Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Future of the Political Party
- and how Ilford North matters

Press release from the Electoral Society

NEW REPORT: “Open Up – the future of the political party”

ERS research shows public support for end to two-party dominance; urges mainstream parties to respond by ‘opening up’ to members and supporters

People prefer a multi-party political system, and not one dominated by the traditional big two parties, new Electoral Reform Society (ERS) research suggests.

A ComRes poll of the 40 most marginal Conservative-Labour constituencies [Ed: not sure if that includes Ilford North but if not it's not far short] (ie. the areas where the traditional two-party battle ought to be fiercest) [Ed: Ah! That's certainly us] found that:
  • 67% believe the rise of smaller parties such as UKIP and the Greens is good for democracy (against just 16% who support the opposite)
  • 51% believe it is better to have several smaller parties than two big parties (against 27% who oppose)
  • 50% believe the era of two parties dominating British politics is over (against 32% who oppose)
The same poll showed that people are comfortable with the implications of a multi-party system, and prefer parties to work together in the common interest rather than continually attack each other:
  • 78% believe the Opposition should work with the government on issues they agree on
  • 54% believe Parliament works best when no party is too dominant so that cross-party agreement is needed to pass laws
These findings come as part of a new report by the Electoral Reform Society on the future of political parties. Open Up sets out the challenges faced by the mainstream parties, the ways in which newer ‘challenger’ parties appear more adept at attracting support in the 21st century, and what the mainstream parties need to do to reconnect with voters.

The report makes four core recommendations for the mainstream parties to address their spiral of decline. These are:
  • Increased role for non-members Parties’ experiments with involving non fee-paying supporters should be accelerated
  • More member- and supporter-led policymaking People want to see an end to top-down, command-and-control politics
  • Party funding reform Parties’ reliance on big donors is undermining people’s trust in them
  • Electoral reform A fairer voting system would help meet people’s expectations of having a greater choice of parties and more consensual policymaking
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:
“The era of two big political parties slugging it out on the national stage is well and truly over. Our research shows clear public appetite for having a larger number of parties on the national stage, and for those parties to be willing to work together in pursuit of the common good.
“The older, more traditional parties need to wake up to this new reality or face the consequences of ever-dwindling support. They need to embrace new ways of opening up beyond their narrowing band of members, and they need to push through reforms which will give people the type of politics they want.
“Parties should be a force for good. At their best, they bridge the divide between politics and people and make our democracy work. They should be part of the solution to political disengagement, not part of the problem. But to achieve this, the British party system needs to catch up with the type of politics people want to see.”

Tim Bale, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University London, writes in a foreword to the report:
“Parties, believe it or not, are not so cut off from society that they fail to realise they have a serious problem. And they are trying as best they can to think hard about solutions, including some of those discussed [in this report]. Becoming more transparent, less hierarchical and more eclectic surely has to be the way to go.”

Interesting times ahead .... Maybe?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Greenings

a pre-1930s Green SantaThe committee of Barkingside 21 wish all our readers a safe and enjoyable Christmas followed by a Happy New Year. Please be extra careful on the roads, you may have left the car keys at home while attending the office party, but others may not.

This year we are linking you to the green, green grass of Wales with:

Welsh Green Christmas Tips
A well-managed, innovative site with a host of practical advice presented in an engaging way and easy to read format with lots of graphics and links, and you don't have to speak Welsh.

Meanwhile here in Green Redbridge we have the bland:

Green Christmas page on Redbridge-i, But it does link to interesting stuff like:

How to make your own Christmas Crackers.
At least this way you get to decide what’s going in the Cracker and will not end up with a box full of nail clippers, key rings, bottle openers, dice, golf tees and other assorted unwanted junk after a few years.

Oh, and if you do get a nice expensive present in your Chistmas stocking there is no need to tell all the passing burglars by leaving the carboard box outside your home …

Festive security tips
The 12 Scams of Christmas

Friday, December 12, 2014

Redbridge Council Consultations
- Reminder

There are two major consultations out at the moment:

First we have the Planning Brief for the Redbridge Local Plan for the next 15 years, see earlier post here. This includes the Oakfield option so if you haven’t had your say yet there is still time as this consultation closes on 22nd December. There is one final “Drop in session” where council officers will be on hand to answer your questions. This is on Tuesday December 16th from 5:30pm-7:30pm at Wanstead Library.

Second we have the Council Budget for the next 3 years known as the £70million challenge, see earlier posts here and here. There is no closing date for this one, but the next financial year is rapidly approaching and the council want our help with the scratching of heads and strokey beard moments. You can find it on the award winning Redbridge-i here. There is also a video below.

As always there are the critics, but I like it. In fact I will go so far as to say that there has been a marked improvement in communications from the Council (and I’m referring to the Council, not the administration) over the summer. Just because some elderly people (and it’s not just them) do not have access to the interwebby is not a reason to not use it effectively and imaginatively. By contrast do have a peek at the previous version from 2010 which appears to be modelled on a 1950s BBC information broadcast.