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OVERVIEW OF MANIFESTO

DETERMINATION OF POLICY

Issues of policy fall into one of two main categories. Where decisions have highly complex ramifications it is the duty of the party to explain the effects of the decision and initiate a public debate. Other decisions have little external effect and hence can be based on the wish of the majority of the British people - in other words real democracy. Other political parties produce a Manifesto of policies which are normally the wish of Party Members or, as we are seeing more and more, the wishes of a few elite who then impose their views on elected representatives - this is not democracy.

It is not however our intention to abdicate responsibility for leadership by hiding behind democracy. Information, consultation and then implementation is the guiding principle.

Between now and the next General Election, we shall continue to identify issues which command a majority of the British people. These wishes then become, automatically, our policies and, given the opportunity, would be implemented as soon as possible after the election. Obtaining the decisions of the people is in many instances clear-cut. Where a majority is large, for example, a 60:40 ratio, independent opinion polls conducted by reputable organisations such as Gallop, Mori, NOP etc., provide sufficient evidence. A very close decision, such as the Welsh Referendum, would not be considered decisive if the data had been obtained from an opinion poll. In addition, information can be gathered from consultation with the electorate via the media, open meetings, personal consultation with both lobby groups and individuals etc. This method is considered to be a much more reliable indication of a majority than the current 'methods' used in the U.K.

There are many important areas of policy where the understandable wish of the people must be tempered with reality, eg expenditure for the NHS; then the task of the DP is to explain to the public the consequence on taxation of increasing expenditure in the NHS. A similar situation applies to Defence, the Economy, Education and the like. It is not our intention to remain passive in these areas, but to identify the problems and propose solutions, together with the implications that these solutions would have on the electorate. We believe that our close consultation with the electorate, while obtaining the wish of the people, would allow us to be both more accurate and sincere in our proposals, than existing parties. Whether we have succeeded in achieving these objectives will be decided at the ballot box.

Decisions already reached and, hence policies decided, are shown in these web pages as 'drafts for consultation', as listed in the Manifesto. Detailed papers on each topic are being prepared and will be published in good time for public discussion to take place before the General Election.

CENTRAL OFFICE & BRANCH ARRANGEMENTS

Autonomy

Although some degree of Central Office supervision is necessary to prevent malpractice, it is the intention of the DP Council to ensure that each Branch Office has as great a degree of autonomy as possible.

It is important, however, to establish and maintain the general principle of a branch being self-sufficient. This is to avoid the disastrous accusation of a "rich man buying democracy"; a charge that was made incorrectly against Sir James Goldsmith, but with very damaging effect.

Candidate Selection

To this end, the members of a branch will select a candidate, who will then attend a training course in Malvern. It is only if the Council considers that a particular candidate shows major problems that the Branch Committee would be consulted. The question to the branch would be "Have you really considered this candidate properly", and in particular 'this aspect'?

Finance

In general, it is the intention that each branch is responsible for its own financial arrangements. However, to encourage recruitment, a fixed proportion, provisionally fixed at 25% of each member's subscription will be paid to his/her branch automatically upon enrolment, and thereafter at renewal time.

It is hoped that Central Office funds will build sufficiently to allow grants to be paid to branches for approved activities, for example - the hiring of a large hall.

Constitution

A constitution, i.e. rules governing the Central Office/Branch Office relationship is currently under preparation. Copies will be published for comment in the near future.

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