The flaws in our democracy are helping to create ever more injustice, division and dysfunction. Unlock Democracy’s work is more important than ever, and I would like to continue supporting that work on Council.
I have served three terms now on both the Unlock Democracy and Rodell boards, and have taken an active part in the helping both organisations get through some challenging and exciting times.
In my last term I served as the Vice-Chair for Policy, and produced a detailed policy paper on referendums, a contested and difficult issue which Council is still wrestling with. I have also begun research on issues like House of Lords reform and devolution, which I hope to be able to continue. Prior to this I was a member of the small group of Council members who led initial work on our strategy review, and I have always been an active contributor in the broader strategy discussions in council.
My main concern, and the key priority if I am re-elected, remains to ensure that we balance worrying about the immediate campaigns with the need to think big. The UK is still in a state of constitutional crisis: the dysfunctional settlement between regions, nations and centre threatens the integrity of the whole country, the injustice of the electoral system is increasingly impossible to disguise, and local government is suffering an illusion of reform and a reality of budget cuts and central control. We have to make sure our work does not lose sight of this even as we continue our individual projects and the reform of UD as an institution.
In the last two years, I have argued in favour of a more radical, less technocratic approach to our campaigns, and for the development of our “We the people” program to reflect these goals. Our work must always be rooted in good research and sound principles, and must never be partisan: but in the end our job is to mobilise pressure for reform.
I have also played my part in more day to day efforts to strengthen UD, notably by making better use of the two London properties that are UD’s main assets. As a member of the Rodell board, I reviewed and contributed to the ongoing redevelopment plans, which are finally bearing fruit.
Since the last election, I have also served almost continuously on the UD Management Board, meaning that I am active on all of our governance bodies. I have a 100% attendance record (by skype if not in person), despite being temporarily based outside of the UK. (I am the head of the Afghanistan campaign for Global Witness, an international civil society organisation working against corruption and conflict.)
I would be happy to answer any questions UD members might have – I can be reached at email@example.com