The early beginnings…
Engage was initially created in 2017, as a Direct Democracy party (originally named Demos Direct Initiative Party) for John Rees Evans as a fallback party should he be unsuccessful in his bid to become the leader of UKIP and implement Direct Democracy within the party. He was unsuccessful to do so but then decided to take a different path with another party that never got off the starting block and subsequently joined and became the leader of The Democrats and Veterans Party.
Marty Caine the founder and current leader of Engage then decided that has the party had been fully registered he would continue on in his efforts to create a political party that was completely different from the rest, one that not only fully implemented Direct Democracy but also changed how a political party thinks and functions. The first thing to do was to change the name as Demos Direct Initiative Party was always a bit of a mouthful and whereas DEMOS was chosen as it is the Greek term for the People and the origins of the term democracy many people looked at it as being DEMOS as short for demonstrations. As it was obviously not working the party name was changed to ENGAGE which is ideal for a party that actually wants to engage with the people.
And so, ENGAGE was born a political party design with the sole purpose of changing how a political party works and one that is truly there for the people. However, to make this work it meant having a total rethink about the political structure of UK politics, working out why it was not working and then formulating a new political philosophy that would not only ensure that the party was controlled by its members but it could never be infiltrated and taken down from within, like UKIP was. So we had to identify the problems and find much better solutions and it was through this process we put together what we believe is the true party of the people.
Identifying problems in UK Politics:
One of the biggest problems of UK politics at present is this mindset of Left versus Right which keeps the two sides shouting at each other rather than shouting at government and all the main political parties are more than happy for things to stay that way.
Another major problem with the current parties and the new ones all seem to follow suit on this is the top-down power structure where the leadership is at the top of the power pyramid and the grassroots members at bottom of the pile and are generally seen as cash cows for the parties and leaflet distributors.
These were the two main issues we addressed whilst forming the philosophy behind Engage.
Political Philosophy of Engage…
To address the Left v Right issue of UK Politics we set one of the core beliefs of Engage with a simple statement that we are all as uniquely different as our own DNA and our fingerprints and that is regardless of skin colour, gender, religion or anything else and the sooner people realise this, the sooner people will be able to work together far, far better. Whether you are part of a left or right leaning party, no one actually agree with every aspect of their chosen party and as party policies are created by a select few, no one ever agrees with every policy a party has. So in Engage, we do not ever write out policies, instead, we concentrate on finding solutions and those solutions will always be found by debating the issues with those of differing opinions. There can never be any progression on an idea once everyone agrees with it and it is only by debating with those that disagree that make others think on how to improve on any idea. So we described Engage as the collective thinking party of Britain and one that welcomes everyone, regardless if they think of themselves as Left or Right, our aim is to throw those two outdated ideologies in the bin where they belong.
Engage coined the phrase that…
‘The collective thoughts of the many will always find better solutions faster than the selective opinions of the few.’
So in Engage it really does not matter if you are Left or Right, if you simply agree we are all uniquely different then we can work together in finding the best solutions and the added bonus is we will all once again get back to learning from each other.
The next major issue was the party structure with its top-down power pyramid and this was easy to resolve. We simply turned that power pyramid upside down putting the membership at the top and the higher someone ranks within the party the more subservient they become to the membership.
By placing the membership at the top of the party power pyramid it also protects it from being infiltrated and taken down from within. It is easy to infiltrate and corrupt the few senior party officials but it is nigh on impossible to corrupt the thoughts of a whole party membership. So by empowering the membership you actually help to safeguard the party.
So how does it all work?
Engage is designed to be a grassroots party that implements Direct Democracy within its own party structure. So the key to making this all work is to ensure that every member has a means of communicating and voting on things in the party and this is down by the use of apurpose-builtt social media platform that allows the whole membership to be connected whilst at the same time allows every branch throughout the UK to work as an independent unit only answerable to the people of their own areas.
A branch is formed by having a chairman, secretary and treasurer and they are fully responsible for everything that happens within their own branch, they can of course chose to have as many officers as they like such as vice-chairman, etc but the branch itself will work as an independent unit and has a place on the Engage platform that only members of that branch can access and debate issues relating to the area they represent. Then regional branches will have their own space on the Engage platform that only members within that region can access to debate issues on a regional level. Think about it, what concerns people of the North East, will not necessarily reflect what is happening in the South West. Then on the Engage platform, there are spaces that every member of the party can access to debate national party issues. When it is as national, regional or branch level, members will be able to vote on every aspect of the party and those that do not have internet access can put forward their own thoughts and opinions at branch meetings where the chairman will ensure they are given the opportunity to vote on any important issues.
Sticking with the Direct Democracy idea that the majority vote wins will ensure the membership keep the democratic right to control what happens not only within their own branch but also the whole party. It truly is Direct Democracy in action.
Anyone can put forward ideas for solutions (not policies) and these can be debated at any level of the party structure, should a solution receive enough interest in the debates then it will be drafted and put to the whole party for a vote and only once a solution has received a majority vote will it be adopted by the party. Members can then later put forward ideas on how to improve those solutions at a later date which will involve the same Direct Democracy process.
For example: John Doe puts forward a solution for knife crime at his local branch, they debate this idea and if passed by the majority in the branch it is then passed to regional level where it is once again debated on, hopefully, improved and then once again voted on. If passed it then goes to the national party level where the process is repeated and every member can input their thoughts and finally voted on before being adopted by the party. As this is done using the internet people can contribute their thoughts at any time that is convenient to them and the end result should be a well ironed out solution that the majority of the members all agree with.
The end result is a well formed solution proving that the collective thoughts of the many can find better solutions faster than the selective opinions of the few and not other political party in the UK is offering that kind of involvement.
Of course there is a need for some form of party management system for ensuring that the party complies with all party regulations, electoral law, etc and also deal with issues that may arise within the party and the Engage Management Team, will comprise of all regional chairs, the party leader, treasurer, nominations officer and legal advisors. However, they will always be answerable to the party membership and no crucial decisions will ever be made without first putting them to a party vote. The role of the EMT is to ensure the party correctly runs, it is not there to run the party.
So that is the basic philosophy behind Engage and if this is the kind of party you would like to see in UK Politics then get on board and help make it happen. You can become a member of Engage by filling out the application form on our website at https://engage-uk.org.uk and become part of something new and refreshing in British politics.