What is Open Up, and who are we?
First, here’s what we are not. We are not partisan, we are not attacking or supporting any political party, and we don’t want to become a political party. We are not backed by a media outlet, charity or another special interest group. We are not really even a formal organization.
We are probably best described as a group of people from all kinds of backgrounds who have come together with a common motive of trying to do something to help improve a dire political environment. Lots of people have contributed ideas and views, lots have contributed services and some money where things needed to be paid for. The most powerful common link is the simple belief that we, in Britain, should be proud of our politicians and political system.
But it’s really not about individuals – Open Up is everyone’s. It’s a space for every Briton who cares about our country’s future. It’s the sum total of everyone who signs this petition.
Open Up’s goal is to promote real, positive and long-term changes to the way our country is run; to increase transparency, fairness, and accountability in elections and government; and to challenge the culture of patronage that defines our political system today.
How do I contact Open Up?
If you’d like to learn more, email [email protected], or you can call Open Up on 07891 028 359.
A group of people
Open Up is everyone who signs the petition. The Open Up concept came out of a series of conversations in the summer of 2009, and these folks then gave their time to develop the concept, films, and website that you see here.
“Like everyone the MP’s expenses scandal infuriated me. I believe that it is possible to have a better system of government in this country. This requires, to start with, ensuring that the best possible people become our elected representatives. This campaign requiring every want to be MP to go through a primary process seemed a very good place to start a program of reform by aspiring to a higher quality of individual taking on the most important of jobs.”
“The Suffragettes fought to give me my vote. And my Dad taught me to cherish it and to use it wisely. But like many people, the last few months have left me feeling jaded. So joining the Open Up collective feels like an amazing opportunity for all of us, across the political spectrum, to harness this specially-charged moment in time to make things better. To make our votes count more than ever. Which can only be good for politics – more people will vote if they feel it will make more of a difference.”
“I believe that, at a time when national and international issues are so fervent and fluid, yet trust in our representatives is so redundant, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to modernize a system that was once the gold standard. Let’s take this chance and build a better style of politics.”
“I myself have a duck house, but I had to spend my own money on it. I don’t think Politicians should be able to prioritize these sorts of expenses when the army is short of money for equipment.”
“Grassroots campaigning has never been more vibrant in the UK, but my sense is that ordinary people who take time to engage with our political system have lost faith in Parliament to represent and respond to their views. That’s why I’m really pleased to be working on the Open Up Politics campaign blog, and I’m looking forward to starting conversations on the issue across the web.”
“Letting the people of a constituency pick the people they’re going to vote for just seems like a fairer way to do it – which is what politics at its best is all about. The ducks are a bit of fun with a serious message.”
“Politics is a dirty word – how sad is that? Westminster has become a grubby club of personal ambition when it should be the heart of our public life: diverse, optimistic and open.”
“There appears to be a fundamental disconnect between the average tax payer’s expectations of the government and the government’s actions. The expectation of the taxpayer is that we employ MPs to prioritize the tax purse efficiently and in a morally just manner. The expenses scandal has exposed the fact that MP’s have been happy to reward themselves inappropriately while the country suffers from a recession and members of our armed forces are dying unnecessarily due to poor resourcing. It is hard to think of a more acute example of poor judgment.”
“We need a positive initiative that leads to real change. This is not just about expenses–right now I’m concerned that even good politicians can’t win. We need some real reforms. Who wouldn’t support a non-partisan effort to get better people into politics? The question is, will it happen now or will we have to wait for things to get worse? I support now.”
“I think politics should be more accessible and transparent. Because we live with a system of representation, I want to have more ties with the person who represents me.”
“Like everyone else in the country the expenses scandal made me angry, but it also seemed (to me at least) to be a symptom of some fairly deep rooted problems in the way our political system and government operates. But I, like most, felt powerless to actually do anything about these problems. Funnily enough, it was a chance to get rid of this feeling of powerlessness that made me excited to be part of Open Up. A chance to do something truly positive – demand a change in a system that I still believe in, and try and make it fairer and more accountable for everyone.”
“Open Up grew from the thoughts of a wide range of people with one aim in mind: to try and deliver real power to real people – to open up the prospect of being an MP to the British people in a way they have never seen.”
Also supporting the campaign:
“Having participated in politics on both sides of the pond, it strikes me that there are strengths and weaknesses to every system. The expenses scandal provides U.K. politicos with a golden opportunity to shake things up so that even more talent and transparency can find a home in politics and governance. What’s not to like?”
Peter Bennett Jones
“Only by opening up politics will more people get engaged with the political process – as candidates, as voters, as campaigners, and as interested citizens. This dose of reform is now vital to restore trust and involvement in the game.”
Professor Vernon Bogdanor
“The attempt to make our constitutional and political forms congruent with ideological forces, without public philosophy, is in my view one of the fundamental problems of our time. The future, of course, remains to be written, and no one can foretell how it will be written.
What is certain, however, is that in a democracy it will be written not only by the politicians but by the people. In a democracy, the people are not only characters in the drama but also authors of that drama; it falls to them, therefore, to write the next scene in the play. What this means is that our constitutional future has yet to be written and that it is the people who will write it.”
“For me, Open Up is a chance to do something positive to improve the quality of our political system. I’d like to try and improve the standard of political debate. To do this we need to encourage the best and most talented individuals to become MP’s. Open primaries will help do this, but allowing anyone to seek pre-selection and give all voters a say in who their candidates are.”
“We live in an age where openness and transparency – catalyzed by the power of the internet – are rightfully demanded of businesses, public service and political institutions. As Parliament becomes more exposed to the sunlight of outside scrutiny it seems that elected representatives have failed to live up to the high standards expected of them. To rectify this we need to start from the grassroots up. We need greater openness, starting at the heart of the democratic process. We need parliamentary reform that allows anyone to stand on a level playing field and for the public to have an open choice of candidate. Where better to drive the call for these changes than in the world’s biggest public forum: the internet”
“As Britain approaches one of the most significant elections since the Second World War there is a real risk that the public’s disaffection with politics, in general, will lead to a disappointingly low turn-out at the polls. I think Open Up represents a chance to avoid that sad state of affairs”
“I have always been passionate about democracy and politics, and Open Up is a bridge building exercise reconnecting the British public with our political representatives. What better for a fresh start than an opportunity to state what you stand for and why you are standing whilst answering directly to the vote of the people? The call in this country has clearly been for a fresh look at how politicians communicate and answer to the general public, I’m delighted to be a part of a movement that acknowledges and answers this call.”
“We’ve been let down by the system and it’s left us numb.
So it’s time to shake things up, to help steer the guys at the wheel and the way it’s driven. What we’re starting here isn’t the be all and end all, but it’s a great opportunity to start.
Let’s do it.”
How is Open Up paid for?
How is Open Up paid for?
All costs to-date have been underwritten by the people listed here. If you’d like to make a donation to ensure as many people as possible hear about Open Up, email us at [email protected].