One X is not enough to determine your future.

One X is not enough to determine your future.

So what next?

TL;DR: Democracy is being updated at https://represent.me — the world’s first online peer-to-peer governance platform. Get involved.

Ultimately, after the denial and amazement, this is our opportunity to make Great Britain do bold, brilliant, and inspiring things. We have no one holding us back, and no one to blame. The future is ours to create.

But to do so we need new ways to work together, to listen to each other, to discuss and debate and vote and take action. We owe it to each other to involve everyone in making sure the future is one we want, one we can believe in, and one we can work towards with pride.

So we need to evolve our political system. It is unable to listen to anything quieter than a thunderclap referendum, and so it has lost our trust. It has been unable to govern fairly, and to address the issues which most concern us. It has been led by ideology above evidence, short termism above responsibility, the Westminster bubble rather than national pride.

Politics needs to take a modern approach and be designed around people, not ideologies.

Asking people what they want is a great thing. Forcing all our hopes, passions, fears, wisdom, experience, compassion, ideas, and enthusiasm into a single X is a terrible thing. It tells us nothing and is an insult to our intelligence.

You should have had a dozen Xs on the EU Referendum ballot paper. If you’re smart enough to have an opinion on austerity, migration, economy, taxation, environment, free movement, health care, welfare and more, then your opinion should count and set our direction. And now that opinion counts more than ever, because we’re on our own. This is our future we’re creating — right here, right now.

If we get this right, we can build a Great Britain, help support a safe Europe, and a nurture a responsible and fair world. We must start from where we’re at and aim — clearly and accurately — at where we want to go.

How?

1. MORE VOTES. I know many are thinking that this is the last thing we need right now. To the contrary: if you feel your voice hasn’t been represented, you need to be sure it’s heard and heard clearly. If you feel that for the first time your voice *has* been heard, now’s the time to use it again — and again — and again. Let’s make voting easy and take it to where people are: on their phones and online.

2. CLEARER VOICE. It’s 2016. The EURef just (directly) cost £142m to ask ONE question, (and it’s not even legally binding. For a tiny fraction of that we can fund a people-centred, modern democracy. And we can ask questions which make your life better, and those which effect your local area, or are on topics you’re passionate about. And because it’s online or on mobile we can really use the data well: Asking the question “Would you like more cycle lanes near you?” tells us who wants what, where — hugely cutting costs of delivery. Would you like the NHS to remain in public hands? Would you rather have fossil fuels or wind turbines? Should fossil fuels get subsidies? And because it’s digital we can correlate this stuff so we know we’re being consistent and clear in our opinions and ambitions, and not being hypocrites, asking for the impossible, or creating unintended consequences.

3. FASTER CONVERSATIONS. It’s 2016. Life moves pretty fast, and that’s great because we’ve a lot to do. Fast conversations with rapid exchange of information lead to new ideas, new understandings, and more people changing their mind — yes, that’s right, it’s ok to change your mind if you have new information, or have reconsidered things. Let’s dive into questions and tear them apart and find out what we think, why, and test it. Let’s be the brilliant, inventive, kind people we know we can be.

4. DELEGATES: LESS IDEOLOGY, MORE FACT. When we make a decision we ask the advice of people we trust. They ask people they trust, and so on. But public debate doesn’t capture that. The topic expertise and experience is drowned out by someone with a higher media profile than the field-worker with a PhD, or your neighbour who really does know what’s best for the community. Let’s empower the people and organisations who can deliver on the ideas, too — the people who know what it takes to make a vision reality, and have the dedication and tenacity to make it real. They need your help now more than ever, and you in a modern delegative democracy you can lend them your voice.

5. RIGHT VOTE, RIGHT PLACE. Do you know who is responsible for different decisions? Is it your MP or your council or your Police Commissioner? Who needs the information to make something happen (because it might not be political at all)? The answer is that you shouldn’t really HAVE to know. Again, it’s 2016. We design things around people now. We should make it easy to have all ‘big / civic’ decisions in one place. Our ambitions will need everyone to work together: councils, politicians, organisations, businesses, clubs and groups. Together we can just make sure the information goes where it needs to have the greatest impact.

6. EXPERIMENTS, EVIDENCE, ORGANISATION. The future isn’t here yet, which means we have to create it. Which means we will need to experiment to learn what works, and what doesn’t. If we know who wants what, where, we can discover areas and topics where enough people want to try something, and can collaborate to take the next step. We can be bold and make sure great ideas aren’t drowned out.

At Represent we’ve built an open platform which does this. But we need your help. Please sign up, get involved, and spread the word. Here’s the PostBrexit (https://represent.me/topic/635/postbrexit/) tag which is trending right now.

We’ve a lot to do. Let’s get to work.

Ed Dowding

Technologist and entrepreneur, Ed specialises in social collaboration systems. His work has included building risk analysis services for the insurance industry, and from 2005 to 2010 he developed an SMS alert system which quickly grew into a full emergency management service for London local authorities and blue-lights.

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