The Basic Idea...
Who are we?
This website was originally started in 2004 by John and Lorraine Andrews. Lorraine was a civil servant for over thirty years, and John also worked for the Employment Service for fourteen years; so between them they know a thing or two about government.
Background of Free Democracy
John resigned his comfy civil service job on the day Blair forced a generally unwilling Britain to join the Americans' illegal adventure in Iraq. Blair's outrageous action in the Middle East was the straw that broke the camel's back and, with the complete support of Lorraine, John left his job in protest. He had started developing the principles of Free Democracy in the 1980s, having realised that our political problems were due to our system of government rather than most of the politicians we're led to believe are in charge, and whose main purpose is to perpetuate that deception. Blair had lit the fuse: the time had come to try to DO something.
The Organisation of Free Democrats was initially registered as a political party on 19th May 2003, but we were never really comfortable with the idea of being a "political party". So on 26th January 2008 we decided to no longer call ourselves a political party and duly dissociated ourselves from the Electoral Commission. This was for a number of reasons. One was that we had to pay to be in the club, but got back absolutely nothing in return for our money. Secondly, and more importantly, Free Democracy is basically opposed to party politics in principle. So long as people believe in and practice the core principle of Free Democracy, anyone can compete in elections as an Independent without having to be a member of anything and submit to some form of centralised control. Being a Free Democrat is a bit like being a Christian or a Buddhist - you don't HAVE to join a church or a temple to subscribe to the ideals; you simply believe in the ideals or you don't.
So there's no need to join anything or buy anything; if you happen to share the same basic political ideal as us (that the citizen, PROPERLY INFORMED, should be able, IF SHE CHOOSES, to make all the political decisions of her government), then you too are a Free Democrat.
The next thing to understand about Free Democracy is that it doesn't just whine about things, it proposes a completely different system of government to any that Britain has ever seen. Described in detail in our People's Constitution (based largely on the Swiss Constitution and the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights), it proposes a mechanism by which the citizen could assume his rightful place in his country's affairs: decision-maker.
Our model is not intended to be some timeless icon of perfection. It is simply a starting point; a tool that would provide the citizen with real decision-making authority, and the means to go on to shape his government exactly the way he chooses.
Consequently, it's important to realise that because the system is so very different, all its component parts (i.e. MPs, councillors etc.) are also completely different to anything from our normal experience, with very different roles and functions.
(To read the People's Constitution in full click HERE)
We cannot introduce the People's Constitution (and therefore change our broken system of government) until enough Free Democrats are elected to parliament; but just one Free Democrat, elected to any public office, CAN introduce significant reform: we could implement the First Phase of our Transition Model.
Although much cruder than steady-state Free Democracy, the First Phase of our Transition Model nevertheless provides the voter with more direct control of her councillor than she has ever had. This can be done by simply providing a couple of tools that have never been available to her before: direct control of her councillor's vote; and recall.
Consider how your local council works.
Council decisions are taken during regular meetings when councillors vote one way or another. They're like a mini-parliament in a number of ways, one of which is that in councils dominated by a particular political party, party "whips" ensure that councillors obey the instructions of party leaders and vote as those leaders tell them to. Sometimes this might require the councillor to vote against the wishes of their own constituents - if those wishes were actually known which, because they're seldom asked for, they're not.
Free Democrat councillors are very different. In the First Phase of the Transition Model (before The People's Constitution can be properly enacted), the first duty of the Free Democrat councillor is to use their vote in council meetings AS THEIR CONSTITUENTS WISH - even if the councillor personally disagrees with that wish (if the councillor disagreed too strongly they would have to resign rather than vote against their constituents' wishes).
This means that the Free Democrat councillor is always accessible to any constituent who wants to express a view as to how the councillor should vote in any upcoming council debate. In addition to that
the councillor might use short surveys of random samples of their constituents prior to every council meeting to obtain their constituents' wishes. The councillor will then use their vote at council meetings according to the majority view.
The People's Constitution also provides a recall procedure - where constituents may deselect their councillor - and this process could be used if just one Free Democrat is holding public office.
A recall petition is a written statement of not more than 250 words outlining why the councillor should resign. If the petition is supported by 34% of a random sample of their constituents the councillor must resign. The councillor may stand again in the subsequent by-election, but must answer the recall petition with a written statement of not more than 250 words.
These are small but very significant changes to our so-called democracy that just one Free Democrat elected to any public office could introduce.
Full Transition arrangements can only begin once the People's Constitution is passed by parliament. These details are discussed here: Transition
Although Free Democracy proposes a radically different model of government, it is also an exceedingly simple model, based on simple truths, and simple values that have been in existence for many thousands of years all over the world, and will continue to exist for as long as human beings live together. THE PEOPLE, PROPERLY INFORMED, SHOULD MAKE THE DECISIONS OF THEIR GOVERNMENT, ANYTIME THEY WISH.
The Organisation of Free Democrats has no other mandate; because we stand for providing an administration system where a PROPERLY INFORMED electorate make all the decisions and choices that shape our lives, there would be no point in us having 'policies'. We exist to introduce the People's Constitution to Britain which, once in place, would provide for the citizen to make any changes to her government as and when she wants to.
What YOU can do
If you would like to express your support for Free Democracy the simplest thing you can do is this:
NEVER VOTE FOR ANYONE WHO BELONGS TO ANY OF OUR EXISTING POLITICAL PARTIES
Political parties, ALL political parties, are the cancer of democracy. If you cannot vote for a Free Democrat, vote for whoever your Independent candidate is. If you cannot vote for either, don't bother voting at all. The power of political parties over government decision making must be broken.
If you feel like doing a little more, READ. As Dr Richard Price famously said:
"Our first concern, as lovers of our country, must be to enlighten it."
Enlightenment comes with reading the right books and watching the right films and listening to the right music. Our School of Kindness was created for this purpose. Use it freely HERE
If you really feel like doing even more, and have loads of spare cash, do donate whatever you can afford; but don't expect anything in return - like a knighthood, juicy government contract, new law... or any of the other usual kickbacks - you would have to do it for the the same reason we do it - BECAUSE IT'S RIGHT!
The Organisation of Free Democrats is wholly dedicated to providing a system of government where decisions are made by the people who pay for it – voters, workers and taxpayers.
A very comprehensive recommended reading list is included in our School of Kindness section: School of Kindness
Most of John's Political essays may be found here:Comment.
John's book on The People's Constitution (2013 edition) is available directly from the publishers: People's Constitution
An older (2010 edition) but far more detailed account of the issues behind Free Democracy and the People's Constitution is also available from the publishers here: Peace Talk
If you're looking for a lighter, but still educational read, you might like to try "The Road to Emily Bay" Emily Bay. This is an historical novel based on the events around the nineteenth century Chartist rising in England which came very close to repeating the example of the French Revolution.