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Fixing Britain?
Consumer Programs


Chris

The Traditional Role of Program Makers

Programs in the media can and do fulfil useful functions in the investigative, political and consumer affairs areas.

By exposing wrong-doings of all kinds, they alert consumers, electors, perhaps law enforcement bodies to the facts. These groups may then vote, buy or prosecute in ways which cause permanent positive change.

But media programs have major limitations:

1. The issues they cover are quickly forgotten.

2. The mechanisms by which problem reports are mapped into permanent structural resolutions are all severely flawed.

3. Airtime is very limited, so only a tiny percentage of problems can be addressed, and within each issue, exploration is often limited & discussions generally guillotined.

How can we get more permanent, structural change in society? Well, the conventional mechanisms are largely ineffective for everyday problems:

1. The political system is a blunt, slow-moving instrument with many reasons to conceal and maintain the status quo.

2. Speaking to your MP is very unlikely to do any good any time soon - if ever.

3. Local authorities tend to be inefficient and un-interested.

4. The police are overloaded and seldom have time to devote to smaller issues.

5. The legal system is also overloaded, expensive and slow - it's not a practical tool for most problems.

So there is a huge gap, in which ordinary members of the public live their lives. They see poor, complacent service from companies and public authorities. They recognise that they have no practical ways to fix anything, so they get ulcers and tolerate it. They avoid watching the news because it's too bewildering. And they feel voting is a waste of time.

A Better Way

What can we do? Well, "Ah have a dream!"

The "Let's Fix Britain" (LFB) organisation seeks to mobilise members of the public to work in the areas which need working. This "bottom-up" approach is non-political, and highly practical. By using force of numbers and sharing our data and our methods, we want to mobilise the public in the following ways:

1. As consumers we stand up for and promote excellence in customer service.

2. As scrutinizers, we take an active interest in the running of public bodies, including local and national governments.

3. As electors, we are growing a national database to provide information to help us become informed voters.

4. We have exciting new ideas for combating crime.

5. As citizens we try to grow ourselves, and to increase our contribution to society.

We do all this together, growing strength, enthusiasm and know-how, largely through our website.

What can Program Makers do to Help?

A lot. Here are my ideas.

1. Publicise us in your programs and support systems (newsletters, websites, etc.)

2. Give us permission to use your endorsements at our website & in our newsletters.

3. Contribute to our newsletters and website - or allow us to re-use your material on our website.

4. Add a "WHAT NOW?" section to some of your reports, and point them to your website and to ours. At ours, they can join us and work to permanently apply pressure and to monitor progress and to re-escalate back to you if things get worse. They can interact via our bulletin board, write articles to inspire and inform each other, and so on.

Thinking Bigger

If we had Public Access TV in the UK, then perhaps LFB could be on it. As it is, we could web cast a radio or a TV channel if we had the people to resource it. Is there room for a Let's Fix Britain program on Mainstream TV in the UK? I think so - like Watchdog but with teeth, persistence and public involvement, and without the silly dumbed-down presentation.

And with satellite and cable delivering upwards of a hundred channels into our homes, what about a channel dedicated to the things we're interested in?

All of these endeavours could raise the profile of "wrongs and righting them" in the UK. We could activate far more people to do the work of setting things straight.

If you want to get involved please contact us via this website.

 
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