There are various arguments that, in my time with Simpol, I have heard over and over again. Without exception they are based on misunderstanding what Simpol is and does. AS a result, I’ve produced 5 (so far) peices setting the record straight on these matters. I’ve decided here, to bunch all of them together as a ‘quick reference’. This of it as a kind of FAQ. So, without further ado…
1. Simpol is a means to ‘One World Government’.
First off, we can have a look at what the concern actually is here. In a letter to a bishop as far back as 1887, Lord Acton famously declared that
‘power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.
Human history is, of course, littered with the tragic proof of the truth of this statement.
So those people who raise this issue start, undeniably, from a legitimate source of concern. They are concerned that if one, singular world government is established it would be liable to be massively corrupt and unaccountable. They see the totalitarian parties in numerous countries in the past and wonder what it would have been like if they had had no one to oppose them. Imagine for a moment that there had not been the allied powers to stop the Nazis for example…
So, when they see or hear about Simpol, these people are worried that Simultaneous Policy, via Simpol will lead to precisely this kind of government.
But they are wrong. Simpol is absolutely NOT one world government.
Simpol is, in fact a mechanism for global cooperative governance.
The difference between government and governance is a profound and important one in general and in the case of Simpol particularly so.
To explain the difference I will use an analogy. If I have one firework I can place it, light the fuse and allow it to go off. But no matter how large that firework is, I cannot say that it went off simultaneously. To say that makes no sense. If, however, I have ten fireworks and I am able to wire them together into one launch unit (not that I’d personally have the first idea how to do this, but it seems to work well enough at the professional displays!) then I can indeed say that all ten went off simultaneously.
What we can establish from this is the principle that simultaneity requires plurality. For something to take place simultaneously, there must be a number of entities to start with.
This principle applies equally to politics with Simpol and the Simultaneous Policy. There must be a number of governments to act simultaneously. The Simpol pledge, which is signed by the politicians, states that they will:
“…vote in the Parliament for the Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) to be
implemented when the governments of all, or sufficient, nations have likewise pledged to implement it…”
So, by definition, this pledge requires there to be nations states and therefore national governments. What Simpol provides, then, is a mechanism that allows these nations to work together cooperatively and thus overcome the system of destructive international competition that paralyses policy creation in modern politics.
Simpol makes no requirement of global government whatsoever and, further, it protects the rights of those nations by only creating policies with global simultaneous scope.
Simpol will not, for example, take any part or position in the debate and subsequent referendum on the voting system currently taking place in the UK. This is a purely national issue and so Simpol remains entirely impartial and dispassionate about it.
Similarly, when policies are proposed for inclusion in the Simultaneous Policy manifesto they are voted on each year by Simpol adopters. In this voting process there are a number of criteria that any proposal must meet to be included. Amongst these is the requirement that the policy proposal have this necessary global scope. The surest way for any policy to be ‘struck down’ is for voters to indicate that it is a policy of national scope only.
In these ways the sovereignty of nations is protected – even encouraged – by Simpol, the potential horrors of corrupt global government can be avoided and humanity can move forward together cooperatively towards a more just, prosperous and sustainable world.
2. Simpol is not realistic/practicable
When we go out onto the streets with the Simpol street stall (see our flickr pics on the right of the page) to talk to people about adopting. Perhaps the most common response from people once we have explained it can be characterised by the phrase “well, it’s a nice idea but…”
Simpol is seen as some sort of grand utopian vision that can never really come to fruition. This response is based on the assumption that people are bad at cooperating and can never be truly brought together (There is also a corollary to this in that people worry that any attempt to do so must necessarily involve the use of force but I’ll cover that another time).
Thus people assume that Simpol, however good an idea it might be and however well intentioned, will forever remain nothing more than a pipe dream.
However a number of counter arguments can be set out as follows:
What choice is there? The evidence is clear and unequivocal that the current system of destructive international competition is not working. The road we are currently travelling (and have been since the time of the industrial revolution at least) leads only to ruin. There is no future that way. Together we stand, divided we fall.
Human adaptability. From our very earliest origins, humans have shown an incredible ability to adapt to changing circumstances. This has been key to our survival and prosperity throughout our history as a species. Yet now when the evidence clearly points to a need for wholesale change and adaptation, we resist it. We CAN adapt and we CAN become more cooperative – we simply need a means to achieve that change. Welcome to Simpol!
Strategy. The task is not as big as it might at first seem. In western democracies, where votes are the decisive political mechanism we see a change in recent years. As party politics falls apart and nations become ever more tightly constrained by the strait jacket of a purely money and competition oriented agenda we have seen falling voter turnouts and increasing voter apathy – an implicit recognition by citizens of the failure of the current system. We have also seen that elections are increasingly won on tiny margins. Indeed whole elections may turn on a relative ‘handful’ of seats. The impact of this in disenfranchising voters is well documented.
Until now however, no solution has been proposed. Simpol is that solution. By offering voters a way to create policy and a means to use their votes in a coordinated way, Simpol affords citizens the opportunity to drive their politicians to achieve real and lasting solutions to global problems. In turn, their national political systems can be brought back to life.
With such small margins dictating seats and sometimes whole elections, it becomes clear that a relatively small number of adopters can have a huge impact.
The more adopters there are the greater that impact. So become a Simpol adopter today and you can be part of the solution!
3. The Simpol agenda is set by the Simpol organisation
This is a nice quick one to correct but has come up surprisingly often of late.
The decidedly non complex answer to this – as regular readers and those familiar with Simpol will already know – is that the Simpol agenda is set by the Simpol supporters. That is the ordinary citizens and voters.
We are working with other NGOs to help formulate policy but, since they are made up of their supporters, it amounts to the same thing anyway.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Simpol is not about us, it’s about YOU.
4. Simpol promotes its global initiative to the exclusion of all other levels of action.
This one comes up from time to time and it is understandable that it does. Simpol argues that the root cause of many of our problems is destructive international competition. It proposes that the only way to cure this root cause in the long term is to enact simultaneous policy implementation.
It may therefore seem that Simpol is stating this is the ONLY action that can have ANY effect. This is categorically not the case. It is in fact a false dichotomy that helps no one.
Simpol is a long term global strategy. But it recognises explicitly that short term local, regional and national strategies are also vital to mitigate the immediate negative effects of the current system. To use a medical analogy, just because the doctor knows that surgery will be required to cure an illness, does not mean that they will withhold pain relief medication or anti-biotics in the short term.
The two approaches should be clearly seen as being both compatible and mutually beneficial.
5. Simpol is a voting system
This started from a question that was asked over on facebook. The question was: what voting system do you prefer? The answers offered included FPTP, STV, PR, AV and so on. Simpol was also included in this list.
This is not how Simpol works.
Simultaneous Policy is a way for citizens to coordinate their votes in order to drive their politicians to enact necessary policies. As such, Simpol can use whatever system of voting is already in place. Let me illustrate this by giving a couple of examples:
FPTP – We all know how this system works. The candidate with the highest number of votes wins. Easy. In this instance, the coordinated votes of Simpol supporters act act as an incentive for potential candidates to peldge to implement the Simultaneous Policy. Doing so means they can attract the voting bloc and thus increase their total number of votes.
AV – In this case any candidate who pledges seeks to use the voting bloc as above with FPTP. If they can do this, they increase their chances of being the first preference choice. However, candidates who do not make the first cut, as it were, can also look to the Simpol voting bloc as a potential means to get second preference votes. In this way there is even greater reason for candidates to pledge under this voting system.
I have chosen these examples, since they were the two systems most recently on offer.
However, it should be clear that Simpol can work under any of the other voting systems available as well.