In an era of Open Policy, political parties need to embrace guerilla tactics to survive.

The open policymaking project is looking at methods of public engagement and participation in policy and what role digital technologies can play in the future. Historically, one of the major forms of public engagement in informing policy has been through the mainstream political parties. However, the main political parties are being eclipsed, especially from a perspective of utilising new technologies, by new upstart platforms and movements from Mumsnet, 38 Degrees through to the Pirate Party. If political parties are to reclaim their roots as movements for people who want to engage in policy,…Read more

Ideology won’t win back non-voters

Two parallel articles in the papers today. Here's George Monbiot in this morning's Guardian: The real problem is not that working-class voters have switched their voting preferences but that they are not voting at all because there's too little at stake, [so] the correct political prescription is to do the opposite [of New Labour]: to swing further to the left and to emphasise not "order and national greatness" but care and economic justice. And here's Philip Johnston in today's Telegraph: [Focus groups might show that people have liberal social attitudes but] that is…Read more

Republican kings

This piece first appeared on  Guess whose manifesto begins: "There is nothing more beautiful in a democracy than the love of one's country, to which every vote that slides into the ballot box on election day bears witness." I'm sure you guessed it's not Boris Johnson, or Ken Livingstone, or your local district councillor. It's Nicolas Sarkozy , and the Olympian rhetoric is typical of a French presidential candidate. Le peuple français are not electing a bureaucrat-in-chief, they are electing their "republican King" . "Republican monarchy" might seem very foreign to British voters, but it is…Read more

Beyond Parties

Are the Labour party cottoning on to the idea that we live in a post-party world? It seems like it, with the launch of a "Refounding Labour" consultation by Peter Hain and Ed Miliband today. The press release says: Labour must seize this first year in opposition to reform so that the Party reaches out to hundreds of thousands of people who are Party ‘supporters’ but not ‘joiners’ and millions of voters it needs to win back. Ed Miliband believes that politics has been changing fundamentally and that Labour must be the first Party…Read more

Lunchtime list for June 14th

Here are the articles and web pages the Talk Issues team recommend today: The lost art of democratic debate - A TED lecture by Michael Sandel (at Slugger) on the marginalised role of citizens' moral opinions in democratic discussion. Germany's mindset has become solipsistic - Jürgen Habermas discusses the "perilous self-absorption" of Germany during the financial crisis The banks have refused to mend their ways. Beware the next crash - Will Hutton presents Despatches on Channel 4 tonight, on the (lack of) change in bank attitudes and regulations. This Guardian article summarises his…Read more

Welcome to the Thinktank Roundup

Welcome to the Talk Issues 'Thinktank Roundup' - your one-stop review of all the best publications, research, commentary and events from leading UK think tanks. Not surprisingly two themes dominate the output this week - the arrival of the UK's first coalition government in 60+ years and the implications of the coming fiscal contraction. Reports, Publications & Research The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has a report  on why the planned referendum on electoral reform "could be a missed opportunity to change politics in the UK for the better." The IPPR suggest the Additional…Read more

No confidence in 55 percent

Image via Wikipedia The Government's self-interested plan to gut the traditional motion of no confidence might gain the status of memorable first flap of the new administration - with a constitutional principle in the role of Bernie Ecclestone. The proposal, linked to that for fixed-term parliaments, is that votes of no confidence should no longer automatically compel a Prime Minister to dissolve Parliament*. Instead, a vote of 55% of the Commons would be needed to authorise a dissolution request. There has been a lot of disquiet over this proposal, both from Conservatives such…Read more

Keeping on talking

Thanks to everyone who read and commented here and on Facebook during the election campaign. We tried to do our bit to talk about policy issues rather than the leaders' personalities, or their wives' toes. Now, under the new coalition Government, discussion and compromise on issues will, we hope, come right to the fore. People are talking - about Lords' reform, about voting systems, about free schools and about spending cuts. The Labour party leadership election is getting under way, and again, we hope that it will be a contest of ideas rather…Read more

Election first reaction

So after a few hours's sleep, time to reflect on the irony that this most presidential of general elections has resulted in a slew of unpredictable local results, many based on individual candidates' records, and will now be followed by at least 48 hours, and possibly much longer, of Parliamentary manoeuvring. When all the talk is about horse-trading, it doesn't seem like the best time to talk about the policy issues at stake, but if the Liberal Democrats are seriously thinking of allying with the Tories or, less likely, Labour, they will need…Read more

Still can’t decide?

Polling Day is tomorrow and if - like a third of voters - you still haven't definitively made up your mind how to vote, here are some resources for you to take a look at: Carrie's roundup of websites that match users' views to parties' policies. Find out which party's opinions are close to yours The BBC's excellent constituency map, so you can find out what the results were at the last election where you live The parties' manifestoes: Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, or profiles of others The BBC's First Time Voter page (which…Read more