Lying on a sun bed in Pefkos Greece last August after catching up with a batch of e-mails from constituents on a whole range of issues my mind wandered. Yes I am very sad. "Wouldn't it be great I though if we could do a bit more of grassroots politics and find a way for a range of voters from all persuasions, but not members of political parties to come together and not just debate in a mature way, but actually suggest ways that our body politic back home could be improved"?
So the idea was birthed - in Greece of all places - where its debt crisis of course is causing political and economic turmoil on a scale unimaginable several years ago, with news today that a bailout worth £110bn being loaned, and having around £107bn of its debt written off.
From Greece to back to Broxtowe, from Broxtowe and the East Midlands to parliament and from parliament back to the people
So for voters back home in Broxtowe and the East Midlands, what do they really think on some of the Big Questions facing us in society today like:
•what's wrong with politics and society in Britain?
•what would a better Britain look like in 2015?
•how can we tackle in the long-term such wicked issues of growing obesity and alcoholism?
•is there any alternative to mass unemployment?
•will a Directly Elected Mayor in the city of Nottingham do anything for communities throughout the rest of the County?
•Should workfare be compulsory to try to reduce youth unemployment?
•Should certain health care be rationed?
•Is Scottish independence good for the whole of the UK?
•Is Christianity a spent force amongst the multi ethnic make up of Britain?
•If you don't vote currently, what would urge you to do so?
These topics and hundreds of others of course can be debated via e-mail, blogs, get a cursory hearing on Question Time and on university campuses.
But what about the ordinary citizen, voter, not at university, not particularly engaged with politics - what about their views, how do get them re-connected?
This week sees the first meeting of my Citizens Focus Group - where a group of voters (members of no political party) have volunteered to come together to discuss their views on what's wrong, and what we can possibly do to build a better Britain.
It might be raw, maybe controversial at times, but what I want to do is tease out some of the best ideas - directly from the voter, encourage them to engage and get involved. Most of all though - to put some people power back into politics.
Watch this space for further details!
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