The dialogue and relationship between our nation's citizens and its leaders has broken down; with the vaccum filled by enelected groups such as wealthy elites, global corporations and civil servants.
History has shown consistently that when political leadership is increasingly dominated by a self-serving elite, society ineluctably gives way to chaos.
The only way to prevent this is to revive a Culture of Encounter between the electorate and the elected. Once again, the public must be listened to and understood.
Fortunately, now is the perfect time for action, given levels of voter anger and apathy, combined with the todays' opportunities from AI and digital engagement. Here's how to do it.
At the heart of the collapse in the relationship between Britain’s leaders and her people is the erosion of encounter between those elected and the electorate.
Overwhelmingly, voters feel neglected and ignored, fomenting a sense of resentment and anger. If left unchecked the inevitable result will be divisiveness, extremism and social collapse.
The only way to reverse this existential crisis is to foster a culture of encounter between British citizens and the leaders and institutions of government.
Doing so is in the interests of the elite – i.e. the political leaders and especially the rich. A culture of encounter can dial back hostility and mistrust in favour of social esteem and respect. Nations with strong cultures of encounter – such as Switzerland - prove that politicians and the wealthy can be admired by society.
Fostering a culture of encounter requires comprehensive reform of party and government structures with the aim of giving the public a greater and more consistent voice.
Fortunately, AI and Digital Engagement offer myriad proven opportunities to revolutionise public engagement quickly and comprehensively. These include proven techniques like the Net Promoter Score, CRM software and review apps like SurveyMonkey and Tripadvisor. Moreover, digital engagement can pioneer a new model for public sector governance by the public – with services assessed by the very people who consume and fund them.
Digital tools, such as ratings and up-voted comments, are particularly valuable because they mimic voter emotions and reactions at the ballot box: including snap judgements and personal views that voters may be unwilling or unable to express publicly.
Public access to senior politicians is an area that requires particular attention. The current system enables public representatives to be captured by vested interest groups, leaving them cut off from the realities and opinions of voters. This is classic gaslighting. Senior politicians need to take control of their schedules and communications to ensure the majority of their time is with voters, and not corporations, civil servants, NGOs or other elite groups.
Given the urgency and importance of public encounter, a Minister for Encounter should be appointed to address these wide-ranging issues. This would certainly be a highly popular post.
The Prize Here is Enormous:
· Rescuing democracy, civilisation and our institutions.
· Bringing true equality, diversity and inclusivity to British democracy - not just tokenism or divisive identity politics.
· Recovering the social standing and motivation for politicians.
· Creating a culture where the wealthy can thrive and be respected, rather than being viewed as corrupt conspirators.
· At a time of unprecedented voter apathy, any party that can engage their voters and grass-roots is likely to enjoy a disproportionately high turnout at the ballot box, strong party funding and energetic local campaigning. Even more than popularity, elections can be one on engagement.
· Furthermore, strong, real-time encounter can avoid the huge political own-goals and embarrassing U-turns of the past two decades. The tragically botched Covid response is the epitome of a political leadership that was out of touch. Never ever should those in charge have been so unaware of the catastrophic harm they were inflicting on the country’s most vulnerable.