"Sort It": An Intriguing Idea By the Tories!
by bluenc, Wed Jan 10, 2007 at 09:27:15 PM EST
I have something of a casual interest in British politics, which I indulge when I've become saturated with the U.S. variety. I've become very interested in David Cameron, the current leader of the Conservative Party and PM hopeful. Cameron is a super-slick, Conservative answer to Tony Blair, and he's battling to rehabilitate the Tories' image. Whether or not he succeeds, I don't know, and I'd definitely like to see Gordon Brown whip him in the elections. But his desire for transformation has produced some interesting political ideas that Democrats could call upon. My favorite? Sort It.
Sort It is the Conservatives' effort to demonstrate that they really do care about the average Brit, and want to make life better. Probably a bunch of shit, but the way they execute it is quite fascinating. Go to www.sort-it.co.uk - explore for a while, then come back to me.
Had a look? You can probably see why I'm so interested in this. The Tories are going against the grain of what people expect from political parties. They plan to use the site to discuss issues and (here's the cool part) suggest ways that people can really make a difference. So, when they talk about debt or the cost of living, they're not just listing policy proposals or talking points, they're also giving people tools and advice. It's the kind of thing people typically get from magazines, newspapers, or organizations they trust.
Why should Democrats think about trying something similar? You can imagine the upside. First of all, it gives us a way to tackle the issues, even when we can't really get the politics moving. Something about fuel economy can have an impact right now, even if we can't pass sweeping energy legislation. Or something about nutrition and school lunches can make a huge difference in the health care situation in the U.S. In short, it's a way for interested people to address important issues on a smaller scale.
Another benefit of this approach is that it could increase the party's credibility with the American people. They could begin to see Democrats not just as one of the two mammoths, but as a group of middle-class folks interested in making this country a better place. Voters might be more willing to pull the lever for a Democrat if they associate the party with the folks who helped them learn how to, for instance, maintain a good credit rating. If we demonstrate our honest enthusiasm for helping people, people might begin to see us as something other than a normal political party.
Finally, something like this could change the political debate in this country. What if politics was about the people, about their lives? What if politicians were talking about grocery bills and school buses instead of abortion and guns? I feel that this could transform the way that people participate in the political dialogue, and this can only help Democrats.
So, here's hoping the Tories get thumped in the elections. But, while we're at it, why not pilfer a great idea?