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Politics by People: A new charter for democratic reform, written by activists from across the Labour movement

A six-point charter to reset and reinvigorate our democracy.


  • Politics by People
  • By Olivia Bailey
  • Published 25 September 2016

British democracy is in crisis. A decline in voter turnout over the last 60 years has combined with a growing distrust of politicians and public institutions. The anger expressed during the recent EU referendum is just the latest sign of dissatisfaction with the status quo. This report provides the background to a six-point charter to renew engagement in our democracy, and discusses possible policy ideas that could make it a reality.

The charter was written after a process of conversation and consensus building among Labour members and activists, and a series of focus groups with voters. It aims to reinvigorate a conversation about democratic reform at Labour’s grassroots. The starting point is that democratic reform will only return to the political agenda if Labour gets serious about it once again.

While the charter represents the collective view of all the signatories, this accompanying report is the work of the author alone. Using insights from voters across the UK, it reveals the extent of the visceral anti-politics views held by many. People feel disconnected from politics and political decisions, unable to trust politicians to act in their interests and put off by a sense of scandal and corruption. Discussion with Labour voters reinforced these strong views, demonstrating that this problem threatens votes that Labour takes for granted.

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Olivia Bailey

Olivia Bailey is director of social policy at Public First and former head of domestic policy for Keir Starmer. She was previously deputy general secretary at the Fabian Society


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