Frequently Asked Questions

VOTE

I'm starting to see some questions cropping up repeatedly in different places, so I'll try to address those here.

 

Q: Do you really believe that we can trust the average person to vote on important political issues?

A: Yes.  Who is this average person anyway?  So far nobody has suggested to me that they shouldn't be entitled to a vote themselves, only 'the average person'.  I'm an average person, and I'd like to vote on political issues.  I can read, I can find out information about the issues I'm interested in, and I'd like to vote on them.  (And if I couldn't read, then there should be another way provided for me to find out the information I need to help me vote sensibly.)  The solution to a populace who make bad voting decisions isn't to take the vote away from people you or I don't trust - it's to educate and inform people until they are empowered to make better decisions.  And if they still don't vote the way you or I think they should when they are well informed, then maybe they're not the ones who are wrong.

It's less than a century since women weren't allowed to vote, because the average woman was considered incapable of exercising the power responsibly.  That was wrong, and I think this concern is too.

 

Q: What about raising issues that aren't related to a forthcoming Parliamentary vote?

A: There will be a section of the site for people to add issues they would like me to raise in Parliament, with 'digg-style' voting to establish priorities amongst these issues.

 

Q: Do the exceptions destroy the principle of direct democracy?

A: I don't think this is an 'all or nothing' situation.  Although my proposed platform may not be a perfect direct democracy, it is still much much closer than that offered by any other candidate in my constituency.

 

Q: Do the exceptions prove that you don't actually believe everyone should have the vote after all?

A: No.  In a real direct democracy everyone would have their own vote, and I would be happy with that.  I would only be responsible for my own vote, and my conscience would only apply to that one vote.  However, with the system that I'm proposing here, I am responsible for passing the votes through to Parliament, and this responsibility engages my conscience.  While I'm willing and able to suppress this to a large extent in the name of the direct democracy ideal, inevitably there will arise some votes on which I cannot ignore my conscience.  The list of exceptions is an attempt to be up-front and honest about those occasions when I might turn out to be a flawed component in the proposed system.

I've written some more about the exceptions here.

 

Q: What would you do if an issue came up outside of your exceptions where you felt completely unable to vote one way, but the poll said you should vote that way?  Would you vote as the poll said, or would you vote as you felt was right?

A: If such an issue arose then it would by its very nature trigger a long and full debate on my website, and I would hope to resolve the conflict of interests during that discussion - either by my constituents persuading me of their case, or me persuading them of mine, or agreeing on a compromise (abstaining from the vote, for instance).  However, if that debate was unresolvable in any other way, and I still felt unable to vote the way my constituents had told me to vote, then I would have to offer my constituents the option of my resignation - if I can't in good conscience uphold the direct digital democracy platform on which I am elected, then I can't continue as an MP.

It's worth noting that democratic reform is very important to me, I believe in it very strongly, and so I will weigh it very heavily against other issues... in general I believe that my conscience will feel that the over-riding principle of direct democracy is more important than the principle of any particular issue that arises.

 

Q: Will the site be secure?  Aren't you worried about hackers?

A: It will be as secure as is possible for a website - I'd be aiming for a similar security level to Amazon or online banking.  I'm a professional web developer who has worked on a range of e-commerce and financial industry sites, so I have a good basic understanding of online security issues.  If elected, I would hire a specialist team to security audit the site.