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NO2ID backs drive to inject voter power into next Election

Power 2010 is looking for your ideas now

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As politicians and pressure groups limber up for the next election – now 217 days away and counting – NO2ID this week was encouraging its members to take part in Power 2010, an innovative new initiative designed to give voice to ordinary voters at the next election.

Power 2010 is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Trust, and has its roots in the Power inquiry, published in February 2006. This addressed the question of why individuals were becoming increasingly disengaged from from the political and democratic process.

This concluded that key reasons include:

- citizens do not feel that the processes of formal democracy offer them enough influence over political decisions

- the main political parties are widely perceived to be too similar and lacking in principle

- the electoral system is widely perceived as leading to unequal and wasted votes

- political parties and elections require citizens to commit to too broad a range of policies

In an attempt to re-inject the views of ordinary voters into the forthcoming election, Power 2010 are now looking for ideas that will contribute toward an opening out of democracy. They are not fixed as to what these ideas might be. Rather, they have put in place a process to ensure the widest possible participation in the selection of ideas, to "ensure that every candidate standing at the next election is asked to make a public commitment - a pledge - to clean up and reform politics in Britain".

Closing date for submission of ideas is November 5: they have already received around 1400 submissions from individuals and organisations. They will then use a polling company and a panel of ordinary voters picked by random selection to narrow ideas down to around 20. These will be put to a public vote, in order to whittle the final shortlist down to just five.

A spokeswoman for Power 2010 acknowledged the risk that the process could be captured by some well-organised splinter group. However, she felt that the breadth of the process and the number of submissions already received made that highly unlikely.

One group that has already been very active in encouraging member participation is NO2ID.

In an e-mail to members, National Co-ordinator of NO2ID, Phil Booth writes: "I'm taking the extraordinary step of writing to you now because NO2ID supporters have the opportunity to shape this new campaign by submitting your ideas for how we should change the way our country is run."

Whilst the appeal is couched in general terms, it is hardly surprising to find an organisation whose raison d’être is the rolling back of the database is looking for ideas in that area.

Booth goes on: "Naturally NO2ID would like reforms aimed at rolling back the database state to feature. Perhaps you have a solution to departments using phoney consultation processes to railroad through a pre-determined policy.

"Or it might be limits on the use of statutory instruments, which have allowed the government to extend the use of ID cards without proper parliamentary scrutiny. Perhaps you have a way for us all to maintain ownership of our personal information. You decide."

These are all issues that El Reg has reported on extensively over the last few years: now would be a good time for readers to get in touch with Power 2010 if they wish to put forward their own ideas. ®

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