Sodium Haze: Simpol - simply brilliant or simplistic?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Simpol - simply brilliant or simplistic?

The Haze is busy digesting groups that look like they might be sister organisations.

So we checked out Simpol - the project of John Bunzl - Simpol standing for Simultaneous Policy.
In his own words:
What? Adopt Simpol and drive governments to work together to solve the cause of the urgent global security problems affecting everyone’s lives. It’s obvious, problems such as climate change, global debt crises, poverty, war and bio-diversity loss, desperately need global solutions. There are thousands of Simpol Adopters in over 70 countries.
Well we agree it's urgent and we agree that global solutions will be needed. But let's do the maths here, John has been growing this campaign since 1998 and has 'thousands' of 'adopters' - so in 13 years Simpol has gained a few thousand adopters and the global population is 7 billion. If this is the most urgent response we can manage then we are surely doomed.
How? Through Global People Power! By Adopting Simpol you automatically inform your MP that those who sign the Simpol Pledge win Adopters votes and those who don’t, lose them. It’s still your choice, but if they don’t Pledge, MPs can only pretend to have the solutions. 24 UK MPs have already Pledged. Has yours?
Hmm - so we are to lobby MP's - this is hardly a new idea, its called democracy and it seems like a very UK focused kind of global operation. What are people in non-democratic states to do? And do we trust politicans and their pledges? (Nick Clegg and tuition fees?)
Who? By taking part in “The Big Political Takeover” alongside other global Adopters, YOU get to design and ultimately approve Simpol’s global policies. Simpol is free, open and participative global politics, without corporate influence. Simpol’s polices will be implemented by national governments simultaneously and in a fair-for-all way. Simpol is the International Simultaneous Policy Organisation.
The Haze is incredulous at this paragraph! How on earth is any agreement between Simpol 'adopters' going to be forged and what happens when they inevitably disagree with eachother? What if people disagree about the reality of climate change for example? How will Simpol's policies be implemented simultaneously in a ''fair-for-all' way? How will we make the leap from the jealously guarded national and corporate self interests to this new utopian reality?
Why? We need to think globally and act locally. National politics isn’t functioning because governments are reminded by global big business that tough regulation will mean jobs and money moving to other, more business-friendly countries. Also, demanding change isn’t enough. Instead, we’re organising the power of our votes and our common intelligence to be the real global change.
Piling pressure on to politicians is nothing new - they are used to it.

A lot of the trouble with the political class in this country and elsewhere, is that it has been captured by the financial services industry and other private corporate interests. The relationship between the UK Treasury and the City of London is described as 'a revolving door' and The Conservative party is funded by the big banks. Two million marched against the Iraq War and it achieved nothing. This whole idea seems astonishingly far fetched and proceding at far too slow a pace as Peak Oil and Climate Change rush ever nearer.

John has got a few celebrity endorsements - but I am afraid The Haze is totally non-plussed.
Anyway let's look at the six steps to Simpol
Step 1 – The World’s current problems
We recognise that the current competitive global marketplace dictates government policy and not the other way round. This is causing the world more and more problems.
The technological solutions already exist, what’s needed is the political solution
While we would certainly agree that big finance and neo-liberalist corporations make a mockery of national democracy and sovereignty in many ways, a politcal solution will be impossible while it is sought alongside our existing system of money supply. As long as the power to create money lies in the hands of private banks our politicians will be powerless eunuchs and utterly unable to do much beyond tinkering with the status quo.
2 – Simpol in a nutshell
Simpol supporters known as “Adopters” are a growing community of people around the world. We use our votes in a new way to drive governments to co-operate with each other to solve global problems.
Simpol is short for the “Simultaneous Policy” i.e. policies implemented globally and simultaneously.
We are not a political party. Instead we use our votes as a tool to bring about a political process for change; one that is open to everyone.
Simpol argues that only a fair policy that creates a truly level playing field for all countries and does not hold the $ as the number one priority, can give us the world most of us want to live in. Together, we are beginning to make this policy a living, breathing reality.
Interesting that Simpol adopters are swiftly called a 'community' - the mis-use of the word 'community' has no bounds it seems. How international governments are going to be 'driven' to co-operate is not explained but it seems an odd starting for a co-operative dialogue in any event.

How will the government of Saudi Arabia (a royal military dictatorship) be driven to co-operate with the rising economic power of China in a way that rescues islands in the South Pacific from rising sea levels driven by climate change? How will the government of Norway be driven to co-operate with the emerging consumer aspirations of India? Simple people power? Surely it's a lot more complicated than that? Certainly in this country I know well that the majority of the population wants their politicians to go into combat for the national interest on their behalf - how will that change?
Step 3 – What Simpol has achieved so far?
Simpol has seen great success in a short space of time. This is because it puts political power in the hands of the people. By joining together to use our votes across national borders, we have a practical way of taking us where we want to go.
Presently, there are Simpol Adopters in over 70 countries; 3 incorporated national organisations and an increasing number of politicians around the world who have signed the Simpol Pledge.
In the UK 27 MP’s from all the main parties and countless parliamentary candidates have already signed the Simpol Pledge.
In 2005, Adopters started a global process for developing the policies to be included in Simpol; the policies needed to solve global problems. Adopters can propose their own policies and these are refined and voted upon annually. Simpol is global self-governance in action! So why not get involved?
When political power isn't in reality even with the politicians I see no evidence that Simpol has or will 'deliver power into the hands of people'. I think I once signed up with John Bunzl many years ago and my power has not increased one jot and I see no prospects for it increasing.
We also held our first Global Co-operation Street Party (click for short film) in Brighton. It was a wonderful day of music, dance, theatre and community. We are planning for many more around the world to connect us together in a spirit of global co-operative action.
No surprise that the party was in Brighton - a hotbed of alternative thinking and the returner of the nation's only Green MP. I suspect the next party will not be held in Glasgow, Belfast or Richmond.
Step 4 – What can I do?
Firstly, Adopt Simpol. That means you put strong electoral pressure on politicians to support Simpol. You are saying: “I will vote in all future elections for any parliamentary candidate – within reason – who has signed the Simpol Pledge, or if I have a party preference, I want my preferred candidate to sign the Pledge.” Before you know it, politicians’ Pledges start coming in fast and furious. With many parliamentary seats, and even entire elections, often hanging on a very small number of votes, politicians who don’t take part in creating our people-centered global democracy, risk losing votes to those who do.
Simpol helps you to punch above your weight. So, Adopt Simpol and Multiply! Why not have a conversation about Simpol with two people per day asking them to join in? That way, we could well become the quickest route to long- term change. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi
We are baffled about why John thinks that participating in building this political pressure group is any different from any other but that isn't our real problem with it - the real issue is this statement from Step 2 above:
We are not a political party. Instead we use our votes as a tool to bring about a political process for change; one that is open to everyone...
They must certainly ARE a political party! By saying things like:
Climate change, environmental destruction, poverty and war – everything that gives you and all of humanity a heavy heart – cannot be properly solved by any government acting alone
They commit to a very political agenda. They take sides on the highly charged climate debate, mix all poverty and war in together as one lumpen problem and then recommend collective action to solve it.

Many many people will vehemently disagree with this worldview and the potential solution. People disagree about climate change and many more will see the advent of a socialist Orwellian global governance in what Simpol proposes - and fear it.

John Bunzl and Simpol live in a dream world, a world in which his left leaning ideas are shared across the globe by the majority of people who are just waiting for John to link them up - a world in which we have functional democracies that are truly accountable and and represent the people.

How can there be a simultaneous policy for anything when many of the governments represent narrow ethnic and clan interests of a wealthy elite. How will Simpol work in Bahrain, Afghanistan or North Korea?
Simpol attempts to redraw the political map of the globe while trying to appear non-political. This is naive in the extreme as the politics are implied in every word.

Simpol belongs in a category of organisation that aims for utopia by imagining that they can change everyone's worldview to their own. In fact Simpol is several steps backwards from even that - it doesn't even know it has an opinion and therefore thinks its bogus neutrality must be shared by all.

The 'bottom up' growth ideas of things like Simpol never work because the imagined consensus upon which the meme-spread depends doesn't actually exist.

The Haze believes that we already HAVE a global network of communication and co-operation - it's called trade and money.

Why not fix those by advancing sensible proposals that work WITH personal, family and national self interest. I am talking of course about monetary reform - that won't be easy to achieve but it will arrive a lot quicker than trying to grow a brand new bottom up consenus using muddled notions like Simpol.

What is particularly baffling is that John Bunzl is a proponent of monetary reform and even co-wrote a book on the subject with James Robertson. Not only baffling but worrying because we don't NEED Simpol to fix our monetary systems.

Muddling the monetary reform movement with utopian dreaming about global governance from below is a potentially disastrous distraction.

I hope that the energy and drive for monetary reform is not split and lost into the myriad of 'vaguely-new-age-left-leaning' dreamer organisations that are out there. The battle to reform our broken monetary systems is too important for that.

As I said yesterday while musing about the 'False Economy' website, the monetary reform movement needs to be very careful who it stands beside.

[This is now a mirror blog: the real deal has moved over to - why not look at the shiny new Haze!]
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