|Founded||5 April 2009|
9 Yr Ardd Fawr
|Political position||Defies orthodox political definition|
|European Parliament group||None|
|Colours||Green, Red and White|
|Politics of Wales
Newid ('change' in Welsh) is a political party in Wales. It is the world's first popular movement for demarchy, a form of democracy in which government policy is decided by representative groups of citizens randomly selected by sortition (lot) rather than by career politicians chosen in elections.
The party defies definition according to orthodox models of the political spectrum. Its primary objective is the adoption of a democratic system of government designed to retain the benefits commonly associated with representative democracy whilst resolving functional problems such as political expediency, institutional corruption in political parties, manipulation by special interests, the formation of political elites, rational ignorance compounded by permanent electioneering and widespread disengagement with politics on the part of the electorate.
Newid Model of Demarchy
The Newid Model differs significantly from that originally proposed by the Australian philosopher, John Burnheim. Newid proposes that 'demarchic' decision-making bodies be established at each level of local and national government including Community Meetings, Community Councils, Unitary Authorities and the National Assembly.
Community Representatives (CRs) would participate for three months at a time, guided in procedure by advocates drawn from the civil service and judiciary. Policy decisions would be implemented by a professional executive appointed by and accountable to the relevant Assembly or local authority.
A new institution, The National Forum, would undertake strategic planning and develop procedure. Systems-based protocol would enable groups of inexperienced, not necessarily well-educated people to arrive at the rightest possible decisions based upon the evidence provided to them.
Elections are unnecessary in a demarchy because every citizen has an equal opportunity of political participation. Thus the roles of career politicians and political parties would become obsolete in Wales once a demarchy is established.
Newid believes this model will ensure that policy is arrived at efficiently and cost effectively without the huge amounts of time and money currently spent on electioneering and politicking. Moreover, the policy decisions of Community Representatives are more likely to reflect the needs and aspirations of the community rather than the interests of an unrepresentative political elite. It also asserts that society will benefit from citizens being given the responsibility of learning about specific political issues and participating in government policy decisions. However, these benefits must be considered theoretical since a demarchic political system has yet to be tested.
Since career politicians are unlikely to voluntarily adopt a system that makes them redundant, Newid intends to stand against them in elections to the National Assembly for Wales. If it can achieve a majority in the Senedd, it will demand a referendum on a written Welsh constitution that incorporates a demarchy.
Embedded in the party's constitution is a statement that the party will stand down from office and disband once a demarchy is established.
Newid is registered as a political party with the Electoral Commission under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 so that it can enter candidates for election to the National Assembly of Wales.
Although Newid is actively campaigning in parts of Wales and its leader has appeared in the media, it is difficult to estimate its actual strength from data published by the Electoral Commission.
The first test of the party's platform will be the election for the National Assembly in 2011.
Newid lists its aims as:
- to establish a sovereign demarchy in Wales and to guarantee the equal worth and democratic rights of every Welsh citizen irrespective of gender, nationality, race, colour, creed, sexuality, age, aptitude or social background.
- to introduce by referendum a written constitution that establishes a demarchy and defines the rights and responsibilities of all Welsh citizens.
- to achieve “sustainable abundance” in the Welsh economy and in the provision of education, healthcare, housing and other public services.
- to foster an independent Welsh media with particular regard to encouraging scrutiny, fairness, transparency and debate in all aspects of Welsh society.
- to give equal official status to both the Welsh and English languages to advance a naturally bilingual society.
- to promote a confident, open and outward looking Welsh society, honest and generous in its dealings with its neighbours and the rest of the world and supportive of the universal principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Newid's objectives are listed as:
- to advance its aims at all levels of decision-making in Wales.
- to convert its aims and objectives into policies, achieving consensus amongst the Welsh people.
- to identify suitable candidates to stand as candidates for election to public office and to support such candidates with training and advice.
Standing on a wall in the market place, Davies gave an impassioned oratory, thereafter referred to as The Laugharne Address, in which he railed against what he saw as the shortcomings of the British political system and the inability of politicians in Cardiff and at Westminster to deal with severe social problems caused by a moribund Welsh economy. A crowd of about 300 people who were attending the Festival gathered to listen. Many signed up to his fledgling party on the spot. Davies then held an impromptu meeting to approve its constitution.
Davies is the party leader and theoretician although he has said he will not stand for election himself to avoid possible accusations of self-interest.
- "Register of Political Parties". The Electoral Commission. 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
- "Demarchy - can the people rule?, openDemocracy, Our Kingdom, 23 November 2009.". openDemocracy.net. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "Is Democracy Possible? The alternative to electoral politics - second edition, John Burnheim, 2006.". The University of Sidney. 2006-05-01. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- "Party aims to sack politicians and swap Senedd for a citizen’s assembly, Western Mail, Politics News, 6 April 2009.". Media Wales Ltd. 2009-04-06. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- Newid — official site