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UK election: how to mend politics, according to you

As the dust settles on a new political landscape in the UK, Positive News readers share their ideas for restoring faith and integrity in politics

As the dust settles on a new political landscape in the UK, Positive News readers share their ideas for restoring faith and integrity in politics

The UK election is just days away and comes at a time when trust and confidence in politics is at a record low. Such disenchantment, as reflected in the latest British Social Attitudes survey, is hardly unique to the UK; there’s a sense that many western democracies are struggling to function effectively amid converging global crises.   

So, what needs to change to re-engage people and re-inspire trust? That’s the question we put to the Positive News community in the run up to the UK election – and rarely have we received so many responses. We read each one but, sadly, couldn’t include them all here. We hope the selected responses spark meaningful conversations as a new era beckons for UK politics. 

UK election: how to mend our politics, according to you

Introduce proportional representation 

“Proportional representation rather than the ridiculous first-past-the-post system of binary voting. More stringent rules and tests for politicians’ integrity and moral behaviour.” – Garth, UK

“A system that allows for my vote to count, even if I vote for a party that is in a minority in my area.” – Amanda, St Albans, UK 

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“Firstly, only candidates [standing] who are from that area, no “flying in”. Secondly, MPs acting with honesty, integrity and truthfulness. Thirdly tackling elitism and misogyny in parliament.” – Alison, UK 

Focus more on solutions

“[We need] politicians who understand, communicate, engage with and offer solutions to the shades of grey and ambiguity involved in the challenges facing us all.” – Faye, London, UK 

“Rather than having an opposition, imagine the existing house, all sat around addressing each issue as one. What solutions might they come up with together? What would they all agree on, and what solutions and ideas (that are best for the people) might follow? Treat the country like a business, with an agreed set of values and goals. The MPs are the employees, and they look after the customers (the public). If the “staff” behave badly, or are providing bad customer service, they’re gone.” – Jan, London, UK 

Create more citizen’s assemblies

“I live in the US and we’re in a similar political crisis here, especially with the upcoming presidential election. I think a lot of people don’t know who to trust. Any way to promote transparent policy making and connection between candidates and constituents would be great. I love the idea of an ordinary citizen’s advisory panel [or citizen’s assembly] chosen via lottery system, something totally randomised where regular people can help bridge the gap.” – Riley, Wisconsin, US

Create more cross-party groups 

“Increased cross-party working groups and cross-party parliamentary bills would be a great step forward. Big issues, like the National Health Service, university funding and pensions are such long-term investments, it doesn’t help when political parties are continually trying to score points instead of working to make a sustainable, effective system for the future.” – Lee, Buckinghamshire, UK 

We need wilful dishonesty in politics to be against the law

Ban second jobs for MPs 

“No second jobs for MP’s. Caps on donations to political parties. Get dirty money and backhanders out of politics.” – Kelly, Bristol, UK 

Banish the whip system  

“Outlaw the whip system. If my elected representative could vote in secret in parliament then they would worry less about the party and more about those of us who elect them.” – Steve, Swindon, UK

Increase accountability  

We need wilful dishonesty in politics to be against the law: currently it’s so mainstream for our politicians to “spin” and mislead that we don’t even pick up on it.” – Ella, UK 

“We need more ways to ensure that politicians are held accountable. At the moment, it feels like politicians can renege on promises or spread misinformation and falsehoods and there’s nothing we can do about it unless there happens to be an election any time soon.”– Char, UK 

Make politicians shadow real people 

“Mandatory shadowing of people who would be most impacted by a particular change or policy is a fantastic idea that I would love to see implemented.” – Zoe, Hinkley, UK 

Teach politics at school    

“Politics should be taught in secondary school. This would highlight to young people how important politics is from an earlier age and encourage people to be more active earlier in life. Pupils should be taught the basics of tax, pensions, and financial planning for life, how credit cards work, and trade unions work etc., and then be introduced to more complex topics like policy planning and how the voting system.” – Sunita, Horrogate, UK 

I would like to see mandatory training in nonviolent communication for every politician

Tackle misinformation  

“Social media is part of the problem because of how online spaces are designed to capture attention, which means amplifying information (often disinformation and misinformation) that causes outrage. Re-writing their algorithms could be part of the solution. The social media platform Polis has been coded to highlight areas of consensus and do so across different ideological groups. Taiwan has been using it with a lot of success in developing actionable outcomes. Engaging the general public this way would make people feel heard.” – Emily, UK  

Without agreed facts, all western liberal democracies are doomed. There needs to be some method of agreeing and verifying facts from which then debate can occur. Previously, news was covered by a small group of agencies making it easier than today where sources are myriad and largely unverified. Whilst the truth is so malleable and variable, the politics which grows from that foundation will be equally untrustworthy and untrusted.” – David, Taunton, UK 

End party donations 

“An end to party donations – all established parties should receive the same campaign funds.” – Anna, London, UK 

Pay politicians more 

“Separate politics and business, partly by paying politicians appropriately. Conflicting interests are at the heart of the mistrust that drives disengagement.” – Paul, Ontario, Canada 

Abolish the House of Lords  

“Replace the House of Lords with an elected chamber that cannot comprise members of parties in the Commons. A written constitution enshrining equality for all and universal suffrage.” – Matthew, Nottingham, UK 

Provide training for MPs  

“Mandatory training in nonviolent communication for every politician.” – Wynona, UK 

“I would like to see discussions and debates between people in political positions (MPs, councillors, etc.) to be held with respect. There should be training for these people to learn how to interact with colleagues and with those from different parties using respectful speech and deep listening. I think it is crucial that these people set the country an example of how we should interact and connect as citizens. The intention for our leaders should be to firstly fully understand each other’s views and then to respectfully discuss the best solution for our people and our nation. I think this would promote a spirit of respect, trust, care and inclusiveness which would benefit politics and set a model for every organisation and group in our wonderful country.” – Graham, Cambridgeshire, UK

Main image: ArtistGNDphotography / composite

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