A Democratic Reform Strategy for Labour

Bob Bollen, founder of Talk Shop
Bob Bollen

If and when Labour comes to power, immediately set up three parallel streams of fully-funded trials of deeper democratic engagement

  • around localities
  • around local areas within recently nationalised industries (eg South Western Railways, or Electricity Supply in the North East)
  • within privately owned businesses who volunteer to take part in exchange for taxation privileges

There should be between 20 and 50 trials in each stream.

For each stream there should be a portfolio of methods on offer such as particpatory budgetting, Flatpack Democracy, Liquid Democracy, ….

Each trial will be setup in such a way that subsequent approval is not required from any other body, in order that participants can know that their decisions have real power.

There will be widespread publicity about the opportunity to participate, and triallists will be chosen primarily on the expressed willingness of their user populations to participate.

Professional organisations with experience in managing such situations will be contracted to manage each trial, and will start by assisting the participants to chose a method from the offered portfolio.

The trials will embrace both text and video versions of all inputs; face to face meetings; outputs from the meetings which will include full text, videos and structured summaries (see note 2); all of which will be available for public viewing in libraries and online with comments allowed on the structured summaries.

The central team managing all these trials will setup face to face and online ways for participants and members of the professional organisations to meet and share lessons and best practice, and to recommend appropriate methods for different situations.

There will be sufficient training for both those in the professional organisations and for those participating.

The central team will widely publicise the progress and outcomes of the trials, with a view to increasing public demand.

Within 18 months Labour will review the progress, refine the process and develop a plan to roll this out to the whole country.

Labour should immediately commission a professional organisation to define, scope and cost this exercise so that it is ready to go as soon as it comes to power.

Bob Bollen