Our political system has failed us in many ways, and not just recently, but time and time again. This has to change, but this dysfunctional system is incapable of real reform, leaving us all, politicians and people alike with no way forward just when our society is facing it's greatest challenges. Campaign for Democracy has found a way of changing the system, a way of creating a political system that will serve the people of Wales and work for politicians.
Most Welsh Assembly seats are 'safe seats', they nearly always stay Labour, Plaid, Conservative or Liberal Democrat. There are other seats known as 'key marginals' where the seat regularly changes hands because the two leading parties in the seat have almost the same number of supporters. This is our pressure point. It's in the 'key marginal' seats that the outcome of elections are decided.
Within these key seats there are a small group of voters who swing between the political parties, the 'floating voters'. The result of elections are decided by these people who live in key constituencies. 10,000 floating voters can decide the outcome of an election.
Their power at election time is absolute. Any party that wants to win an election must have the support of these voters.
At the Welsh Assembly elections in May 2011 the Campaign for Democracy will target these voters and explain that if they can unite behind a just and reasonable demand, and make it the price of their vote, they can force the political parties to grant that demand. The main pressure the parties experience doesn't come directly from these voters, it comes from the fear that their opponents will accept our demands and get those crucial votes. This will produce a situation where it is in the interests of all parties to accept the changes being demanded by the people.
We will be asking people in the targeted constituencies to sign this pledge.
I pledge, that I will only vote for parties that will establish the constitutional changes proposed by the Campaign for Democracy.
We demand two things, a system of direct democracy where the people of Wales can initiate legislation and have referendums on their own proposals, and a Constitutional Commission that will enable and encourage the political reform we need.
If a party wants power, they will have to give something in return. The price of power will be the transfer of sovereignty from the Welsh Assembly to the people of Wales. For the first time in our history, we the people, will decide how we are governed, define the role of government, its powers, its structure and its limitations.
There are no limits to the changes we may make but something as powerful as this must be protected from abuse and we do this very simply,
No change can take place without the consent of the Welsh Assembly or by the consent of the people of Wales confirmed by a referendum.
Many of our politicians know that our political system needs to change, and we believe we can work with them in the National Assembly to get a majority there to have our system adopted in Wales. Over the next few months we will use the contacts we have to begin building an alliance within the assembly that will put our system into place, without having to run a campaign in the marginals in 2011.
Direct democracy has been used in Switzerland for 150 years and the effect on politics there is stunning. For the past fifty years the Swiss government has consisted of seven people drawn from the four main political parties, two each from the three larger parties, one from the smaller, a genuine coalition they call the 'Magic Circle'. Members of the government take it in turns to be president for a year, which is why you don't know who the Swiss president is, they're not that important, even to the Swiss! Their government admits that the range of views within the cabinet can lead to heated debate but they know that in the end the people have the last word, as the people also have the right to reject legislation.
It is far better for politicians to concentrate on making things work.
That is what we want for the people of Wales, government that works for people and politicians.
Not at all. We started work in Wales at the beginning of September this year and have spent the past few weeks talking to party leaders, ministers and their policy advisors. We have made amazing progress. The parties are coming on board but they have to consult with their members and that will take a little time. In the meantime we need to keep the pressure on them and we are doing this by raising the money to get our first constituency offices open in Ceredigion and Newport.
Here's David Cameron making a speech promising direct democracy for the people of Britain. 'We will begin a massive redistribution of power in our country from the powerful to the powerless.......the right to initiate local and national referenda....' Thank you David! We heard about it in an email from I&R GB who sent this link. Click on it to hear him.
How did this come about? More about it on our news page.
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