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Taking forward the Power Pledge01.03.2010 // by Pam Giddy
Several people have commented on the blog asking how the five reforms identified by the public vote will be taken forward by the campaign. There are a number of issues raised which I will try to address here, explaining the reasoning behind the decisions taken and what they mean.
Why do you only need to back a majority of the five reforms to sign the Pledge?
As the process developed, it became clear that saying that people do not need to agree with all five ideas to sign the Pledge was the only fair way to proceed. Dozens of organisations and tens of thousands of people have played a part in getting us to this point, so it would be wrong to now exclude those who have participated in our process and sincerely believe in political reform just because they can't support one or two of the ideas in the Pledge.
From the start this has been an open campaign, with participation from left and right - something quite unprecedented. To keep the momentum going we have to create a space in which people can be challenged and engaged. Asking for majority support for the Pledge is the best way of releasing energy and kick-starting a debate. Demand "all or nothing" and the parties and candidates, and the members of the public who we are encouraging to lobby them, would soon retreat from the process and decide they can no longer take part.
Does this mean you are taking a "pick and mix" approach?
No. This does not mean as a campaign we are picking our favourites, ditching any particular reforms, or taking the "top three". We will campaign vigorously for all five ideas - fighting to put all of them on the agenda at this election. They will all feature in our literature, on our website and in the organisation's dealings with parties and candidates.
Will activists be taking just three reforms to their candidates, or all five?
When we start asking supporters to take the Pledge to their candidates, it is exactly that - the Pledge, all five parts - that we will ask them to take. We are asking for our supporters and volunteers to back at least three, but they will be presenting all five to candidates and explaining to them the process through which the ideas came about.
Like anyone else, a candidate can sign if they back a majority of the ideas - hence the need for them to be presented with all 5. However, we also want to know exactly where the candidates stand on each of the issues and their responses will be tracked on our website so people can see which reforms on the Pledge they back.
Will overall support for the Pledge be used to lobby for particular reforms?
Several people have asked whether overall support for the Pledge will be used to lobby for particular reforms (potentially using people's support for the Pledge to lobby for reforms they have explicitly opted out of). It won't. We recognise that support for the Pledge doesn't automatically translate to support for any single idea in it. If 50,000 people sign the Pledge we cannot say that this means 50,000 have signed up in support of a proportional voting system. That would be wrong and we will never do it. What we can point to is the number of people backing a majority of the ideas on the Pledge - and joining our call for a reforming Parliament.
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