At a time when Britain has never looked so divided after the vote to Brexit, we have to seriously consider the question ‘Is our system of governance fit for purpose in the 21st century?’ How is it that so many people have such a lack of faith in their own nation’s political system that they would rather that authority be handed to bureaucrats in Brussels despite its being democratically further away? How is it that people are so resigned to the fact that, ultimately, Parliament does not deliver what the people want yet is still allowed to function?
To me the answer is quite simple. Nobody has come up with a better idea that stands as a better viable alternative. Well, I hope you forgive my hubris for stepping forward to pull the sword out of that stone because this scatty-minded Essex boy, this nightclub owner turned management consultant, this player turned playwright, is asking for your ear for a moment to consider a whole new world of possibility. I propose that our utopia is closer than we realise with the simple recognition of the emerging ideology of our time, which I refer to as POLITICAL HUMANISM. It’s the subject of my book Now Utopia, my humble attempt at political problem solving. In its essence it’s a book about how we make the world a better place.
Political Humanism is a notion that starts with analysing ‘what the people want’ for their society, identifying a series of value systems, recognising the aims and ambitions that people have for their society, defining and naming each one, applying a measurement system for how much closer or further away we are getting from those aims and ambitions and then designing our system of governance to go about working towards those aims as efficiently as possible so that our taxation is put to the best possible use. It is a notion that hands over the confidence and the power to the voter and the taxpayer and asks that they rally, they pool their mental resources, their collective will, and they start to think of themselves as an ‘Agreed Collective’ and start to realise that there should be no higher authority in this nation state than the will of its people. You only obtain that level of confidence when people are clear about what the problem is and what needs to be achieved to solve that problem. By defining societal aims we instantly make a clean sweep of the smoke and mirror politics of our prevailing system.
What People Want
So, let’s knuckle down on what it is that people want for their society: people want a system of Social Care, we want Democracy, improved Education, an improved Health System, Sustainable Lifestyles in pleasant communities, better national Infrastructure, a fairer system of commerce like PopCapitalism, a consistent and ethical foundation for Overseas Relations, effective and fair Guardianship from our police, our military and our emergency services. People want a fair, effective, restorative Justice & Penal System, people want Personal Prosperity coupled with the time and means to afford leisure pursuits, and finally, the preservation of Heritage and Culture and the safeguarding of societal values. Surely these societal values are universal, they are essential to human well-being, so as they become values that we can define and measure, all twelve of them, they become Human Well-being Indices or HWI x 12, which is just about as simple as I can possibly express this idea.
Political Humanism a Better Alternative
Political Humanism then, with its simple algorithm, stands as the only real anti-dote to the reigning political ideology of deregulated capitalism, austerity for the poor, tax breaks for the rich. And let’s not forget that this reigning political ideology is chasing its own algorithm, C+G+I+(X-M), the growth of GDP, constant growth, exponential growth in this finite planet. This is the ideology that prevails on the international stage, the same one that is not just allowing but fuelling the wholesale destruction of our environment. This is the ideology that has pulled the complete range of political classes into its fold like a black hole, absorbing not just the traditional right but steering the language of any opposition coming from the ranks of the Lib Dems and Greens and pulling New Labour so far off its Socialist anchoring that the difference in policy and rhetoric coming from the two main parties often becomes negligible.
Political Humanism is an offering of a better alternative to those who are currently standing against the elitist-led project of deregulated capitalism. Already potentially 2/3rds of the voting public currently divide their vote and allegiances between Labour, The Greens and Lib Dems. Political Humanism could stand as the only other alternative rallying position that brings together those wanting a better recognition of rights for the average citizen, those who want an alternative to the seemingly unstoppable destruction of the planet by an untouchable form of capitalism, those who want to see an evolution in democracy before there is a revolution that destroys it.
Political Humanism is a new and very BIG idea. It is both an ideological vision as well as a carefully planned pragmatic approach to governance. The detail of this big idea can now be found in the manifesto of the UK’s Humanist Party*. Other writings can be found on its website. The aim though is not to chain the ideal to a grassroots movement but to allow it to permeate through the current political alternatives until it binds them to the same set of ideals and becomes a collective voice of the people against the 1% and their faithful followers. In the meantime, while the alternative ideal of Political Humanism is slowly marinating within the minds of the alternative parties, there are two very distinct projects that can draw cross-party attention. Two projects that can rapidly accelerate our political thinking, albeit two projects a long time in the making, two ancient ideas in fact. One is Dêmos-Krátos and the other Res Publica.
First, what is the ‘res’, the very real thing that brings us together as the ‘publica’? – the people. I suggest that the very real thing we can have in place is a document of terms and conditions, a social contract, a declaration on rights, all brought together in one very real, very agreeable, very British Constitution. I suggest that this is a project of conflict resolution sorely needed at this time for those 52% who have voted in favour of a national sovereign democracy and those 48% who voted for improved global outlook, more environmental protections, and for the enshrining of rights.
Well, why not have it all. In fact why not go even further with ‘what the people want’. Let’s take this time, as we struggle to replace some of the desired legislation that we are walking away from in the EU, to building in its place something that truly represents the will of the people, that can define what government is there to do, that can protect people’s rights, can protect our environment and achieve so much more.
Based on the ideals of Political Humanism, I have invested about a thousand hours into what that document might look like and I invite all to come and see it, make their observations, suggest improvements, try to identify any potential flaws, submit perhaps what you feel is better, and by doing so I suggest that we become collaborators as opposed to political rivals. There will be differing opinions but each person should be attempting understand the other in order to build an agreeable outcome together. It starts today as a Facebook page entitled ‘A very British Constitution’ but it is gradually being built as we speak as a political discussion platform which brings me to my next point.
Dêmos-Krátos and MagnaSocia
Dêmos-Krátos, the authority of the people, not what we are led to believe is a democracy just because we have our say once every five years for a limited number of options and then have to put up with until next time round. No, this is not democracy. It’s time to evolve that thinking. Myself and a group of other nerdy types are busy designing and programming a platform for direct democracy called MagnaSocia. We have all that we need at our finger tips to realise what a proper democracy looks like here in the 21st century. People should not be asked to divide themselves into differing thought camps. The best innovations in our lives are as a result of human collaboration, not human conflict.
MagnaSocia starts by bringing closer attention to Parliamentary activity and putting pressure points on each part to do its job as expected by the people. The ultimate objective however is that MagnaSocia, once road tested, becomes the bigger machine that is driven by the will of the people and inspired by the words of Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality; to change things you must build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”. You may volunteer to be part of the steering committee at www.magnasocia.org
So ladies and gentlemen, this is a call to rally, to get involved in collectively shaping our collective future, protecting our very survival against the ravages of the machine, this global tragedy of the commons. You have three very definite options in front of you today to make that change; The Humanist Party*, A very British Constitution or MagnaSocia. Why not get involved in one or all three? Let’s start that conversation, let’s rally and let’s make this world a better place.