A referendum every day.

Metabograph, right panel - by A.M Kuchling at Flickr
A radio ... with buttons

Sounds exciting doesn’t it? That’s because it is and it could be easy. This post was written because of @phillprice tweeting this:

Here’s an idea – no taxes just an 090 number to call and we all get to vote on a policy a day.

But it’s something I’ve thought for a while and discussed with those both cleverer and far more political than me.

Disclaimer: This post is perhaps a little off-topic, but it has computers in it, so it’s staying…

Imagine if you woke up every day, made yourself a nice little cappucino, sat on your Ikea bench at your Ikea table, opened your laptop and voted in a referendum … every day. This is a possibility.

I would love to take part in something like that, direct democracy, making my vote count every day. The kind of things you could vote for range from the trivial, to the hugely important. You logged into a website with your National Insurance number, or other such unique identifier and were presented with a page of questions and radio buttons. You simply selected “Yes” or “No” as a radio button for each question, or whatever the question warranted as an answer and move to the next, when you’re done, click submit. You could be asked:

  • Should the local council paint the lamp posts in the high street, or install new litter bins? (Read more…) (Closes in 3 days)
    • Paint lamp posts
    • Install litter bins
    • Either
  • Should the council raise council tax by 0.1% or 0.2% (Read more …) (Closes in 1 day)
    • 0.1%
    • 0.2%
    • Either
  • Should the UK enter the EU? (Read more …) (Closes in 2 weeks)
    • Yes
    • No

So, a series of question, with answers and a read more link. The link could take you to an impartially authored page describing the pros and cons of the choices. Being online means you could also get the skinny from other websites, visit Wikipedia (if you dare) and discuss it with your friends (if they’re local). The questions remain open for a period of time, giving you breathing space to research the questions you need (you don’t need to research painting lamp posts vs new litter bins, do you?).

This gives the government and the local councillors more time to spend on the bigger issues they tackle without having to worry about every little detail. We’ll be more involved and the country could, for some things, get more of a say in what goes on. The side affects being that perhaps more people will become interested in policitcs and that is always a good thing.

If you didn’t want to vote, then you don’t have to. You don’t now anyway and the decisions are made, but imagine if you could be part of something like this every day. You’d feel more satisfied knowing that you had somewhere to throw your empty double-caff-vanilla-frappacino-vent-latte cup intead of freshly painted lamp posts and that you had something to do with it.

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