Now here is a much
larger list of ideas which are far less well-developed.
1. FIXING PUBLIC SERVICE
Pick any public service which you feel
is running poorly or is costing too much. Examples include
poor street cleaning, poor refuse collection, resolution
of noisy neighbour problems, and other need to use the police,
trading standards, public health people, idiotic settings
on traffic lights, stinking tap water, pointless one-way
systems, silly speed limits, poor public amenities like
libraries or swimming pools, disgusting public loos, etc.
In good faith, and politely - try to
use that service and document your efforts by keeping
all correspondence, recording calls, etc. If you have
cause for complaint, make your complaint. Again - document
everything. Escalate as appropriate until you reach some
kind of a conclusion (even if it's that you should give
up). Then write an article describing your experience.
Inform the people you're complaiing about that your article
is now online and invite them to comment. Include their
comments in the article.
Why bother? Well, it's pressure. It will raise the profile
of the poor public consumer. It will cause ripples at
each level you complained to. You will have gained valuable
experience in complaining, and will have passed that on
to your readers. You will have stepped outside your "stay
low & don't rock the boat" comfort zone and have
encouraged others to do the same. You will have provided
content for ouor website which will inform and entertain,
and which will be another hook for search engines to find
2. FIXING THE WATCHDOGS
Do everything above, and when you get
to the top or you're out of ideas, take the issue to the
watchdog organisation, and do it all again. I'm doing this
with OFFCOM about advertising, and with POSTWATCH about
the Royal Mail. I've done it with several trading standards
3. FIXING THE PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVES
Where appropriate, take issues you're
not getting fixed to your elected public representative.
See how well they work for you, and again - document it
here. If they are an MP, then consider completing an MP
Conduct report, here.
4. FIXING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE
Ask your local council for a copy of their
annual report. Read it. I guarantee it will raise more questions
that it answers. Find some questions which seem important
to you and try to resolve them with your council. See how
open and accountable they are, and try to get to the bottom
of your issue. Document your progress, your conclusions,
lessons learned, hints & tips for others doing similar
work. Give the council the right of reply.
5. BECOMING A PUBLIC REPRESENTATIVE
One of the most powerful and positive
ways LFB can Fix Britainis by becoming active in
the running of Britain. So set about joining your local
school's board of governors, or becoming a local councillor,
or an MP, a magistrate, a member of the local police authority,
a charity workers, and so on. Document your efforts. If
you succeed - tell us why you did it, what it's like, what's
in it for you, what you've been able to accomplish, and
why others should follow your example.
6. FIXING CONSUMER RIGHTS
Take any negative incident from your personal
experience as a consumer of goods or services from another
company - or take one from your friend. Pursue it to the
end, and document your experiences here. You can see an
7. FIXING A LONG-STANDING WRONG
Find an example where the national status
quo is wrong, and set about using the mechanisms of our
society to put it right. Examples might be getting smoking
banned in public places, changing the way advertising is
allowed to mis-represent products and propogate lies, getting
all government meetings televised & made available on
8. FIXING CHARITIES
Charities get tax breaks, and many are
funded in part from government funds. In my opinion, some
deliver poor value for money, and are complacent and hostile
to enquiries about their effectiveness. Pick a charity,
and try to acquire a full understanding of what they do
and what they cost. Document your findings.
9. FIXING SPAMMERS
Take any item of SPAM from your IN box
- preferably one from a UK SPAMmer. Work to expose them
and remove them from operation.
Any spammer has to provide you with a way to give them money.
Use it to contact them. You can see an example of this here.
10. FIXING THE WORKPLACE
Find a sitaution at work which you feel
is wrong. Set about righting it. Perhaps there are favourites
and the meritocracy isn't working well. Perhaps you have
a bullying boss, or one who hides his incompetence and takes
credit for your work. Perhaps your company does illegal
things or has a contemptuous attitude to it's customers,
or supports sharp practice. Perhaps they are covering up
nasty secrets. Set about rigihting the wrong and document
it here is fully as you safely can. You must be responsible
for acting legally and ensuring that you don't destroy your
job, career, or reputation.
12. FIXING PUBLIC LOOPHOLES
If you suspect that someone is shafting
society, then try to get it fixed. First use the existing
societal machinery, then, if that doesn't work, escalate
and complain and consider alternatives. Examples might be
someone you know on benefit fraud, someone who carries crutches
but clearly doesn't need them, people evading tax, etc.
13. FIXING THE E.U.
A tad ambitious??
I'm endlessly worried about almost everything I hear about
the EU, what it costs us, what they're planning to do, how
their financialy accounts have been repeatedly rejected
by the auditors, how their internal auditor was removed
for trying to do her job too well, how every commissioner
was forced to resign in disgrace then was re-appointed.
Us your MEP to dig for clear answers. Document your findings
14. FIXING GOVERNMENT
There are a number of things we could
do to improve the way government works. Two examples:
a/ It is common practice for one friendly
MPs to ask a question of another which is not really a question,
but is just a device to allow the responding MP to talk
up some accomplishment. For example "Would the honourable
member not agree with me, that we are a lovely party, and
should be re-elected at the earliest convenience?".
b/ It is also common for MPs to avoid answering questions
from hostile MPs (or simply those whose question it is not
convenient to answer). Why don't we upgrade the rules to
disallow this too, and have the Speaker of the house require
that a question be answered substantively?
I would love to see what happens if you
try to propose this to our illustrious and hallowed government.
15. FIX A PATICULAR COMPANY
One heroic individual got so utterly
fed upwith the dreadful service which NTL dished up
daily, that he formed a website called NTHELLWORLD.COM.
On it, he wrote about all things NTL, and through this website
NTL customersd were able to interact, share useful information
about contacts, current lies being trotted out, and what
to say to get things done. It was so successful that NTL
bought the company". The owner was employed by them
and the website no longer exists in its old form.
LFB could host any number of sub-sites, each one devoted
to monitoring a specific organisation along the lines of
NTHELLWORLD. Companies like the utilities spring to mind,
but we could also have sub-sites for specific public bodies.
(There's a website called "ombudsmanwatch.org",
for example, set up to collect and disseminate the news
about the poor job which local government ombudsmen are
doing up and down the country. If you want to be a sub-site
manager, just let us know.
16. FIXING DISHONEST PRODUCT PACKAGING
Why is it that ... the pictures on boxed ready meals never
tell the truth? Well, Mr Cynical here, has three answers:
(1) These pictures lie because the manufacturers want
to sell more meals by presenting their products not just
in their best light - but in their better than
best light. In other words, they're happy to misrepresent
the truth to dupe you into a sale.
(2) What they do is to manipulate the products artificially
to make them look more apealing; clycerine can be used to
make stuff shiny; washing up liquid can be used to make
beers foam; food can actually be painted to improve its
appearance. And so on.
(3) These pictures are allowed to lie because
the law is an irrelevance - it either doesn't make this
kind of lying illegal - or else it does, but no-one gives
enough of a stuff to make the law stick.
Why not start a campaign to make this problem go away?