."

Rare changes in law and gov. policy may be brought about by campaigns, letter writing,
appealing to MPs etc. But success is rare and the procedures demand huge effort for relatively
small problems. Unless, of course, you have "the right connections".

We wish to improve our system of government, not to abolish parties and parliaments. See
http://www.iniref.org/critics.html

We propose reforms, bringing in well tried methods, which allow effective citizen input into
everyday politics. These allow people to make public proposals and if necessary call
referendum. These procedures are rights. We are not begging politicians to make changes, we are
debating, in some cases mandating.

written 13th Apr 2005

About Not Apathetic

NotApathetic was built so that people who are planning not to vote in the UK General Election on May 5th can tell the world why. We won't try to persuade you that voting is a good or a bad idea - we're just here to record and share your explanations. Whether ideological, practical or other, any reason will do.

A lot of users would like us to mention that if you spoil your ballot paper, it will be counted. So if you want to record a vote for "none of the above", you can.

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