About Your Party
- What is Your Party?
- What are Your Party’s aims?
- How can I get involved?
- Why be a political party as opposed to a polling organisation or a grassroots campaigning structure?
- Why try direct democracy?
- Who is setting this up?
- What is the party’s political platform? Are you left wing or right wing?
- Will Your Party be successful?
- Who can participate?
- Who can become a member?
- Can I be a member if I'm also a member of another political party?
- Is there a membership fee?
- How will the party's decisions be made?
- How can we be sure that the voting will be fair?
- Will we be given different points of view when we come to vote?
- Will there be exceptions to elected representatives having to vote in line with the party?
- So what is the point of becoming a candidate, if all you do is vote as you are told to vote?
- Is there anything off-limits?
- Local issues are very important to me – can the party help me with these?
- How is it funded?
- Will Your Party be on TV?
- Are you putting candidates forward for the European Parliamentary elections?
- How will this work?
- How can I become a candidate?
- Does this mean you are anti- or pro-Europe?
- Can I vote in the European elections on this website?
About Your Party
This is a party which starts with no bias about the best way forward in the future, but seeks to find common ground between citizens from all political persuasions. Your Party is not in opposition to any other party. It is a new platform for engagement, working in co-operation with any other organisation that wants to take part.
We want to make full use of the Internet to create a new way for people to engage in the decision-making process – a way that allows full participation at every level on an issue-by-issue basis. Taking part will be simple and anyone can join in – you’ll be able to go online at any time and take a full part in the process of leading and participating in the party.
What are Your Party’s aims?
Your Party aims to help you get involved in a way that actually results in positive change. If you’ve ever wanted your political representatives to listen to you, or got frustrated with the ‘political system’, or simply wanted to help, then Your Party is for you.
It aims to:
- Gain proper representation for you – our goal is to have the first representatives that are directly controlled by the citizens. Representatives that you choose, and who are contractually obligated to vote as you tell them. (We are considering putting candidates forward for the European Elections in 2004.)
- Generate new ideas and solutions from informed and constructive debate. These will go to all party participants and, once approved, will be supported and promoted by Your Party.
- Involve you in the political and governmental system, and give you the information and tools to get the best out of them. Our website will develop to give you what you need - from the right number to call at your local council to the tools to create a petition to be signed by hundreds of thousands of people.
- Register an interest in Your Party and/or take our survey. You can also let us know if you’d like to volunteer (there's a huge amount to do!), or even if you want to be a potential candidate.
- Make a suggestion for Your Party or this website. What do you want to see happen?
Why be a political party as opposed to a polling organisation or a grassroots campaigning structure?
There are, of course, a number of ways in which people can get more involved in the political process. However, we want to be more than an organisation that discovers what people think or that generates new ideas. These are extremely valuable exercises – but we believe it’s also very important to be an organisation that can deliver on those opinions and ideas.
To do this we need to be represented in the existing political and governmental structures and it’s only by being a political party that we can achieve this. We want (over time!) to put forward candidates and have representatives at all levels of government from local to national to the European Parliament in Brussels.
One of the problems with our political system is that people are becoming increasingly disengaged from the political process. The majority say that they don’t trust politicians, but are unwilling to take part themselves to make it better. Why? Perhaps because conventional politics requires a devotion which doesn’t fit with their life-styles. But people shouldn’t have to turn themselves into ‘political junkies’ in order to have an input.
That is why we are forming this political party which is unlike all other political parties. It will have a format that allows you to take part without having to attend meetings or having to donate money or hand out leaflets – while still allowing you to play a full and active role, making use of your experience and talent, creating the policies and choosing the candidates who will act according to your wishes.
Your Party is a forum which will make the most of the non-adversarial possibilities of the Internet, where people can respond to each other as equals, with an equal voice, openly negotiating solutions.
Why try direct democracy?
Without criticising current politicians, parties, or the system itself we believe that involving people in the political process can lead to better decisions, better legislation and positive social change.
Direct democracy’s not new. At the birth of democracy, in Athens, every citizen could attend the decision-making meetings, every citizen had an equal vote. But direct democracy became a physical impossibility when the size of the state grew too large to allow every citizen to fit into one meeting-space. Our current system of representative democracy developed because it was not practical to involve large numbers of people directly in the process.
With the Internet, that has changed. With over 50% of people having their own access to the Internet, and everyone having access in libraries and Internet cafes, the whole population can now take part. And they can take part in a genuinely interactive way – not just through simple referenda, but in a way that allows participants to consider each others views, negotiate solutions to problems, and make the final decision in responsibly-structured, deliberative surveys that take participants through the implications of alternative arguments before deciding.
Is this a threat to sensible and responsible government? We believe not. We believe that it is a lack of participation that is most likely to be a threat to good government. We believe that when people are involved, they become more responsible, not less responsible.
But it’s not for us to decide. It’s for you.
Who is setting this up?
This has been initiated by a group of people* who want to promote a more interactive format for politics where citizens can get involved, express their views and help themselves and others.
* We are: Dan Thompson, Rod McLaren, Simon Morris, Liz Morris, and you can email us collectively at email@example.com. We’d also like to recognise the contribution being made by Stephan Shakespeare and the team at YouGov who will be undertaking all our opinion research and voting.
What is the party’s political platform? Are you left wing or right wing?
Your Party is what its members make it. The initiators are of varied political and non-political backgrounds, and do not have a collective view, except that we want to try a non-adversarial approach to politics, in which all decisions are made by all who want to participate, on an equal level.
Will Your Party be successful?
That’s up to the voters. Our success or failure will at least help answer some important questions: is it possible for the Internet to promote greater engagement in the political process? Will that lead to a better decision-making process? Is the current system of politics good enough as it is, or will it benefit from this challenge?
How Your Party works
Who can participate?
Everyone. However, we want to ensure the integrity of the voting process and this might require a simple membership or registration process. All other areas – the debates and discussions, the information and advice etc – would be freely open to all.
Can I be a member if I'm also a member of another political party?
Yes. This is a co-operative venture, not an oppositional one. We welcome participation from people who are members of other parties as much as those who are not.
How will the party's decisions be made?
Whenever one of our representatives has a vote to make then this will be put to the party by means of a poll with arguments supporting the various alternatives. Party members will then be able to vote on the party’s position on the issue in question - and the representative will be bound to vote accordingly.
We are also designing a system that allows members to make proposals. Those that attract the pre-defined necessary level of support will then be taken forward, and subjected to interactive debate to generate the alternative options and the counter arguments. All such proposals will then be put to the Party for adoption or rejection.
How can we be sure that the voting will be fair?
We have contracted online opinion research specialists YouGov to undertake all voting processes to ensure fairness - both in terms of the phrasing of the questions and in terms of guarding against fraudulent voting.
Will we be given different points of view when we come to vote?
Yes. We want to ensure that people participate in a vote that is responsible, where reasonable alternative options are considered alongside each other, with the arguments for and against. We will expect participants themselves to generate those alternatives and arguments, and bring in experts to help moderate their presentation.
Will there be exceptions to elected representatives having to vote in line with the party?
As the ‘line’ will be constantly up for revision by members acting democratically, we believe the purpose of an elected representative is to vote according to that line. That is the agreement by which candidates will be bound. However, if members decide to create some leeway within the rules, that is for them to decide.
So what is the point of becoming a candidate, if all you do is vote as you are told to vote?
We think that decisions should be made by all members working together, and that the purpose of the elected representative is to act directly for members. But candidates will not be mere robots. Candidates will be free to join the debates and try to persuade participants; they will be leading the campaign in the media to win elections; and if elected, they will be the ones reporting back to members about what is happening in parliament, and providing their advice to the Party.
Is there anything off-limits?
Some things are obviously illegal but otherwise the limits – if any – will be decided by members. We’d also like people to be constructive in how they work together and debate issues but, again, that’s up to the members.
Local issues are very important to me – can the party help me with these?
Local issues are key for many of us and we hope to achieve representation at all levels of government including local government. However, we want go beyond this and create a local section of the Your Party website that will provide the information and tools necessary for everyone to get the best out of their local government – from the right contact names & numbers to advice on local schools and crime issues. An online ‘citizens’ advice bureau’ if you like - but one where you can express your views and action your concerns and ideas.
This is an ambitious project and any and all assistance - from individuals and organisations - will be greatly appreciated. If you feel you’d like to help with this then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re also looking for local representatives to help us start to build a national organisation and, again, we’d love to hear from anyone who’s interested.
European elections – June 2004
How will this work?
The country is divided into regions and parties put forward ‘slates’ of candidates for each region. Seats are allocated on a modified proportional representation basis which means that around 10% of the vote in many regions ensures representation in the European Parliament.
It is of course not expected that Your Party will ‘win power’: the aim is to achieve at least one contracted representative in the European Parliament.
How can I become a candidate?
At this point, simply register your interest within the survey. All those who wish to stand will be considered by other members, and have a chance to put their case. No-one is excluded. A series of rounds will determine the winners – those who go forward to become the official Your Party candidates. The exact process will be decided by members.
Does this mean you are anti- or pro-Europe?The initiators of this project have no collective view on any political subject, other than a wish to increase the level of participation. We believe that people should have an easier route into taking part in our democratic institutions. Beyond that, it’s up to participants.