Simultaneous Global Policy-Making: John Bunzl on SIMPOL

Simultaneous Global Policy-Making: John Bunzl on SIMPOL

Posted On: January 5, 2015
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John is a leader of SIMPOL which promotes global bottom-up simultaneous policy making. He founded SIMPOL as a grass-roots movement to promote simultaneous global-policy making based upon the simultaneous global action of communities and individuals. The aim would be simultaneous implementation of policies globally as a way to unlock some of the barriers to co-operation globally. John thinks that global co-ordination would enable policy makers to balance interests overall. For example, savings from a global Tobin tax (which would harm the West more) could go to balance the losses of the emerging countries if they cut back on carbon dioxide emissions. He says that most issues now are both global and local and it’s hard for any one government to act independently unless the other countries move simultaneously. SIMPOL is designed to empower citizens to work with others in a global network in parallel to the existing system to encourage governments and policy makers to do co-ordinate in service of the whole.

John believes that people have now realised that  “the political process doesn’t permit people to change things any more.”   “So democracy is now what I call pseudo-democracy. It doesn’t matter who’s in power any more. For example, even if we elected the Green party they would still find that they would have to keep the U.K.’s economy internationally competitive which would essentially mean that they would have to jettison the core of its agenda. So we realise that our votes have become meaningless  and that’s terribly depressing.  But it’s actually the 1st liberating step.” If people realise that then they will also realise “we can make your own policy.” He believes that people will then work together to generate the required policies on a global basis and that such policies will gain support before being taken on by governments. Simple aims to do that in a coordinated fashion. John believes that will then put the power in the hands of the voters because they will be able to say to politicians that they will vote for any particular party that supports the simultaneous policies. That would force politicians to work much harder to please their active consumers.

In the last British election in 2010, SIMPOL activists persuaded 200 candidates for Parliament to sign up to their simultaneous policies. 23 of those were elected to Parliament.  When asked John whether or not SIMPOL was successful and up and running in any particular location he made the point that it already exists in every single democracy but it occurs only at the national level. Within each nation or series of simultaneous policies are debated, proposed and then voted upon. That is simultaneous policy-making.  He believes that the next stage in our evolution is to take them to the global level and that that is most likely to be done by networks of interested activists rather than through top-down government coordination.  “However it was David Cameron who said when he became Prime Minister, he pulled the levers of power and nothing happened. That’s because the levers of power don’t work anymore.  All of the power now it’s up in the global space.”

“The problems are now global and individual governments don’t have the power to influence those any more and that’s a big leap for people to take. As soon as people take that leap, SIMPOL is 2nd nature to them.” He believes that existing powers and interests will give up existing ways of working simply because it is in their interests.

John gives an example of a British election in which a very small number of SIMPOL activists were able to persuade the successful candidate to take on their pledge. Contrary to the prevailing mood, he believes that the democratic political system offers plenty of opportunity for voters to influence political outcomes, IF they co-ordinate their action with like minded people.

I asked John, if SIMPOL were successful, what would stop that new approach being dominated by small interest groups, cabals or charismatic individuals. He said that the principles of democracy would apply and that by its very nature, as a group social process with transparency, if there were any corruption or delinquent behaviour it would quickly be punished by the voters and participants who would lose respect for SIMPOL and withdraw their support.

My personal view after the interview is that I was really impressed with John’s vision and initiative and agree with him that the current processes which he describes are likely to become more prevalent. As we evolve towards an ever more self-conscious self-organising living system, driven by the free flow of information and continued globalisation, it seems inevitable that people will increasingly collaborate across borders on a global scale with people who share their values, passions, interests and vision. I don’t think it’s likely that one particular organisation will control or facilitate the process but rather it’s already happening in many different forms and is likely to happen evermore. One should also bear in mind that it’s a process which can be carried out by narrow partisan interests, ideological groups, small interest groups, criminals and cabals as well as well motivated, enlightenment and well-meaning people. The opportunities and threats spiral up together. John’s vision is definitely call to people who have a passionate interest to closely collaborate with their like-minded peers on a global scale and act in synchrony. The process can be much catalysed by transparency, communication and the free flow of information. The remains for me the big question about the accountability and responsibility of groups who take up this kind of approach. It goes without saying that criminals and partisan interest groups need to be well controlled and disciplined but one should also bear in mind that just because people have high-minded values at, aspirations and vision and well-meaning doesn’t mean to say that the right or have practically useful ideas. Utopian ideas have previously lead to tyranny and piles of dead bodies, so accountability, scepticism, vigourous debate, good science and good democracy are all vital to make a success of this evolution.