Inquiry Wants to Give Power Back to People; 'Spin' Has Become the Unhappy Buzz Word That Sums Up Politics for a Whole Generation of Voters - So It Is Any Wonder That People Are Turning Away from the Ballot Box? Today Pam Giddy, Director of the Power Inquiry, Discusses the Launch of a New Campaign Designed to Discover Why Politics Isn't Working Political Faces Come and Go, but the Overwhelming View Is That Nothing Really Changes

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Byline: Pam Giddy

Why is it that almost everything you hear from Westminster these days turns you off politics? The number of people voting is at an all time low.

Most of us think we have no influence over those we elect except when it comes to elections.

Political faces come and go, but the overwhelming view is that nothing really changes.

The sense that we can't do anything about it is depressing but entirely understandable. But the fact that more and more of us are turning off politics actually feeds the problem. It's letting politicians off the hook and allowing them to fix things in their own interest.

But we are interested in the issues and decisions that affect our lives and our communities.

Up and down the country and across the Midlands we're involved in local charities, tenants associations, as school governors, in clubs, community groups and, when it matters, we campaign for things to be different.

Whether we are fighting a road building scheme, opposing the closure of a Post Office or doing our bit for the environment we are interested in the issues that matter to us.

The fact of the matter is that we haven't given up on politics.

It's just that politics appears to have given up on us.

At the Power Inquiry, we spent 18 months trying to find out what the problems were and seeing what could be done to make politics and our democracy better. We travelled the country and heard from thousands of people who had views on why politics isn't working. At its heart, the problem we found was that our political system is designed by the elite and for the elite. Any changes that are made rarely undermine the power of those in charge.

The stench of sleaze and corruption is everywhere and it threatens our democracy very seriously indeed. The loans for peerages scandal was possibly an all time low. But the inquiry that followed led by civil servant Sir Hayden Phillips was only charged with finding a solution that the parties agree on and not what is in the best interests of the country.

So, what are we going to do about it? Sit back and let them damage our democracy - one of the most valuable things we have?

Today, the Power Inquiry is launching a campaign that will change our politics for good. But it will only happen if we all show the people

who run this country that its time for change. We have to make it an issue that they cannot duck' that they cannot ignore.

The Make It An Issue campaign is calling for four main changes. One, there should be clear democratic rules designed in the interests of citizens rather than politicians. Two, we have to remove the stench of money and patronage from politics. Three, the public must have more of a say in the big decisions that affect us all, whether it is going to war in Iraq or revamping New Street station. …