More United hosted a panel discussion on political disruption at Festival No. 6 last weekend, accompanied by two of the MPs we support. Co-founder Corinne Sawers shares her impressions.
Last weekend thousands of people poured into North Wales to enjoy the delights of Festival No. 6. Held in Portmeirion, a tiny sea-side hamlet designed to look like an old-world Italian village, this annual festival hosts a varied lineup of music, talks and activities.
Amidst this stunning setting, I was joined by Stephen Kinnock, MP for Aberavon and Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South, to share More United's vision for transforming politics. In dialogue with an audience of all ages, we discussed what inspired the birth of the movement last summer: the feeling that there was a gaping hole at the centre of politics, and that people lack routes to have meaningful impact on political outcomes.
The audience posed a range of fantastically stimulating questions: how to dismantle the barriers that stop people entering politics; the role that technology plays in driving political outcomes and how to combat the more insidious use of social media advertising; how to get MPs thinking more deeply about long term consequences.
We discussed the thorny issue of hard tribalism within our current political system - how it fails to reflect the increasing complexity of issues people care about - and how to address it.
My favourite moment of the panel discussion came when an audience member declared himself to hold ‘radical views’, and asked if he would be welcome as part of More United's community given this fact. Stephen Kinnock responded with characteristic thoughtfulness:
“The Latin 'radix' means 'root', and it is from this that the word 'radical' is derived. A true radical is someone who goes to the root cause of a problem, in all its complexity, and seeks to fix it. A radical knows that a building will collapse if its foundations are faulty, and a radical solution is therefore one that is foundational, as opposed to the superficial quick-fix.
In this sense radicalism is the antithesis of populism. Populists will always provide simplistic, one-dimensional answers that deliver the sugar rush of the easy sound-bite, and populists are the past masters of tapping into the politics of grievance. But that is the polar opposite of radicalism.
The radical embraces complexity, gathers evidence, seeks constructive dialogue, and builds consensus to find lasting, durable solutions. The radical persuades, the populist simply protests. British politics is in desperate need of more radicalism, in the true sense of the term.”
This captures exactly what More United is about. We seek to embrace this radical approach to political dialogue and political action, seeking deep understanding and genuine cooperation.
This movement is not about quick-fixes or snappy rhetoric or impulsive ultimatums. It’s about going to the root of the issues within British politics and seeking to build foundational solutions to those problems. I'm proud we're working with MPs like Stephen and Alison to make that happen.