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article imageUK campaign using Internet to create hung parliament

By Andrew John     Apr 15, 2010 in Politics
An Internet campaign using social media such as Twitter and Facebook is being launched in the UK today with the specific intention of preventing any one party from governing the country.
The campaign is called Hang ’em, because it's aimed at getting a “hung” parliament, whereby no one party has a big enough majority of seats to form a government. The idea is to have as many rebellious Members of Parliament (MPs) as possible, as well as electing independent candidates and those from smaller parties.
It's believed to be the first campaign of its kind in the world. Organizers say in a news release that the Internet has been used to support party campaigns but has never been used to challenge the choice on offer. It comes as politicians, economists and opinion polls suggest a groundswell of support for a “hung” parliament, and the much-needed reform they say will not otherwise take place.
The aim of the non-partisan campaign is to bring about a well-mixed parliament with as many MPs as possible from such parties as the Greens, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru (the Welsh Nationalists), as well as the third party in the current parliament, the Liberal Democrats, and other, smaller, parties.
Currently, Labour holds the majority of seats in the House of Commons and is the governing party, and the Tories (Conservatives) are the official Opposition, with the second-highest number of seats.
The organizers of Hang ’em are setting out “to frustrate the bosses of the Labour and Tory Parties” and open up British politics. Their message is: “We have got to renew democracy in Britain. They won’t, so hang ’em until they do.”
Candidates to be supported by Hang ’em will be chosen based on four questions: (1) 1. Realistically, could they win? (2) Are they neither Labour nor Tory loyalists? (3) Do they have a record of independence, rebellion, and integrity? (4) Are they from a smaller party or independent (the smaller the better, the campaigners say)?
The candidates will be listed on the Hang ’em website. Hang ’em was formed by an informal and growing ad hoc network of volunteers with no funding.
Anthony Barnett, former director of the long-standing British electoral campaigning group Charter 88, said: “The aim of Hang ’em is not ideological. It is not about voting for a candidate whose views you agree with, and is likely to lose. It’s about voting for people with integrity and character – the more independent the better – including Tories and Labour candidates with a record of rebellion.
“It’s about joining up with people across Britain, from right and left and centre, who feel the same way. It’s about starting to turn anger into something positive.”
Jonathan Bartley from the Christian thin tank Ekklesia, which is part of the campaign, said: “Many are furious with a political class who they feel have waged war without consent, spent taxes to line their pockets, invaded privacy with cameras and lied about nearly all of it. And nor will they let people decide the issues central to democracy. We have got to renew the political system in Britain. A hung parliament would be a more representative parliament, and there is now a clear political and economic case for it.”
Helen Lambert, web designer from PoliceStateUK, said: “The two parties have become ever more complacent while reducing MPs to their playthings. We need to break politics open and the quickest way is to hang parliament.”
More about Hung parliament, Internet, Election, General election, Labour party
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