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Open Up Now Makes its Move

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Open Up Now was founded by a small group of thoughful, committed citizens.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead, US anthropologist (1901 – 1978)

I have been continually impressed by the recent campaign launched just this week by Open Up Now, a small group of concerned citizens asking, simply, that the UK “hold an Open Primary in every constituency before the next General Election, so that voters can directly select the MP candidates that will stand in the General Election.”

It is surely the least we deserve.

Of course the movement has a web site, a Twitter account and – most impressively – a dedicated YouTube channel with a selection of incredibly well-produced and humourous videos which aptly skewer the inanity forced upon us by the shenanigans and goings-on of our Parliament.  You can even be a fan on Facebook.

The sheer costs of today’s abuse by our so-called elected leaders is breathtaking, considering:

“£11,510,792 – total cost of second homes allowance claimed by MPs in 2007-08. Would pay for 38 Ridgeback armoured vehicles, costing £300,000 each.” (“MPs’ expenses claims and what military equipment they could have bought,” Telegraph, 25 September 2009)

“MPs who step down at the next election will still receive a £64,000 ‘resettlement grant’ when they leave. Last month Eric Pickles, the Conservative Party’s chairman, said that he expected 30 Tory MPs to stand down.” (“Nine out of 10 MPs face questions about their expenses from Sir Thomas Legg investigation”, Telegraph, 5 Sep 2009)

“More than 120 Labour MPs—a third of the parliamentary party—are preparing to quit Westminster at the next general election in the biggest clear-out of the parliamentary “old guard” for generations, according to senior party figures.” (“120 Labour MPs plan to stand down at next general election,” Guardian, 9 August 2009)

“Between April and July 2009, 264 Members have repaid a total of £642,728.75 in expenses. The average refund was £2,434 per Member.” (House of Commons Written Answers, 2 July 2009)

The group will likely be attacked from all sides for its  ‘politics’, a mirthless charge considering the individuals involved have no particular political affiliation; no vested interest in the outcome of such an primary; and no desire for any specific sectarian result.  It would be a shame were the movement to be dismissed as a ploy or stunt by any of the political parties.

The objective is free, open elections for everyone in the UK; nothing more is assumed or expected.

It is ironic the far away nations of Iraq and Afghanistan, where our soldiers toil to deliver the most basic democratic freedoms, today look altogether progressive in their pursuit of a government of choice compared to the farcical situation we face in Britain.

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