Archive | October, 2012

The Kitchen Cabinet – DIY Democracy

20 Oct

The huge drift away from mainstream democratic processes, the decline of those that vote and the increase in other direct actions (UKUncut) for example is gulf that must be closed for a well governed society. Governance may be a boring sounding word, but good governance means good engagement of those they serve, sound financial strategy and services which are effective. Politicians are vital but what happened to decent politics? I watch the House of Commons and it looks like a juvenile bun fight in the refectory of a public school or an Eton Mess.

The latest political norms are not those that most of us wanted and, the fact they perpetuate makes it look like national government has turned into a self-pepertuating values circus.  Resignation a sign of weakness rather than of taking responsibility. I like a ‘bruiser’ style politician personally but I don’t like bullies, yet I suspect bullying behaviour is endemic in politics. I believe these factors put women, in particular, off entering and/ or staying in politics. But for politics to change for the better we need a greater diversity in Parliament. Until we get that, the culture will remain fairly toxic.

So how do we make a change? Direct action like UKUncut and Occupy is growing in popularity but its not for everyone. We don’t necessarily want to get involved in formal meetings either. How would you close the gap and take ownership of your democratic rights? We had dinner. And tea.

Last night me and some tweetmates had dinner and copious cups of tea and we talked politics – not #bbcqt style but about the things that we have a passion for as women. We discussed schools, fertility, child protection and social work, addiction (harm minimisation vs abstinence programmes – the super @andywinterBHT got an honorable mention in this debate), alcohol culture, mental health and neighbourhood policing and social media (@ds_rosser and the sad #findnellie investigation as well as the lighter topic of #copsthatcook got an honourable mention here).

This is democractic participation and if we keep occupying the political space – formally or as we did informally we can make a change. If you have a Kitchen Cabinet dinner please let me know what you discussed.

This is our society and our democracy. I think that we can do it over a cup of tea!

Emma x