Finding a strategy for democratic reform

Last week the Council of Unlock Democracy spent a day discussing our strategic plan for this Parliament and in to the next. We talked about the sorts of actions and campaigns we would need to deliver in order to achieve our constitutional objectives, what would be the most effective campaigning methods to use, and what resources and capabilities Unlock Democracy needs to run those campaigns and make use of those methods. What we do, how we do it, what tools we need to do the job.

UD are planning for a set of campaigns that are potent, popular, and in which we are proficient. In other words, they must make a difference, they must be what UD Members and Supporters want to see, and UD must be ready and able to deliver them. It's an interesting time for the UK Constitution. A number of fundamental constitutional issues are becoming unavoidable, not least the very existence of the UK, but also such things as our membership of the EU and ECHR, the size and nature of the House of Lords, “the English question” (English devolution, or EVEL), and our broken voting system.

Two themes emerged from the strategy day.  Fear and Focus. There's a real thirst for UD to be fear-less, to become bolder in our campaigning, to involve our activists more, to work more with other reforming organisations, and to be prepared to risk being a Westminster Outsider.  For us to work for big and important things even if that meant we risked getting nothing. The freedom of having our own secure income is that we can try to do the things that are important to us.

In the words of Edwin Morgan, not to be a nest of fearties.

The second theme was one of focus. We need to focus. Whilst our resources are secure they are still limited. So we need to use them well.  This is where there is most discussion on Council, whether we should focus on running One Big Campaign for several years – e.g. going all-out for a Constitutional Convention, or for Voting Reform, etc. – or whether we should focus on three large linked campaigns.

UD is well placed to lead the debate on the UK's constitutional future. We'll be discussing the draft plan again at our Council meeting in September and discussing it with Members at our AGM in November.  If you would like to be part of these conversation then make sure you are a Member and come along to the AGM, or comment on the below, or email Danny Zinkus, James Grindrod, or any of the other Council Members.

Guest Bloggers: Council Members James Grindrod and Danny Zinkus