I’ve had a bit of contact with Birgitta Jónsdóttir. Would like more. She’s an advocate for open government. And I agree with her view that it is essential to make” the process of lawmaking more transparent and accessible for everyone who cares to know or contribute”.
Birgitta is an advocate for more direct democracy and some of her views are quite radical. I think they’re worth thinking about and discussing. I think the way we practice politics needs to change. I’ve never made a secret of that. It’s threatening to politicians and the parliamentary structures. But while there’s a lot of good in our existing structures, and most MPs work damn hard and are committed to what they do, there’s also a lot of bullshit that goes on.
People know that. I agree that MPs need more direct accountability. The review of MMP will no doubt throw up a few ideas. Constitutional change is inevitable in New Zealand. It’s a matter of when.
Having a real debate about how we could improve our democracy for New Zealand’s sake is surely a good thing.
Here’s a start. Birgitta wrote this piece in The Guardian in November 2011
The Dutch minister of internal affairs said at a speech during free press day this year: “Law-making is like a sausage, no one really wants to know what is put in it.” He was referring to how expensive the Freedom of Information Act is, and was suggesting that journalists shouldn’t really be asking for so much governmental information. His words exposed one of the core problems in our democracies: too many people don’t care what goes into the sausage, not even the so-called law-makers, the parliamentarians.
If the 99% want to reclaim our power, our societies, we have to start somewhere. An important first step is to sever the ties between the corporations and the state by making the process of lawmaking more transparent and accessible for everyone who cares to know or contribute. We have to know what is in that law sausage; the monopoly of the corporate lobbyist has to end – especially when it comes to laws regulating banking and the internet.
The Icelandic nation only consists 311,000 souls, so we have a relatively small bureaucratic body and can move quicker then in most countries. Many have seen Iceland as the ideal country for experimentation for new solutions in an era of transformation. I agree.
Iceland’s experience is fairly extreme. But their response to crisis has some lessons for us all.
I like the analogy of the sausage. Especially given it’s summer and we’re all eating a few no doubt