Reform to Direct Democracy - the complete architecture
Should the UK people choose to invoke UNDHR Article 21 and Article 61 of the Magna Carter [which the UK is signed-up to]. so as to take immediate legitimate control of all policy decision-making by forming an Electoral Commission and UN-sanctioned direct democracy with majority election and without revolution or, should the People's Administration win the next UK general election, a new public voter website will be uploaded immediately. On the new voter website, all policies from all parties would be listed under their relevant searchable category such as Health, Environmental, Education, Financial, Foreign Policy etc and the arguments for and against any policy implementation will be provided on-line by its author and members from all of the current parties. People will be able to rate, comment and vote on policies and, people will also be able to submit their own policy ideas for a potential national vote at any time after setting-up their voter account.
The website will be fully compliant with regards to web accessibility protocols and, with regards to the UK Disability Discrimination Act 1995. We will ourselves set an even higher precedent by making the site fully audio-enabled to assist those with visual disabilities and to offer further convenience to all.
The use of links published in comments and/or policy sections that target external websites controlled by a user is acceptable provided that these sites are not co-ordinated hate campaigns, do not incite violence or incite violating democratically-established laws and are not commercial advertising campaigns. Any links must target only pages on external sites that contain information that relates specifically and only to the comment or policy published on the voter website by a user. We would also encourage the publishing of links on external sites that target any policies or comments published on the voter website, so as to enable users to further generate publicity for their policies or comments.
It goes without saying that the more important an author believes a policy to be, the more effort that author will invest into marketing that policy proposal.
The most important policies [as rated by voters] will be submitted to the national vote for a limited time period and at the close of the voting period for each policy, the result would be implemented into law by the new parliamentary administration on behalf of the majority.
Voters will be able to search the website by keyword for policies within any selected category and the results will appear ranked by a voter-rating system in order of importance. Anyone will be able to browse through policies and opinions submitted by all of the current parties as well as those submitted by voters themselves. Policies uploaded by telephone-only voters as audio recordings will be automatically converted and published in mp3 format in their respective categories.
Telephone-only voters will have access to an automated menu-driven service that will use a push-button only command facility. At this stage, the People's Administration will not use speech recognition software as we feel that this technology is currently to tempramental. For example; it can't consider natural variations in a users voice caused by illness or caused by a poor signal.
Telephone voters will be able to upload their own policies for potential vote to the website by using the incorporated voice recording facility. Recorded policies can be reviewed immediately by phone prior to submission to the website. After submission, the recording will be automatically converted and published on the website in mp3 format. Telephone voters will also be able to listen to all policies by phone, as we will be employing server-side text-to-speech software to translate policies uploaded in text format.
Policies will be rated by voters so as to raise their status and ranking in search results within their category and to give them more exposure. Policies that are not considered by the people to be important will be rated and ranked lower and will 'drop-off' if ranked at the bottom for a certain time. Policies that are considered the most important will climb and be listed closer to the top and the top policies will then be submitted to the national vote.
Even after placing a vote on a particular policy, voters will have the option of changing their mind right up until the close of the voting period for any particular policy. For security reasons, it will not be possible for voters to see a national daily tally of votes for each policy during its voting period. This is because this aspect of the website could potentially be open to attack and therefore manipulation, as the technology to run it would have to be hosted on the Internet itself.
The People's Administration also believes that publishing the current voter status of any policy could corrupt the opinion of future voters by inadvertently creating a bias or, by creating the perception of a voting pattern that may not be truly reflective.
For any policy to be implemented by the People's Administration, it must secure a majority with a margin of a certain percentage of the total votes regardless of the turnout. This margin could be comparable to that which is currently acceptable to secure a win in a general election or to secure a vote within the House of Commons and/or the House of Lords.
Should a margin not be wide enough to favour the majority vote, the policy will be re-launched until it either secures the required margin during a re-vote, or slips out of the policy ranks all together.
Individual voters from within any household will be able to set up and register a 'Voter Account' free of charge. The process will be simpler and more secure than that involved in setting up a Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube or any web-based email account and, will involve submitting far less information.
Telephone-only voters will be able to set up their account purely over the phone. Once the account is active, telephone voters will be able to access their accounts from anywhere in the UK at any time from either a landline telephone or a mobile device as well as via the web.
Each eligible voter will be sent a unique voter registration ID number by post [just like how voting cards are currently sent during elections which also include your voter registration number]. In our opinion, for this purpose, traditional post is currently more secure than email and it is important that each voter is the only person able to see their own voter registration ID number linked to their name and address. Each voter must then submit this ID number by telephone or on-line just once, during the voter account set-up process, along with a user-created name and pass word. This is exactly the same process that the government now uses for the Income Tax Self Assessment facility.
Returning registrations will be compared against the already-existing database that holds the details of the country's eligible voters and ID numbers. The voter accounts will then be activated and, each voter account would enable only one vote per policy. For security reasons, National Insurance numbers will not be used as there are currently over 18 million duplicate National Insurance numbers in circulation and as far as we know, they are not linked to the current database of voter registration numbers.
Using this system substantially increases security as the People's Administration and any databases behind the public voter website will not need to know and record any names, addresses, phone numbers, National Insurance numbers, age or any identifiable information at all during the account set-up process.
In the event of a potential on-line intrusion, the only data available to steal would be a list of user names and pass words that link to nothing and no one.
Currently, local council on-line customer accounts hold ALL personal information and, are openly accessible to foreign regimes with David Cameron's permission and - all without monitoring.
An internal message system linked to each account will enable two-way communication between voters and the public voter website administrators and the People's Administration meaning that the system will not even require email addresses - unlike most public network sites.
Voter anonymity and security will be maintained, as there would be no need for the administration to keep records of individual voter histories, unless a voter chooses to retain a record. If voters choose this option, then obviously their votes will be recorded but will only be disclosed to them through their on-line voting account.
Voters will also be able to select various options so as to receive alerts regarding specific policy activity.
Sub-systems will be duplicated and hosted on-line by every local government and council office across the country so as to address local policies that only affect the people who live within a certain area.
If Parliament already considers the Internet to be technically and politically safe enough to use for our cash transactions, security services, defensive networks, mass petition-signing and for the NHS personal medical records database [which has now been hacked], we believe that it is therefore safe enough for direct democracy.
If Parliament considers the Internet to be safe enough for councils to be able to offer on-line account services, it is therefore safe enough for direct democracy.
If Parliament considers the Internet to be safe enough for creating a paperless NHS, it is therefore safe enough for direct democracy.
With regards to enhancing security, we do not believe that it will ever be possible to guarantee 100% protection from intrusion with any on-line system due to the nature of network technology. So, only the front-end [interface] aspects of the voter accounts will be hosted on-line. The back-end aspects that tally and record votes for potential policy implementation will not be connected to the Internet or any network, meaning that the part of the system that influences the administration will actually be 100% intrusion-proof, as vote information will be transferred manually from the front-end to the back-end on a daily basis.
To summarise; The system will be Stand-alone as opposed to networked.
The site will be built using the most simple technology and will be minimalists in it's use of internal program language architecture making it robust and easy to maintain with less components being potentially exposed to on-line attack.
Building the site in-house under the project management of the People's Administration will also increase security whilst minimising costs and, total build costs could be as little as £10,000 - £20,000 with similar costs for server and firewall security technology and additional fees to cover the costs of enough bandwidth to run at user-capacity. In the event of an on-line attack by 'burning' [co-ordinated campaigns involving multiple terminals over-requesting the site], additional bandwidth will be brought on-line so as to exceed the capacity and allow the site to continue to run.
The front-end of the public voter website will use a mirror [duplicate] server set-up so that in the event of a potential on-line attack that can't be defended, the compromised server can be de-activated and traffic automatically re-routed to one of its unaffected mirrors.
Allowing UK voters to access the site from abroad by telephone or via the web also brings additional security risks and so at this stage, access to any aspect of the site will only be given to UK-based voters whilst access by anyone from outside the UK will be screened and blocked. This measure will substantially reduce the threat from any potential foreign-based attack.
Independent opinion polls will be commissioned so as to gauge voter opinion off-line. This will act as a 'checksum' and should there be any substantial difference between the off-line and on-line ratio of votes, this could indicate the occurrence of a potential security breach and so would warrant investigation before any voted policy is implemented in law by Parliament.
The mechanics of our reform of Parliament and of parliamentary procedure could be almost seamless with minimal costs and disruption. As all current ministries would still exist there would be no need to reform Whitehall or its role. There would be no physical structural changes to Parliament and there is no need to erect new buildings as any buildings or rooms within Parliament that are currently used will still be in use even if that use changes.
All politicians and ministers will become 'Administrators' because our reform to direct democracy involves changes in the roles of politicians, ministers and of lords by removing their policy-implementing abilities and transferring this to the people. Every other aspect of the roles of all politicians and ministers will still be as they are now with the exception of the lords, who will cease to exist in any parliamentary capacity.
As national budgetary policy will be determined by the people, wages and expenses of all administrators, secretaries, ministers and their assistants will also be determined by the people, as this expenditure is funded by the tax payer under Parliamentary Expenditure.
The roles of ministers and heads of ministries will remain but they will not be selected by a Prime Minister from within a self-selected cabinet. Instead, we propose that all elected politicians from any party be able to apply to fulfil ministerial posts as well as individuals themselves. Their applications will be judged and either accepted or denied by the people, so the people will choose who run Whitehall ministries. This also means that the quality of leadership of ministries will increase as ministries will be ran by people who have shown firstly, that they actually want to run a particular ministry and secondly, that they are actually qualified to run it.
Under the People's Administration and direct democracy, the role of 'Prime Minister' would evolve into that of 'Chief Administrator' and would entail the duties relevant to managing the new administration including implementing the new Inet voting system. The power to implement policy would not be available within the Chief Administrator's role or the role of any politician, minister or secretary. The Chief Administrator, Ministers, Secretaries and Political Administrators from all current parties would represent their constituents and represent the country abroad but would carry the voice and heart of a truly democratic nation - not just that of themselves or their party.
For example, finance ministers from all UK parties would be able to enter negotiations with foreign finance ministers on behalf of the administration. Finance ministers from all UK parties who agree with the country's majority view on any particular financial issue would represent this view whilst ministers that disagree with the country's majority view on any particular issue shall abstain from negotiations.
However, consultancy from opposing ministers would be vital, as it would represent the opposite of majority public opinion and will therefore have a stabilising influence, or no influence regarding policy formations.
The People's Administration proposes that all current ministers and politicians firstly work with their own party so as to be able to form policies. Ministers will then work together cross-party in an attempt to form a united parliamentary proposal and the different plans will be put to the people for decisions upon implementation.
Each policy will be published on-line and reasoned by it's author/authors and criticised by those who oppose, whether from within a political party or a member of the voting public.
Future general elections will still happen as they do now but on-line, giving the people the opportunity to vote for any party or reform. If a national majority is returned that favours a party other than the People's Administration, then the People's Administration voter website will be deactivated and the administration dissolved so as to accommodate the return of a government structure under the newly elected party.
Future general elections being held on-line will offer more financial efficiency and less discrimination [especially with regards to the disabled] in the democratic process and, will cause far less practical disruption than they do now.
Should the people choose to keep the People's Administration but to change its membership or leadership, then the people can vote for this by proposing it as a policy to the people for a potential national vote at any time.
We propose that after initially electing the People's Administration's first Chief Administrator, that each elected Chief Administrator be able to serve at least one year in office before the nomination of other candidates can be put to the public vote.
Only a Western reform to direct democracy now, will save the economy, the environment, and the world and, it is only Western media agencies that are preventing you from knowing that you can make it happen legitimately, immediately, with majority election and without revolution.
Voting for direct democracy outside a general election
It is up to us, the people [not the politicians] to use the power that we have always had, to choose to implement direct democracy as soon as possible.
This is not a protest campaign.
Following the People's Administration Direct Democracy Party [a mainstream registered party since March 2010] on Twitter, gives us your permission [when a majority] to invoke existing laws under UN Articles 21 and 61 [which the UK is signed-up to], so as to take immediate control of all policy decision-making by forming a legitimate UN-sanctioned direct democracy with majority election and without revolution, in the UK.
The People's Administration's constitution for reform to direct democracy and our voting protocols have both been accepted by the UK Electoral Commission and the UN as legitimate. In a general election, the People's Administration does not have to field candidates to secure your vote on the ballot paper. Outside a general election, you can vote for a legitimate reform to direct democracy now!
The PA architecture for reform to direct democracy is documented and archived by the British Library.