Today is day 26, which means I’ve had two days of doing nothing (pretty much). Spending the weekend with my little man was far more important, of course.
But in general I’m finding it hard to keep up every single day. My hope was that it’d be fairly straight-forward to do something, at least small, every day but as well as having a life it’s actually quite hard to have something to show everyday.
Most days I’ll be chipping in on the Manifesto, or with Something New discussions, but that’s not very interesting so I try to do something reasonably significant, but it feels more like a chore than I’m actually doing something.
So, from now on #365daysofpolitics isn’t going to be about doing something every single day. It’s going to be about me spending a year dedicating a significant portion of my life to politics, to the Manifesto, to Something New and to trying to use politics to build the progressive world I want to see.
A quiet day of political slacktivism today. I cleared the backlog of Manifesto proposals I hadn’t read/replied to/voted on.
Update: I hadn’t noticed it until now, so I’ve just signed this petition demanding a referendum on the scrapping of the human rights act that the Government wants to force on us. I strongly suggest you sign it too.
Today I recommitted to the political party that sprang out of the OpenPolitics Manifesto project. While I got involved a while ago my participation in the last six months has been almost non-existent due to the other pressing issues in my life.
That changed today when I agreed to be Something New’s technology officer. I’ll be a party official, combining my love of technology with my love of politics.
I’m very, very excited to get my teeth back into Something New and help grow the party from the relative success achieved in the general election.
Use that anger.
That’s what Andy Bennetts, parliamentary candidate for Class War in Lichfield said during a hustings at the weekend.
A favourite song of mine is Freedom by Rage Against The Machine. It includes this line:
Anger is a gift.
I love that because I believe it. My anger at our political system has motivated me to do something. I’ve chipped in a little work Democracy Club, actively contribute (and evangelise) the OpenPolitics Manifesto, and have helped with the Something New party.
Anger can motivate like nothing else, so if, like me, you’re angry at politicians, do as Andy says and use it.
There’s something else that Andy said that I think we could all do a little better.
Organise and fight
Here’s a few suggestions;
Picture: Flag of the EZLN, Wikipedia
As an open source developer I collaborate with other developers on projects. More so now I’m working with Code For The People (best WordPress agency in the world, obvs).
Thanks to James Smith starting the OpenPolitics Manifesto I’ve thoroughly enjoyed applying that same collaborative spirit to a political endeavour. When you have something you want to add to the manifesto (anyone can) a pull request is created.
Collaborators, and anyone else, can then comment on that pull request – thus starts the debate. And that’s the big enjoyment for me.
We offer our views on a topic, but there’s never a sense of argument. It’s good, intellectual debate with everybody considering the merits of their own and others’ opinions at once. Changes of opinion are not uncommon as a result, such as Paul’s abstination-turned-shock at Royal immunity, and often there is a fantastic effort to reach consensus, such as this one on MPs remuneration.
Another great aspect to the collaboration is the use of evidence. Although plenty was being offered, I added a note to remind folks to ask for evidence in support of any claims made. Admittedly, I’m guilty of breaking that rule a few times myself, and sometimes evidence is scarce. As I type, Tim has posted a fantastic example of using evidence to look at a proposal.
I’m doubtful as to whether this would ever translate to the manifesto of an official political party (if it does, it already has a name) but the effort in itself is a great way to put a mirror up to your own political beliefs and challenge them in a constructive, collaborative way.
Do join in.