"Come on down to The Sheffield Alternative Election to engage in some direct democracy!This is call for policies. Policies you would like to see implemented. Policies that you would like to define your government; your country. The Sheffield Alternative Election team invite you to submit anything, including policies that revise the very system they are proposing. They invite you to design a better future for Sheffield, to be presented at a launch party on the night of the general election... Don't let yourself deflate with the post-voting blues! Let's feel excited about the future again!"
Dissatisfied by the choice presented to us in the 2015 General Election, Ben Jackson and I decided to produce an antidote to the feeling of despondency that fell fog-like over our Sheffield. We felt frustrated that our choice was severely limited, practically impotent despite supposedly living in a democracy.
The obvious thing to do, then, was to hold our own vote: implement and use an alternative voting system in Sheffield. We installed our production at Theatre Delicatessen on the Moor for the week running up to the election.
We collected well over 100 policies, and lots of other contributions around the space.
We launched on the night of the election, holding a live vote-in introduced by speakers who each gave an insight into a different issue which we believed deserved airing at this nationally significant time.
The vote itself was successful insofar as we created a Sheffield Constitution (yay!), but as a voting experiment it actually taught us a lot more about the importance of debate and about how to democratically manage events.