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Undivided Democracy

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

Over the course of this year we will be releasing more about Southend’s local independent party, Confelicity. Today we talk about our system of democracy named: ‘Undivided Democracy’.


It is our view that some methods of voting serve often to divide people rather than resolve issues and we wished to change this. So today we talk about our method of voting within the party using the recent news about the leader of Southend Labour and Brexit and how it compares to Confelicity.


Cllr Ian Gilbert’s 7 votes to 8


The ousting of now former Southend Labour Leader Cllr Ian Gilbert came off the back of a 1 vote margin - 7 to 8. This has left almost half on the wrong side of the result, which may give rise to feelings of anger, alienation and indignation, with a subsequent plan or plot to rectify the travesty.


Many might ask why there was even a vote in the first place. He had just increased Labour seats to a record 16. He had started on 4 when he started 12 years ago! You might have thought all in Labour would be ecstatic. Yet even if there were people in the party that did not like certain aspects of his leadership, it might have made more sense to try to resolve the specific issues rather than take to democratic guillotine. But this is not how it works. And so we have Cllr Gilbert lose his leadership position over one vote. This is an example of an unforgiving democratic system causing havoc for the party and Southend. It seems unlikely that Southend Labour voters knew that their leader who took them into the election would not take them forward afterwards.


So let's talk about Brexit!


48% of people voted to remain part of the EU. Again, almost half. For the 52% may celebrate, but there will no doubt be some squadron in the 48% already plotting their revenge. Those who the vote went against are left to reconcile their feelings in the aftermath. For the victors: euphoria! This voting system has once again caused chaos.


At the start of the campaigning the small groups of people on opposing sides set out how they were to manipulate/convince/persuade the public in ways that will gain them support. They used any means necessary that would cling on to the right side of the law with one half finger nail - and this is on both sides. Had those in favour of retaining EU membership realised how close the situation was, they may well have reverted to heavier tactics than wheeling out Gordon Brown and Tony Blair!


The flaws in this system should be obvious. Gaining votes is more important than discussing the nuances of the particular subject. The subject is left behind and resolved with sound bites and slogans. ‘Get Brexit Done’ proved to be enough. One that might have thrown another result was ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t Brexit’! Either way, the result had little to do with reality. Furthermore, the primary reason there was even a referendum was because of the momentum of the Brexit Party and the impact that would have on the Conservative Party’s voter base.


The vast majority of issues are rarely definitive.


Within Brexit, for example, lay hundreds of different sub-issues - say immigration, which is often mentioned. Within immigration lay a further set of sub-issues, say employment (or they are taking our jobs). And with employment there are a further set of sub-issues. Are the number of jobs finite? My opinion (doesn’t mean I am right) is the answer is no, it is the opposite. More people means more people to feed, clothe, move, teach, look after, and so on, and therefore more money is available to spend in businesses who in-turn will need to create more jobs to fulfil the need.


So if the argument were about people taking ‘our’ jobs, and it were proven this were not to be the case (rather than just my opinion), then it would be time to move on to another aspect of leaving the EU, say the environmental impact of more people.


Instead we had an in or out, yes or no choice over the biggest political organisational change in our lifetime, and it came down to how many people could be convinced by Farage and his bus versus Cameron and his…well…I’ll just put...blank, because I cannot recall what his rhetoric was!


Whether you agree with Brexit or the ousting of Ian Gilbert from the Labour leadership, it is clear that the outcomes of both have caused deep division.


The problem is that a voting system based on a majority vote is always set up to divide, and this is what Confelicity wants to change.


Our voting system, termed ‘Undivided Democracy’, is a concept that takes into account the level of feeling on a particular issue, and in the cases where there are disagreements, allows that issue to be explored over time until agreement is found (or not), all whilst finding agreement on certain other aspects within the subject at hand.


Our voting system runs like this…


Subject: voting on reinstating a road through Southend High Street.


Each member votes from 1 to 100 on an issue.


- 1 to 49 is a no for now.


If a single member votes 49 or lower the motion will be moved onto the next meeting, where it will be debated with further information, evidence and fact. This means that a member has the power of veto.


- 50 to 89 is a yes, but they are not completely sure or do not feel strongly enough to vote it through outright.


The policy will not go through unless the party leader votes 90+. Otherwise the areas of concern will continue to be resolved in the next meeting. In this case it will be passed on a trial/probationary basis, but will only ever be passed if or when all members vote 90+.

- 90+ is a yes, and will become a policy


A motion can only be passed and ratified if all members vote 90+ (this is effectively a ‘yes’).


In the formation of our 2022 manifesto I put proposed reinstating the road through the high street, however, it was vetoed by quite a few members. As the leader I was disappointed as I believe it to be a good idea to generate passing trade. However, it is now up to me to look into a cost/benefit analysis and present to the members at the next meeting. It brings a stringency to proceedings and I am happy to follow protocol. No ones feels any tension because we know that no one is losing. We are all left content and can act without panic.


Once people start to realise the power of their vote in our party, I believe Confelicity could be the catalyst for Southenders to re-engage with the democratic process rather than the apathy shown by almost 70% of residents refusing to exercise their democratic right.


There are flaws in any system and there are obvious ones in this one, and yet it is one that will bring us informed, reasoned, evidence and fact based outcomes and alongside unity.


The Confelicity democratic system is different and might take a while to fully understand, but we do offer a new way. It leaves no one behind and means that everyone that is part of Confelicity is truly united. We may still disagree with many aspects of life, but none of that will form part of a manifesto.


If you want your opinion to be given the highest value, and you are passionate about Southend then Confelicity could be the party for you.


To become a member email: confelicityparty@gmail.com


James Miller

Confelicity Party Leader


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