Thursday, 5 August 2010

In this edition
•Policy and Parliamentary
•Vote Match
•POWER2010 merges wth Unlock Democracy
•Office Move

Campaigning has continued at a break neck speed since the election and the formation of the coalition government. This E-Citizen is designed to be a brief snapshot of what we have been doing in recent months. Our regular Citizen membership magazine, due to hit doorsteps at the end of August, will include more in depth reports on these topics and more.

Unlock Democracy have cautiously welcomed the advent of the new coalition government and their ambitious democratic reform programme. However the devil is in the detail and our campaigns, parliamentary and lobbying work has continued seamlessly during the change of government and the transition to a new Parliament.


Unlock Democracy have been at the forefront of the recent nationally coordinated ‘Take Back Parliament’ rallies, involving thousands of people peacefully protesting throughout the UK, for electoral reform. These successfully brought pressure to bear on the parties during the coalition talks to include in the coalition agreement a commitment to hold a referendum on electoral reform. Senior politicians from both parties have subsequently been quite open about how these demonstrations made a deal without such a commitment unworkable.

Following the overwhelming vote in favour by our members, Unlock Democracy is committed to actively campaigning for a yes vote in the upcoming referendum on electoral reform. As a result we are in the process of formalising our plans for the referendum campaign alongside our partners in the Take Back Parliament, a grassroots activist campaign to change the electoral system.

Unlock Democracy and other coalition partners also secured a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in May, where we successfully lobbied for the referendum to be held on the same day as elections to the devolved assemblies and local authorities.

This will be the first national referendum we held under the current referendums legislation. Many details won’t become clear until the government publishes the bill, so plans at an early stage. We have however met with leading campaigners, marketing, polling and referendum experts, who gave us their professional advice on how to win. We have also recently met with the Electoral Commission, who will be responsible for regulating the referendum campaign.

We will of course be in contact shortly to tell you how to get involved in the campaign.

Policy and Parliamentary

Unlock Democracy will be giving evidence on the Government’s proposals to the new Political and Constitutional Reform Committee on Thursday.

We are also planning to contribute to the Government’s counter-terrorism review. This review will consider control orders, pre-charge detention, section 44 stop and search and targeted surveillance powers. MP’s recently voted to approve a six-month extension to existing powers allowing police to detain terror suspects for 28 days before charge.

Unlock Democracy strongly opposes 28 days and welcomes the Home Secretary’s statement that not only does she consider this extension a temporary one, but that she personally considers 14 days more than long enough in most cases. This is however still longer than in most other comparable countries, a point we will be strongly making in our review submission.

We have also recently responded to three recent consultations by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (I.P.S.A.) on their approach to regulating the new MPs expenses system.

Looking further ahead we are planning ahead for the autumn, where we are set to have stalls at each of the Green, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative party conferences.

Vote Match proves election smash for a million people

Vote Match was Unlock Democracy’s most successful election project, with over one million people completing the quiz by 10pm on polling day.

Vote Match is a project of Unlock Democracy in partnership with and Goldsmiths University of London. Organisations such as the BBC, Facebook Google and MTV all linked to it on their election websites.

It also received fantastic national media coverage and has already been praised by leading political commentators.

Buoyed by this success we are now planning a version for the Labour Party Leadership Election. Stay tuned for more information

Exciting Times for the Sustainable Communities Act

Currently 200 proposals for government action and assistance to reverse community decline and promote local sustainability are before Ministers. We are putting pressure on the government to urgently agree and implement these proposals, as it has now been nearly a year since they were submitted.

The Sustainable Communities Act Amendment Bill passed into law before the General Election, which was an amazing achievement. This was the first time a Private Members Bill has successfully concluded during ‘wash-up’ negotiations between the parties at the end of the last parliament.

The government must soon publish regulations setting out how the Sustainable Communities Act’s democratic process will work next year. We are negotiating with the government to ensure that these rules trigger a second invitation for proposals early next year and that a rolling programme is set up so that citizens and councils – including Parish and Town Councils – can use the Act on an ongoing basis.


As the only organisation which campaigns across all aspects of the democratic spectrum, Unlock Democracy is increasingly becoming the first port of call for journalists and media outlets. In recent months we have been interviewed live on SKY TV, BBC Breakfast News as well as appearing on several radio interviews for both regional and national BBC radio and LBC. In addition we are regularly quoted in national publications such as The Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Daily Express and the Metro.

We look forward to you reading all about us soon.

Organisational News - Unlock Democracy welcomes POWER2010

Unlock Democracy are pleased to announce that the campaign POWER2010 has now merged with Unlock Democracy. POWER2010 campaigned before the election on five key issues, including lords reform, proportional representation and a written constitution, following a deliberative process which involved thousands of submissions from the general public.

As Power2010 was always designed to be a short term campaign and not a separate organisation, it has now incorporated into Unlock Democracy so its members and activists can continue to campaign on these issues.

Office Move

Unlock Democracy have recently moved offices. We have now moved from our basement office to the second floor on Cynthia Street. Our contact details have not changed.


We are currently recruiting for two positions, the deadline for which is 5pm Wednesday.

We hope this gives you a good snapshot of what we have been doing recently. As you can see it is a busy time recently for our staff team of just four full time and five part time employees.

We would like to thank you for all your support, without which we could not do as much as we do.