Is politics fit for purpose?

Is politics fit for purpose?

Short answer: No
How people rise to the top in a political organisation
No ‘apprenticeship’ any more
Politicians’ unwillingness to learn
Driven by ideology not evidence, how to change?
Short term or long term?
Short term crisis driven by long term problems
Longer term: Is this the end of the current political system?
What could replace it?

What can we do locally (in our communities) to influence the politcal system?

This was a relatively short conversation, other issues were swirling around. At least one person through that local things don’t make that much difference particularly in terms of seats where little campaigning happens because the electoral outcome is a given. The case was made that connecting with neighbours, getting to know each other, finding activities with common interests can help to create connected communities. These in turn may find it easier to solve problems and identify who would make good representatives and provide the support to help get them elected. It was argued that this is part of an ideal world which is rare, and counter argued that making this happen more commonly is part of what we can actually do to improve politics.

How to write a report

If you suggest a session, it’s your responsibility to create some sort of record.  It can be a few words, a paragraph, some bullet points or a 1700 word essay!  Or it might just be a photograph or drawing photographed that sums up what the conversation was about.

Write your report in an e-mail to electiondazeuk at gmail dot com with any photographs attached and it will be published to this site in the Reports category automatically.

Please make sure you remove any signature or any other parts of the email that you don’t want included in your published report.

Birmingham: Morning Sessions

We had conversations about:

  • Should it be compulsory to vote?
  • How do we kill the “voting doesn’t change anything” mentality?
  • Short term or Long term?
  • How much can we change politics with the things we do for each other?
  • How do we engage young people more?
  • Is politics fit for purpose?

We suggested but didn’t get to (yet):

  • How do we stop/detect “Fake News”?
  • Authenticity vs Authority
  • How to talk to others to my right?

The Invitation

Come and have the conversation about politics that you’ve been desperate to have.

“Nobody wants an election right now.”

Well, not quite *nobody* but many people are feeling bemused by the prospect of another summer dominated by voting… and news about politicians… and news about news about politicians.

I want us to have some real conversations about how things are run in this society and what we could be doing together instead of either arguing on Facebook about personalities or “leadership” or just shrugging and trying to ignore the professional political class.

I attended several political conferences last year. All were billed as opportunities to join in a conversation; all of them were packed and over-subscribed. And all of them were run in the same old way with a panel of the chosen clever few lecturing the rest of us before a rushed Q&A.

I’m going to run some events, but they won’t be like that. I’d like you to come.

I’m calling them “Election Daze” to reflect the sense of confusion many people are expressing.

The question we’ll be working on is simple: “What are we going to do about politics?

I hope that gives space for a broad range of conversations at an individual; community; city; regional or national level. There may be experts in the room, but they will not be able to dominate. If you come along, you will be able to talk and work with others on the things that are most important to you. You will organise your own time and will be actively encouraged to walk away from anything that doesn’t light your fire.

Some of the people there will be organising political activity all year round, others will have just woken up to how broken the system is and how we need to change it. The intention here is to help support and extend existing networks as well as creating some new ones – it’s not meant to cut across or supercede anything that anyone is already doing locally. Everyone is welcome.

Other ways that you can help

As usual, this was a flash of inspiration type project – funding bodies that might cover this sort of work tend not to work on “I need money now for something I’m doing over the next six weeks”.  I’m crowdfunding here and taking donations at the events to cover my time and travel and venues that really can’t support us with free space.

If you represent a funding-body that can make a very quick grant, or an organisation that would like to sponsor these events in return for some small recognition and association with a good thing, please get in touch, like now!

Everything hangs off this really.  Once the venue & date is known, the machine can start rolling.  I’ve written a brief but comprehensive spec on my blog.  If you have any influence over anyone who has space like that, please do put us in touch.

I’m trying to do as many of these as I can before the election. If you’d like to invite me to your town or city anywhere in the UK, please talk to me sooner rather than later. There will be a schedule at

Yes, please shout about it and share about it on social media.  There’ll be a blog with reports from events for you to link to. I’d love to see your blog posts, blog posts and vlogs on the question above.  And if you can interview me, that’s even more powerful. If you can get me some national (or local!) press or TV, then woo-hoo!  Best of all is telling people you know to come to an event or bringing them along with you.

About Open Space

The Open Space methodology is carefully designed to elicit the maximum engagement and creativity in the room. We start with no fixed agenda, but we will get an awful lot done in the space of a day. The agenda and all sessions are created by participants, for participants. The outcomes are dependent on the individual *and* collective responsibility of all participants – we’re making an open space together to explore this question, perhaps make some maps and find the people who can help us move forward.

What Outcomes Will There Be?

The primary outcomes of these events are strengthened and extended networks of people with ideas and enthusiasm to carry them out but it’s important to capture and report something of what is said in the room. Reports from each event will be also be available at the project blog:

What to bring

Your whole selves (not just your brains); friends (and enemies if you can bear to); something shareable for a potluck lunch.

Thank you for anything you can do to help these events happen, and I hope to see you for some juicy conversation soon.