A better referendum campaign - will you commit?
Hello! My name is Sandra Khadhouri, passionate supporter of London4Europe and former journalist and conflict worker. I left my career working in places like Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan to help resolve the conflict at home. Though obviously less violent, this battle has, in its own way, been just as tough - because it’s personal.
We now need your help. As the People’s Vote gained traction in the past year thanks to your campaigning efforts, it has lacked a framework around it. I felt it needed more flesh on the bones to persuade sceptical voters to support it. They need convincing that another referendum will be better, more positive and less divisive than the last. They also need to believe it will help lead to some kind of acceptance, if not closure!
I wrote this Referendum Campaign Pledge, with input from London4Europe’s Nick Hopkinson and Michael Romberg, to outline our collective commitment to making any referendum better. So we wondered how citizens feel? Would it be something you can sign up to? Does it have too much detail, not enough, or about right? Could you endorse the content? Who should issue it? How should we distribute it? Could it go viral? And most importantly, would it help?
Anyway, it would be great to get your feedback. We shall only win this thing and restore our national well being if we learn to be more understanding and inclusive. So please send any comments to Sandra Khadouri at [email protected]
Referendum Campaign Pledge
Basis for a New Referendum
1. Since the EU Referendum in 2016, it is clear that no single plan has been developed that has sufficient support from Government, Parliament and the population.
2. We believe a free and fair public Vote on the UK’s future relationship with the EU will bring clarity to voters’ wishes and provide an acceptable basis for moving forward and taking steps towards national unity.
3. We believe that alongside Brexit option(s), this Vote should include the option to Remain, as this enjoys considerable support among the population. Details on the terms, question and franchise will be determined by Parliament, based on advice from the Electoral Commission and others.
4. We call for all parts of UK society and across the political spectrum to support this Vote as an essential act of democracy, in order to gain the informed consent of the British people, now that more information is available.
5. We pledge to accept the result of the Vote for the sake of UK stability and unity.
Quality of Campaign
6. We commit to a respectful and peaceful campaign that facilitates the airing of views from all perspectives and regions, and urge similar commitments from government, campaigning organisations, advocacy groups and the media.
7. We call for due consideration to be given to recommendations issued after the 2016 Referendum, in order to ensure a level playing field and better preparations, processes and conditions for a fair informed vote.
8. We particularly urge measures to ensure the factual consequences of each outcome are assessed by independent bodies and communicated accurately to the public. We call on the media to act robustly to verify claims from all sides, and to refrain from inflammatory personal attacks that increase tensions and demean public discourse.
9. We urge more transparency and regulation in the use of social media including advertising, the management of campaign finance and use of public resources.
10. We urge more deliberative processes such as citizens assemblies, national consultations and public debates to be integrated into the campaign, in order to ensure participation of all sectors of the public in constructive dialogue.
Post Referendum Phase
11. In the longer term, we urge political parties and civil society to shape forward-looking, open and inclusive national visions that respond to future challenges in technology, environment, economy, migration and security.
12. We urge the development of domestic policies to address inequalities across our regions in order to improve living standards, regional infrastructure and public services, and ensure the benefits and opportunities created by globalisation are spread to all communities. These policy platforms should be offered to the electorate through General Elections after the Vote.
13. We call for a Constitutional Review or Convention to examine the distribution of powers among national, regional and local levels of government and the UK’s constituent parts, with a view to potentially rebalancing governance structures, empowering communities, adapting our electoral system and enhancing democratic representation.
14. We call for measures to strengthen civic participation in political life through regular public consultation and the innovative use of technology. We also urge better citizenship education in schools including the role of parliamentary democracy, EU and rules-based international system. Media literacy, critical thinking and other tools to manage the digital world should also be offered.
15. We call for higher standards in public life with enforceable standards of accountability and a renewed commitment by politicians and institutions to honesty, transparency and the prioritisation of the public interest.
16. We endorse the UK’s role as a cooperative regional and international partner working for our national interest, the common good and the strengthening of shared values and multilateral systems.
Articles on this page reflect the views of the author and not necessarily of London4Europe.