Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Systems of Empathy

In "What Is Your Dangerous Idea?", Simon Baron-Cohen muses on the machismo and combativeness of conventional politics compared to "A Political System Based on Empathy".

Author of "The Essential Difference: Male and Female Brains and the Truth About Autism", Simon identifies our current confrontational political system with typical male characteristics and makes comparisons with the typically female trait of Empathy, which may be a crucial ingredient in solving the worst conflicts that face us.

While Interactive Democracy doesn't demolish combative party politics, by increasing the power of the electorate it reduces the bias towards male domination by increasing numbers of female votes and ideas.

Simon Baron-Cohen is a psychologist at the Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Garbage In, Garbage Out

The electorate are only as good as their information, so safeguarding truth is essential to democracy:

  • Free and competitive press
  • Strong laws against fraud, lying and misrepresentation
  • Transparency in government
  • Government sponsored research free from political bias
  • Critical thinking and freedom of speech
  • Competition among search engines to avoid political bias

Chaos Theory and Consequences

You may have heard that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil it can precipitate a series of weather patterns that lead to a Typhoon in Malaysia. Another way of putting it is that 'small triggers can have complex consequences'.

So how can parliament, or anyone else, predict the detailed consequences of a policy?

It takes a super computer to have a chance of predicting the weather. And that is what we have for making political decisions when we link massive numbers of people together in an election: A supercomputer that processes discrete knowledge, experience, intellect, values and personal forecasts to come to an optimal solution (if not the perfect one).

Infinite Information

Take a subject, any subject, and look at how much information there is on it. For example how much do you know about a fly? Do you know about the mechanisms of its body, its aerodynamics, how it makes decisions, its predators, its food, how its DNA was encoded, its family history, where it is and where it's come from. Can you predict its future?

Is there an expert that knows all of this? I think not, because there are so many areas of expertise involved, each with an infinite level of detail and interlinked with other areas.

My point is that there is too much information on any subject for elite political decision makers to process. Something bigger and better is needed: A network of discrete information processors, making decisions based on their own sphere of knowledge and experience, each predicting how policies will effect their own future and grounded in their own values and morals. In short: The electorate and voting using Interactive Democracy!

Criteria for a Referendum

What is it that makes some issues appropriate for a public vote?

  1. Complexity/simplicity of the subject? Most votes can be boiled down to simple issues!
  2. The time and media coverage available to address the issue? Each vote is an interactive media story.
  3. The public's capacity to give due consideration to the pros and cons? Opinion leaders with media access are important to the debate.
  4. Cost of administering the referendum? Interactive Democracy benefits from low cost IT services.
  5. National security considerations?... Decisions may be based on secrets!... Or they may be based on morals?
  6. Frequent votes may lead to overload and voter apathy! But people can vote on many issues at one sitting and may not vote at all on issues they have no feelings about.

It seems to me that when politicians decide if there should be a referendum, there's a little voice in the back of their heads saying "Only do it if you are sure we will win!"

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Targeting the Majority, Missing Innovation

Political parties may shift their policies to target the majority of voters, which is probably why they appear so similar. When marketing to the majority, offering something new and different is always fraught with danger as many people only buy into something when its tried and tested. This inhibits political parties from experimenting with the more radical policies that some advocate. Perhaps this is why some senior police officers have been discussing "out of the box" alternatives: a debate on clarifying the paedophilia laws; legalising drugs?

Interactive Democracy allows the more creative policies a chance to be aired, without risk to the political parties. With sufficient support from the public, parliament may be forced to debate them, clarify and present them to the public for ratification, but the politicians can always hold up their hands and say "we are just doing your bidding". It reduces the political risk for them.

No Politics or Religion Please!

Arguments may not be pleasant, and in polite society they are sometimes best avoided so that deep seated disagreements don't tarnish a relationship. However, cyberdisinhibition may allow discussion of politics that would never occur in a social group. (This blog may be a case in point.)

Flaming Emails

Cyberdisinhibition or "flaming" causes people to use language on the Internet that they would usually moderate in a normal conversation. This can lead to abusiveness and bullying, something that can readily be witnessed in the comments on You Tube. According to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, "disinhibition becomes far more likely when people feel strong negative emotions", as may be the case in politics!

This may cause a problem for ePetitions that allow feedback and comments, or if the author can be emailed. However, it may be moderated when abusers realise that they have to enter their name and address before posting a comment (as is required on the No.10 ePetition site, today).

As children may conceivably be using the site, this is especially important.
Swearing and abusiveness can be detected automatically by the computer system and moderated by the web master who may, in extreme cases, have cause to contact the police. Other sanctions may include a ban on the perpetrator for a period of time: "if you use word "x, y or z" you will be banned for 30 days"?

Friday, 19 October 2007

A Few Votes, Enough?

Should there be a minimum number of votes to validate a bill? Too few votes shows a disinterest from the general public, makes mistaken decisions more likely and increases the power of the individual to, perhaps, unhealthy levels.

This begs a question: How many votes are too few?... Perhaps 10000?


We all make decisions that we regret. The advantage of Interactive Democracy is that each voter is a small cog in an enormous machine with perhaps tens of thousands or millions of similar voters. A machine that requires a significant majority to ratify a law. So if you get it wrong (change your mind after the poll), there's no need to regret.

The corollary of this is that there are less than 650 voters in the House of Commons. Make a mistake there and it can have a much bigger effect.

Cool Off and Change Your Vote

In Interactive Democracy you can change your mind and alter your vote at any time before the poll is counted. This allows cooling off, time to think, to absorb the arguments and debates, and see if your initial decision still holds true.

It helps smooth out the demand peaks on the servers but also encourages people to vote instinctively and then reassess - a process that could increase the total number of votes and the processing power of the system.

Snap Decisions and Big Numbers

Voters may make snap decisions on how to cast their vote. Is this wrong?
Many people would say that a careful balancing of the facts is essential to making good decisions. Others would say that initial impressions are often correct and that detailed analysis is a process of finding evidence to support your initial view, rather than developing it.
Interactive Democracy recognises that no one person can process all the information pertaining to any decision. It recognises that your values and experience may be as important as your intellect. Each person making a snap or considered decision is just a small part of the national ID nervous system, making decisions on topics already considered and approved by professional politicians. In this context snap decisions aren't as problematic as they first seem. In fact they may allow more people to make more decisions, increasing the processing power of the system.

Voting In Advance

In Interactive Democracy votes may be cast any time before the poll is counted. This allows voters more efficient use of their time as they can vote on a whole range of issues at a single "sitting". They are thus able to process more votes.
Votes can be changed or cancelled at any time before the "count" and changes may be viewed on an online statement so that everyone can monitor for fraud.

For Bill(')s Sake!

I counted 105 Bills in the Lords and Commons in 2006/7. How much more law do we need... for Pete's sake?

As a mature democracy it's interesting that we continue to add new laws at such a rate... and it's a problem for Interactive Democracy because, unlike professional politicians, the public are unlikely to want to consider so many new laws. But do we really need them? Or are they just a symptom of having a political elite justifying their existence or reacting to media concerns? Would it really be a problem if we only had 24 new laws a year?
Alternatively, if all 105 Bills were presented to the public is it really a problem if not everyone votes on them: the people directly involved certainly would.

Adding Information to Politics... and Filtering It

It may be possible to add informative links to each ePetition. Perhaps anyone could add a link to relevant information, with a brief summary of what it's about? However, this presents problems of information overload because there is no mechanism for filtering the good from the bad.

Search engines have developed into powerful tools for filtering information because they automatically look at how many referrals a site may have, and the "credibility" of each of those referrals. The result is that the most relevant information is presented quickly. Using conventional search engines (and there's a number to choose from) arguably provides a better information system than allowing voters to add links to an ePetition system.

Requests For Information

The ePetition system can be used to request parliament to gather and publish information. For example this link on the No. 10 ePetition site, shows a request for a study into the economics of legalising drug use . I can see the benefits of requesting such studies, but their may be genuine difficulties in getting the information because of the problems (impossibility?) of gathering it. In this case it may be very difficult to set up a small scale experiment, as cheap, licensed drugs in one location would attract addicts from other areas, with various social consequences. Other types of study may be more successful and may already exist without the knowledge of ePetitioners. It would be useful for links to this information to be added to the ePetition site.

"Can we ever have enough information?" Using ID to rationalise the release of information under the Freedom of Information Act is one way of prioritising requests that may prove to be very expensive and are currently often instigated by individuals and journalists.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Fuzzy Thinking

"Fuzzy Thinking", the title of a book by Bart Kosko, looks at how logic is linked to probability to predict optimum outcomes. It's the sort of process your automatic camera goes through to try to produce the best pictures and gives some insight into how to make decisions with imperfect information... which is usually the case.

Interactive Democracy combines the Fuzzy Decisions of all voters to reach an optimal outcome.

EQ not IQ

By EQ I mean the Experience Quotient (nothing to do with emotional intelligence, though similar arguments may be made about EI). Lets imagine that the sum of your life experiences is the sum of every different experience that you have ever had or learnt about. This encompasses a good proportion of your learned IQ. Compare this EQ to IQ, which is useful in understanding and analysing data on relatively simple decisions that may not take into account complex values, feelings and motivations.

Imagine a group of politicians - how diverse are their experiences? Now imagine a much bigger group - the whole population involved in a referendum. This group probably includes every politician and has a cumulative amount of experience which can be expressed through the vote.

Many voters may not easily be able to articulate their views but it may be argued that their sub-conscious has already factored in all their experience to lead them to an opinion, which may be altered by the light of good arguments, stories and debate.

Interactive Democracy capitalises on the maximum amount of every form of intelligence, from every source.

The Opposition... They're Stupid!

Arguments, especially political ones, can get somewhat heated... It's always tempting to think of the other side as stupid because they can't understand your point of view. And if they're stupid, maybe we would be better letting the political elite decide? This may be one of the deep seated rationals behind opposition to Interactive Democracy.

Perhaps it takes a leap of faith to think "Well, maybe the opposition have other values, experiences and information, that I don't have. Maybe, they're not stupid after all!"

And maybe those "stupid" people, who may have a far lower IQ than you, suddenly say something true that you hadn't spotted before.

People as Transistors

Imagine a micro chip with each transistor switching to process information. Now imagine that each of those transistors is an autonomous computer in its own right, processing its own information stream, which effects which way it switches. This is how I imagine each voter in Interactive Democracy. Each person makes a decision on which way to vote based on all the information and experience they have available. They are part of a huge social, organic computer (ID), designed to process information and optimise society for the common good.

(And this is the best reason I can think of for being 1 of 40 odd million voters in any democratic election.)

Democracy as Information Processor

Imagine our society as an organism. It has a nervous system to gather and process information, and make decisions for its own betterment. What would be the best design of that nervous system?

How Much Would You Pay To Vote?

Here's a thought experiment: imagine how much you would pay, in Pounds Stirling, for your vote in a General Election... a local election... on an issue you care about using Interactive Democracy. £1, £10, £1000? Compare this value to how much money you would consider keeping in an online bank account. This gives some sort of comparison of the value and security of Interactive Democracy.
According to this research 44% of adults are expected to use an online bank account by 2012.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Freudian Politics

It may be that we are never fully aware of the subconscious motivations that drive us to decisions. Does "Interactive Democracy" latch on to deep seated suspicions of leaders who don't ask for my consent? Do others have a deep seated need for father figures?

If we accept that some of our decision making is subconscious, doesn't that further undermine the concept that a small group of similar, elite politicians can make better decisions than a much larger group who are less biased?

Values and Choices

It seems to me that one of the common sticking points of any argument is a difference in values:
  • "I value mountaineering - you think it's stupidly dangerous"
  • "I eat too much - you think I'm a drain on the national health service"
  • "I value freedom - you value security"
It's very difficult to appreciate other peoples' values, which is one reason why we should all have an equal vote in Interactive Democracy... and not be governed by the values of a small group of 640 odd MPs.

6 Thinking Hats

Edward de Bono defined six styles of thinking:

  1. White Hat Thinking is about facts and gathering information
  2. Red Hat Thinking is about emotion and intuition
  3. Black Hat Thinking is critical thinking and is sometimes seen as negative
  4. Yellow Hat Thinking looks for the positive
  5. Green Hat Thinking is creative
  6. Blue Hat Thinking is about controlling the process
I've already mentioned the Blue and White hats in relation to politicians. Interactive Democracy is also a Blue Hat process and the debate each issue creates will draw in White Hat data from a multitude of sources. The ePetition aspect of Interactive Democracy provides creative ideas which are likely to provoke other ideas and the whole voting system absorbs the predilections of voters for Red, Black and Yellow Hat thinking.

6 Sigma Government

"6 Sigma" is the title of a quality management system and refers to being almost defect free (3.4 defects per million). Its procedure for the management of improvement is DMAIC:

  1. Define
  2. Measure
  3. Analyze
  4. Improve
  5. Control
In Interactive Democracy any issue receiving sufficient support is already defined but may need to be clarified by the elected parliament. They should define the measurements required to identify success and gather the data (White Hat Thinking); analyze the data and present it to the public; improve the issue by writing the law and seek approval by public vote. It is then the governments responsibility to use Control to ensure success.

Blue Hat Politicians

De Bono's Blue Hat thinking is all about "Control of Thinking", "Focus", "Program Design", "Summaries" and "Monitoring". In Interactive Democracy this is the main role of politicians.

Once the "seconding" (ePetition) process identifies issues and ideas that the public feel strongly about, politicians must utilise their skills and resources to define the law which will then be presented to the public for ratification. A good government will monitor the effects of the changes.

Science in Politics

It seems that there are few people with the statistical skills to separate fact from assumption. I wonder how many politicians could do a regression analysis, calculate the significance of a sample size or understand the Monty Hall problem. It may be too much to ask for every politician to be fully conversant with all this, but maybe they can request the help and advice of academics on such matters. Or maybe there should be guidance from a civil servant adept at statistical analysis?

This is just as important to Interactive Democracy as to Representative Democracy.

White Hat Politicians

Edward de Bono identified several types of thinking. He associated each with a coloured hat: White Hat Thinking is all about collecting information (imagine a white piece of paper). It would be of great benefit to Interactive Democracy (indeed any democracy) for politicians to identify what information is required for each issue and to fund the gathering of that information, perhaps through independent academics. This should be reported via a link on the ID web site.

(Edward de Bono created the term "lateral thinking")

Democratic Falsehoods

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

Winston Churchill
  1. The manifesto of the winning party is always implemented... No it isn't - so how do we choose which party to vote for?
  2. MPs reflect the opinions of the majority in their constituency... How do they know?
  3. MPs always act on their convictions... So what are the party whips for?
  4. MPs always tell the truth... And there's no such thing as spin?
  5. Your vote can sway the result... Your vote is one in many hundreds of thousands and carries little influence.
  6. Anyone can become a Member of Parliament... There are only 640 odd seats in the commons, so the odds are pretty slim.
  7. All aspects of an argument are presented in debate... Points of view are as diverse as peoples experiences and can never be fully communicated in debate.
  8. All pertinent information is presented and analysed by Parliament... Information is virtually infinite and decisions can never be fully informed.
  9. Parliament makes logical and rational decisions... There is no set of standards for decision making as would be the case in, say, testing an aircraft wing structure to ensure safety.
  10. Politicians are experts in decision making... And are well qualified in statistical analysis?
  11. Politicians are mostly altruistic... Freud may disagree - he identified many sub-conscious motivators.
  12. Consequences of decisions can be predicted and fully considered by dedicated professional politicians... Consequences can never be fully predicted because of chaos and complexity theory.
  13. Politicians represent the will of the people... How do they know what the majority want?
  14. A small group of intelligent politicians make better decisions than a large group of average people... Large groups of dissimilar people have more experience to draw on than a small group with similar experiences.
  15. Multi-faceted decisions, such as those in a General Election can be calculated rationally... Multi-faceted decisions are much harder to decide than single issues.

(Politicians have special skills that are needed in Interactive Democracy and, despite the above comments, I feel it is everyone's duty to vote.)

About Democracy

This links to an excellent article summarising many of the issues regarding democracy.

Internet... The New Press

This article examines how the Internet may effect democracy. It makes the point that the Internet may be more powerful than the printing press, which was a crucial technology in the early days of democracy. However, the Internet does require some skill to use - much like learning to read!

The Importance of Leadership

Leadership, to galvanize people into action on important issues, is essential to all political processes. Interactive Democracy isn't a leader-less system: A government must still be formed, yet it allows others to be opinion leaders on all sorts of different issues. This may actually reduce the difficulties that political parties face in tailoring policies to appeal to the majority of voters, without risking appearing "wishy washy".

This article explains the difficulties of politicians moving their position in order to seek the centre ground.

Seeking the Centre Ground

Political parties can win elections by dominating the centre ground, where most voters are. Please see this link for an explanation of this argument (same as the previous post). The problem may be how to discover what the majority of voters want?

Interactive Democracy "asks" voters what they want through the ePetition system, refines it through parliament into workable laws and then asks the electorate to approve it by referendum. This is a process of discovering what the majority want.

Two Choices Are Best!

In any vote more than two choices increases the chance of the majority of the electorate being dissatisfied with the outcome. This link explains the argument.

This relates equally to a multi-party democracy or Interactive Democracy, suggesting that two choice votes may be better than multiple choice.

The Mathematics of Political IQ

Lets assume that each politician in the House of Commons is a genius and the average IQ is 150. Lets say there are 650 of them, then the total IQ is 97500.

Now imagine that just 10000 people vote in the Interactive Democratic system, with an average IQ of 100, then the total IQ is 1million, or 10.25 times the intellectual power of parliament!

This is a facile (if interesting) argument. However, 10000 people have a lot of life experience that isn't factored into the IQ scores. This total of diverse experience is perhaps a better argument in favour of referendum.

(It's not implausible that many millions of people may vote on certain decisions, making the total IQ for Interactive Democracy many magnitudes higher than Parliament.)

Dangerous and Naive!

There are several core concepts to Interactive Democracy:

  1. Democracy can be improved with technology which can be highly secure.
  2. Any modern democracy requires voter identity and secure databases.
  3. Good decisions can be made by the electorate, not just the elite, because voters possess a vast depth and breadth of knowledge and experience.
  4. Parliament should be responsible for the quality of data on which decisions are made using statistical analysis where appropriate.
  5. Issues attract the electorate with vested interests in the outcome (eg teachers and parents on education issues).
  6. A free press is crucial to democracy; "media interest" provides the impetus to make ID successful.
  7. Facilitating everyone's contribution to new policy suggestions through the IdeasEngine (ePetition) system, outside the constraints of the party politics, will be good for society.
These notions are unproven and may be naive ideology. For sure, they are dangerous to the status quo.

The Wisdom of Crowds

"In this endlessly fascinating book, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea that has profound implications: large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant—better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future. This seemingly counterintuitive notion has endless and major ramifications for how businesses operate, how knowledge is advanced, how economies are (or should be) organized and how we live our daily lives. With seemingly boundless erudition and in delightfully clear prose, Surowiecki ranges across fields as diverse as popular culture, psychology, ant biology, economic behaviorism, artificial intelligence, military history and political theory to show just how this principle operates in the real world."

More at this link.

Selection for Sales Skills

The current political system selects our leaders and decision makers through a process of nominations and elections. However, I suspect the main trait that is used for selection is "Sales Ability" - the skills to influence people. Maybe the sales skill is least useful for analysis and decision making (but not leadership)? The point is that the system is prejudiced against people who may have developed other skills at the expense of their sales ability.

Clearly there are some remarkably capable politicians and I don't wish this question to disparage them or indeed insult sales people (I'm married to one of the best).

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Experienced Politicians

Interactive Democracy doesn't diminish the need for experienced politicians. They are required to run parliament, form a government and create laws. They need to govern the process. But professional politicians sometimes lack the specialised experience of other professions for which policies are made. One advantage of ID is that it brings a vast array of life experience to bear on political decisions: the experience of doctors, nurses, teachers, soldiers and every other area of society. That adds colossal depth and breadth to political life.

European Democracy

Interactive Democracy may have an impact on EU policy, even if it is only implemented in Britain. Using ID, British policy on Europe may be effected directly by the electorate (as with any other issue) by influencing the UK member of the Council of Ministers. The system may also be used to petition MEPs to raise issues in the European Parliament. Of course an EU referendum would be easily facilitated by ID.

Evolving Ideas... by Design

Anyone can join a political party, present their ideas, promote them within the party and they may eventually be presented to Parliament by an MP. This filtering and refining process prioritises vast numbers of ideas so that the best rise to the top.

Interactive Democracy makes the presentation of ideas more accessible to the general public and may increase the numbers of ideas being put forward. It makes the process easy for those not disposed to joining a party for whatever reason: perhaps they are too busy, don't like the parties other policies, don't understand the complexities of party politics, don't feel confident enough to present an idea or don't have the sales skills necessary to promote it. However, filtering the number of ideas that may be generated by the Ideas Engine (or ePetition) may be a problem because easy access may lead to "too many" ideas. There are a number of technological aids to solving this:

  1. ePetitions are approved by the web master before posting, to ensure no duplication of ideas (as happens today with the No.10 system).

  2. A search facility allows access to all relevant "petitions" on any one subject.

  3. "Petitions" may be ranked by most popular or most recent or by relevance to a region (eg Wales or a local authority).

  4. Amendments may be added by the original author (qualified by a separate count of "seconds").

  5. The original author may be contactable by email.

  6. Comments and questions may be posted on the site (moderated for abusiveness by the web master).

  7. 'Other "petitions" you may be interested in' (automatically listed by the search facility) will be presented alongside the one you are reading, giving alternative views.

  8. Reporting on the "petitions" in the media may clarify the issues and lead to amendments.

  9. The "top 10" and "10 most recent" will be listed on the ePetitions home page.

  10. The party political system will engage with the ePetitions system (Ideas Engine), debating and posting new ideas.

  11. The party political system will encourage voting on ideas by party members.

  12. 'Send to a friend' buttons would encourage distribution of ideas (ePetitions) by electronic word of mouth on the Internet.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Herd Instinct and Voting to Win

It seems to me possible that, as people see the votes amassing on one side of an election campaign, an extra incentive is added to vote the same way and be on the winning side. Maybe it's a similar psychology to that which causes bubbles in the stock market, though the 'need to win' is a far smaller incentive than making money. For this reason it may be prudent for Interactive Democracy not to show a running total of votes (which is very easy to do with a computerised system).

Is this a trap that the current ePetition systems should avoid too? Or are there 'transparency' advantages to showing the build up of votes?

ePetition Questions and Opinions

To encourage debate and clarification it may be useful for each ePetition to facilitate on-line questions to its author and the expression of opinions and arguments. These could be organised much like a discussion group "thread". Vulgar and offensive additions would need to be moderated.

Ammendments to ePetitions

The No.10 ePetition system does not allow amendments once the petition has gone live, after approval by the "web master". This is essential to the approval process and to its accountability to the signatories. However, it may be beneficial to allow the original author to add amendments for clarification, with each amendments' signatories being counted separately and reported together.

Too Much Law to Report?

Can we cope with two new votes a week? 105 Bills per year may be considered too many to report in the media. However, their contents can easily be published and disseminated on-line. Bills that pertain to certain sectors of society may be reported and discussed in the specialist press, rather than the main stream media, though I'd hope that responsible and prominent editors would encourage some coverage of every vote.

Parliamentary Bills

This link shows the "Business" of parliament. I counted 105 Bills in total, in the Lords and Commons. Is that too many for the public to decide on? Very probably. So the issue is how to decide which go to a public vote... or do we accept that if they all do, only a small percentage of the population will vote on any one issue?
In my opinion the latter is not such a problem as it will be the people that the decision impacts that are most likely to have their say.

The Power of The Press and Disinformation

As it stands, parliament has various mechanisms in place to discourage disinformation in politics. If the electorate are going to decide issues of government based on "facts" presented in the media, does there need to be an increase in accountability in the press? While a free press is crucial to any democracy, lying in the media may need to become a criminal offense!

Experienced in Politics / Experienced in Life

Interactive Democracy recognises that there is an important role for professional politicians but that job precludes them from an alternative career. Wouldn't it be useful if the experiences gained by professionals in other areas were factored into the political system? Of course individuals can do that today, by joining a political party or campaign, but that often takes time that a busy person may not have. It also requires skills that a capable engineer, teacher or soldier, for example, may not have. Interactive Democracy makes it easier for real life experiences from all sectors of society to be factored into politics.