Participation means more than being “consulted” or “represented.”

Participation means more than just being consulted and represented. For many decades it’s been noted the way Members of Parliament seek our vote for a few weeks and then disappear until the next election. Of course they have too much to do. The system is racked on a fault-line in the evolution of democracy.

Those who are in power and enjoy the fruits of recognition and material ease will inevitably defend the structure of our current foundations. This is no bad thing, where revolution has turned on the oratory of a few firebrands, who use the fault-lines to evoke a mythical bye-gone era, thus catapulting themselves onto the emperor’s throne. We certainly do not need sudden knee-jerk change, but rather building blocks and stepping stones, that make use of existing foundations, to bridge the gap. Slow, steady, argued-over, practised, evidence-based change is more sensible, liberal and John Stuart Millish, than the baying of revolutionary hounds for carnage and apocalypse.

So what happens when the foundation stones themselves need replacing? Here is a foundation stone: what was once feudal, which remains an oligarchy of a handful, selected from a few hundred members of parliament, is unfit for purpose, to govern this land of millions. It cannot cope with the amount of work required, it is too slow and cumbersome, to effectively deal with the dozens of issues faced by each person. We need to find a way in which change is more in-built. Where individuals have more say over policies and taxes.

We need a gradual approach to change; closer perhaps to engineers or architects, than agitators and orators. A combination of intellectual and manual, where one boss is not paid hundreds of times more than his staff, for being… the right place in the right time and with a mouth to brag the myths of hard work and genius! We still need to focus on the poorest and most disadvantaged, seeking to heal social inequality and stand up to corruption and crime. A leadership that is disinterested in fame or celebrity and has a cultural and community approach to leisure. Let people be on their own, for sure. But not on their own in power. Have we moved so little distance from ancient civilisation? Are we still within the primate phase of development: digging up, gobbling the best bits for ourselves and chucking the rest away!

The model is always in flow, change is part of life, the simplest basis outside of sudden eruptions, is gradual evoluntion. Gradually we erect new scaffolding and replace old piles with new foundation stones.

We need families who take care of each other, with small organisations and small businesses which link the community with the wider world. Then the corporate and political world (necessary to generate and use the capital required for large scale works) that can build high speed rail links around the world, while being joined to their local communities and dependent on them. What this means is a structure that has the ability to take on large national and international projects and yet which is fair to its roots. So if the high speed rail link goes through my back yard, I’m not just paid market rate, but have genuine compensation that improves my lot – negotiated and agreed. So we move away from development designed to benefit the few, towards designing our way of life in a decent and fair manner.

Participation means more than being consulted or represented (and usually sold out). It means being the designers and makers of our own future.