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Fed Up and Want to a Better Politics? Read this Post:

The truth matters. A functioning democracy requires that the people in governance are honest with the electorate. Our elective representatives make vital decisions on our behalf, some of which are literally a matter of life and death. Our government decides on appropriate action to take during a pandemic, how our NHS and social services should function, how to tackle climate change and sometimes whether or not it is appropriate to go to war.

Vote for Honesty and Get Democracy Done: Four Simple Steps to Change Politics is part of the solution to the current problem of dishonest behaviour by some UK politicians.

The key idea suggests crafting a Vote for Honesty Campaign which has cross-party support. It'll be in place for the next general election. Vote for Honesty suggests legal safeguards to ensure a positive cultural shift to improve political honesty. People used to drink drive, and smoking was common in public places. Neither of these behaviours is now acceptable. A campaign successfully shifted people's acceptance of those behaviours. The Vote for Honesty Campaign will do the same. Positive change is possible.

The book suggests a minimum contractual penalty of one year’s annual salary for an MP in the event of a candidate signing up to the Vote for Honesty Contract and subsequently not voting for it. Some voters will need to abandon the candidate they would normally prefer if that candidate refuses to sign the Vote for Honesty Contract. Instead the voter will ‘Lend their Vote’ for a candidate who has signed it.

The project will convince the many honest politicians to collaborate and agree cross-party to a few key new laws, which will form the ‘Honesty Bill’. Each participating candidate will sign the Vote for Honesty contract, a legal document. This is a signed document which states that, if the candidate becomes an MP, they will vote for the Honesty Bill.

It’s the first step that we have to make. Steps two to four describe the process required to enable the Vote for Honesty contract to function properly.

Chapter Four, ‘The Cost of Political Dishonesty’, discusses why honesty in politics matters. It is a sobering read. We all thrive financially when our politics is open and transparent, honest and accountable. And it’s not just our pocketbooks that get hurt. The COVID pandemic was a stark example of the cost in human lives and good health when PPE kit contracts were distributed through secretive channels to inexperienced providers on the basis of their party donations.

We were gifted with a democracy. We should hand that gift on in the same if not better condition than we received it. To do that, we need to address the dishonesty in our democracy’s functionings, and resolve it in a pragmatic way. This book does both. Public pressure, combined with an effective Vote for Honesty Campaign agreed cross-party, can improve honesty in politics.

Dr Charlotte Clare, Consultant in Palliative Medicine

“A must read for anyone who cares about honesty in politics.”

Gareth Morton, Discovery Manager Ecosurety

"Alongside climate change, this book addresses one of the biggest challenges of our times."

David Ellicott, Senior Lecturer, Re’t

“This book demands to be read. It offers practical steps to restore trust in politics as well as summarising relevant proposals by honest politicians who want to be taken seriously and engage with their electorate.”

Mark Jenkinson, Lawyer

“This book provides a road map to a better way forward. Inspired in part by the democratic debacle that was the handling on the Brexit vote. It is even more timely now after continued political dysfunction and upheaval.”

Mark Weinstein, Senior Lecturer, Re’t

“The integrity of key political institutions is now at a historical low in the UK. Given this I welcome this important contribution to the debate on restoring trust between politicians and the citizens who they are elected to serve."

Dr Denis MacShane, former Minister for Europe and Labour MP for Rotherham 1994-2012

“The search for absolute truth and absolute honesty in politics is a noble quest. All of us in one way or another are sinners in the eyes of someone whether in heaven or on earth. But this does not mean honesty should not be at the heart of politics and this elegant essay puts the case well. Although for honesty to be become central to politics it needs to start with voters being honest in the demands and expectations they place on politicians."

160 pages

ISBN paper: 978-1-910461-64-8 £11.99 ISBN ebook: 978-1-910461-65-5 £3.99

Ann Whitehead originally studied law and later environmental management, working for over a decade in the industry. During this time she wrote many reports on guidance and training materials. This is where the idea that relying on ‘best practice’ to ensure appropriate behaviour in politics was fostered. Legal compliance is necessary for political honesty to improve. Legal compliance is integral to many if not most professions, whether they are traditional trades like being an electrician or driver, or a university-trained profession like being a doctor, lawyer or accountant. The Vote for Honesty Campaign does not ask more from its politicians than it does from everyone else. It asks that our politicians meet the same standards of integrity and accountability that every other profession has.

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