Ashpash1's bioFollowing a successful career in business, for the past 23 years I have run my own charity which is a general dermatology helpline (www.skinshipuk.org), which was set up on the back of a documentary I made for the BBC on the subject of living with skin diseases.
Just prior to this, my wife Jackie and myself, along with our Frizbee playing dog Ralphie, travelled 40,000 miles around my birth continent of Africa. We were away for two and a half years. It was a life changing journey!
We live in the beautiful 'artists town' of Kirkcudbright, which is right on the river Dee in beautiful Dumfries and Galloway.
We are fit and very active, and thoroughly enjoy life to the full!
Ashpash1's latest commentsViewDate:
5th Feb 2019Ashpash1 commented on:
Speakers Corner CommentsPOWER TO THE PEOPLE: A bare bones essay on the possibilities of a digital, meritocratic democracy, which looks at a radical new approach towards changing our entire political structure. We are living at a time when more and more people are becoming alienated, and disaffected by the whole subject of politics in general, and politicians in particular. These are a few thoughts on perhaps one solution to this sad and inherently undemocratic situation, arguing for a much more meritocratic system in its place. Our adversarial, “Yah boo!” simple majority political system, leaves most people feeling unrepresented, and entirely left out of the process. Nearly forty years ago, at the time when cable television was rolling out across America, a Professor of Politics decided to conduct a political experiment. Realizing that cable TV provided, for the first time, an opportunity for people to be ‘interactive’ with something that they had seen on their screens, he proposed a real debate, albeit on a highly localized level. People in a borough of Chicago were informed that on a certain night, there would be a debate on one of their cable channels, as to whether or not to resurface the roads, in their part of town. The work needed doing, but had been overlooked because of other priorities. They were told that local people and Councillors would put arguments for and against the proposal, at the end of which there would be an opportunity for those who were watching to vote directly on the issue, by pressing a button, from the comfort of their homes. This was a real vote and people were informed that if they voted ‘Yes’, when prompted, it would mean a certain percentage increase in their rates to cover the cost of the work. The debate unsurprisingly attracted a lot of prior interest. People who had felt disengaged from local politics, considered themselves included in the democratic process. The result was overwhelmingly in favour for the work to be carried out. To my knowledge, this experiment in local democracy was not only the first of its kind, but has remained the only time this kind of ‘Power to the People’ politics has surfaced. Perhaps now is the time for us to consider its return. It would call for a very different kind of political system. Imagine, if you would, doing away with politicians and civil servants. In their place, we could have a system of government which would be essentially run by the people. Imagine giving eligible voters and others in their families, the opportunity to watch debates on local, national and international issues, from the comfort of their homes. Once balanced arguments for and against had been presented, a consensus could be reached by people voting directly. The topics and content of these regular referendums could be decided by consensus. . Obviously, checks and balances would need to be included to make the whole process not only free and fair, but could include bio-metric identification safeguards to make sure the people who were pressing the buttons, were who they said they were. Who would present the arguments and policies, and just who would replace the politicians and civil servants, I hear you ask? The answer, it seems to me, is simple and straightforward. They would be people who had risen to the very top of their respective professions, who were well respected, greatly experienced, and who were encouraged to realise that there would be no better thing to do with all this wealth of knowledge, than to help run the country, with the very regular input of the desires of the electorate, whose views would be represented by the way they voted. For example, imagine our education system being run, not by remote politicians and civil servants who might have very little working knowledge of education, but by our very best Teachers, Head Teachers, Classroom Assistants, Parents, Senior Students and Educationalists. Our National Health Service could be run by our very best Nurses, Doctors, Hospital Managers, G.P Surgery Managers, Expert Patients and other Health Professionals. These principles could be applied to all the other main areas of the entire political process, including the management of our Defence Forces. It is, from my experience, in business and working within the charitable sector, that those at the coal face who are committed to doing not just a good job, but are pro-actively working towards improving their chosen field from within, by utilizing best practice both nationally and internationally, are almost always aware of others in the same profession who are doing the same thing. These folk tend to stand out not because they're bullying or shouting the loudest, but because they are successful in ways that are real, recognized and tangible. It's perhaps through this kind of peer to peer recognition, that the digital democratic revolution could effectively select its leaders. Also, it seems to me, if the angles of the 'power pyramid' were shallow instead of steep, as in this proposed system, the whole process of achieving effective consensus politics, no matter what the current views on this are, would be made much more straightforward. Should such a system come to fruition, I think there would be a massive improvement and change, in the way people feel about politics. They would go from feeling alienated from, and disaffected by, a current system which seems to perpetuate unfairness and inequality, to a system that they felt was fully inclusive, and truly representative.
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