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We need tangible change not more chat. A month on from the referendum I feel this more than ever. So, thats why I am supporting MOREUNITED.uk which launched last weekend. Moreunited.uk is an attempt to grab the frustration, disappointment and feelings of disenchantment some people have since Brexit and turn it into political action.

I voted remain. I am depressed but only marginally surprised that the vote went the other way. Since that fateful morning when the metropolitan elite woke up and walked around in shock, there have been a number of different initiatives to bring people together, but most of the groups seem to be quite self referential. The tech community worrying about how it affects them, the entrepreneurial community worrying how it affects business. Of course it’s understandable to be concerned about what Brexit will mean for your particular sector but arguably it’s indicative of the bubble thinking that got us into this position.

Moreunited.uk. Is the first actual thing that I have seen as opposed to another group chat. At Doteveryone we always talk about ‘things’, asking ourselves what the tangible output or product is as opposed to intention, planning or waffle. I like things. Things can be iterated, improved on, talked about, shared. 

Moreunited.uk is a two pronged idea – first it wants to collect as many ‘members’ as possible who believe in a non partisan, centrist set of principles from which to govern the uk. These are not intended to be party political – they are definitely moderate but I know left and right wing advocates who support them. Secondly, and this is the crucial part, if and when enough members join moreunited.uk will offer money to MPs from any party to fight their campaigns. The MP only has to subscribe to the principles. By giving cash, moreunited.uk hopes to create another centre of gravity in UK politics. Union money, big business money and of course uber rich individual money has disproportionately influenced our democracy. If successful, and it’s a big if, moreunited.uk can create an open, transparent, moderate source of funding for anyone wanting to stand in an election. 

Moreunited.uk appeals to me for two overriding reasons :
1. It’s a tech savvy and modern idea. 

The Internet has changed the structure and powerlines of every sector and organisation around us, except the fundamentals of politics. In addition, crowdfunding has fundamentally changed small business and charities ability to raise money, build campaigns and get new money. You can set up a prototype of a new idea and see if you can find customers to find it or you can set up a cause you care about and challenge likeminded people to help raise donations. There has been no  substantive Internet based attempt to change the murky world of political donations. Crowdpac, Steve Hilton’s, US based start up is the closest but they have no political point of view. The success of ‘click-tivism’ services such as Avaaz, Change.org, 38 degrees also shows how people are ready to engage with complex and varied issues using email or other digital tools. However, the missing piece of the puzzle is the direct funding of politics and political representatives. 

2. It’s a pragmatic response to what has happened.

I would hazard a guess that there have been more debates and heated conversations about politics  at dinner in the last month than there have been in the last thirty years. Love it or loathe it, the referendum has certainly prompted more emotion than I can remember. Many of my friends have pondered how to start again, rebuild the whole system, a dream of democracy. I respect their ideas and views but that’s not the real world. Moreunited.uk isn’t perfect, it may well not even work but  it’s out there, launched. It wants to work in the system to change it rather than throwing rocks from the sidelines. I never appreciated how £20-30,000 to one candidate in a marginal seat would make that donation the largest by a country mile – enough when paired with other kinds of support to be the difference between winning and losing. It is therefore not impossible to imagine influencing a number of marginal seats quite quickly. It would be wonderful if the freedom from the normal sources of campaign money encouraged more diverse voices to enter politics. Maybe the old networks can be broken a little. 

http://moreunited.uk
The way I see it, it’s worth giving it a go. It’s a thing 🙂

4 thoughts on “MOREUNITED.UK

  1. Martha,

    I agree that it is time to be more united, but I struggle to see how this initiative, wellmeaning though it is, would work in practice.

    You state that “The Internet has changed the structure and powerlines of every sector and organisation around us, except the fundamentals of politics.”

    On the contrary we have hardly scrathed the surface of the potential of the Internet.

    Before the Internet, computing comprised of business software running on local computers within organisations, e.g. payroll. The Web has since enabled community software. This operates over today’s global computing network providing services for communities designed around the demand-side, e.g. eBay.

    However, nearly all the value delivered by computing today is still through business computing.

    Replacing business software with community software in public services would deliver the democratisation of public services, e.g.
    take the basic healthcare episode as an example. This is currently supported by thousands of disparate business applications operating in GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals, all of which can be replaced by a healthcare community application supporting the patient through the management of the end-to-end process.

    This is tangible, a thing, but requires fundamental transformation of public services. Let’s have citizens co-designing public services, shaping theor own future, not more centre-ground politicians.

    Happy to discuss at your convenience.

    JA

  2. Dear Martha,

    You start by saying “We need tangible change not more chat”.

    I agree but I believe there is a better way to achieve your goals.

    Rather than sponsoring MPs, the Internet provides a unique opportunity to redesign public services around the citizen.

    The rationale is straightforward. Business software, e.g. payroll, was designed to operate within an organisation, and needs to be replaced by community software, e.g. eBay, designed around the demand-side of a community and to operate over the Internet.

    In public services this would mean, for example, replacing the thousands of applications supporting the basic healthcare episode in GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals with an application supporting the end-to-end process designed around the patient.

    It is more effective, efficient and democratic than any business software could ever be.

    These new applications need to be co-designed by citizens, i.e. the redesign of government for the people by the people.

    The development of the new software requires an engineering approach, and, as a bi-product, eliminates the perceived “digital skills gap”. I have collateral developed over thirty years of applied R&D and commercial development, as well as precedents from the Industrial Age, to back up the approach.

    More background here. http://goo.gl/0weWtR

    Until we stop wasting the Web real transformation is going to prove elusive, if not impossible, however well intentioned.

    I would be very happy to discuss further with you at your convenience.

    Yours

    John Alexander

  3. “centrist set of principles?” No, the centre is dead. Good riddance. The only challenge to capitalist exploitation is to move on from the con of parliamentary democracy.

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