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.
The way I see it, it’s worth giving it a go. It’s a thing 🙂