Monday, 6 August 2012

PoliticsUK interview with Mark Horler from Simpol

Politics UK · 4,430 like this.
29 May at 19:55 · 
  • This is the thread that will be used for PoliticsUK interview with Mark Horler from Simpol.

    All questions will initially be asked by PoliticsUK. Once these questions are done, the thread will be open for users.
    ‎29 May at 20:00 at PoliticsUK Wall
    1 ·  · 
      • Politics UK Hi Mark, can you tell us how you first become involved in Simpol?
        29 May at 19:58 · 
      • Mark Horler Hiya. Thanks for inviting me to do this interview. I first came across simpol in 2005 at WOMAD festival, where they were running a stall. The next year I came back to help them on the stall and got involved with the local group. When I moved away from that area, I kind of lost touch, but it was there in the back of my mind. Fast forward to 2010 and I got an email asking for volunteers. I got in touch, got on board again and never looked back!
        29 May at 19:58 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK Can you give us a broad outline to the concept behind Simpol?
        29 May at 19:59 · 
      • Mark Horler Sure, but I'll be brief on this..

        The idea is that Simpol offers a way to solve today’s global problems; problems individual national governments cannot resolve by acting alone because they transcend national boundaries.

        This is possible by way of simultaneous implementation. Simultaneous implementation would ensure that no country became uncompetitive as a result of pursuing policies that were right for the planet and which embodied people's higher aspirations.
        29 May at 20:00 ·  · 2
      • Politics UK Can you tell us a little about John Bunzl, Simpols’ founder?
        29 May at 20:00 · 
      • Mark Horler John is a businessman, who had a brilliant idea back in 1998. He turned this idea into a book and, subsequently, into a global campaigning organisation. Obviously this was a great deal more hard work than that short sentence implies, but that's the essence of it. :)
        29 May at 20:01 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK In what countries is Simpol active in?
        29 May at 20:02 · 
      • Mark Horler The most advanced campaign is here in the UK. There are also well established national organisations in Australia, New Zealand and Germany. There are others too - for a full list see our website (plug!).

        In addition to the actual organisations, we also obviously seek to raise awareness in all countries. As a result - and via the wonders of the internet - we have supporters all over the world.
        29 May at 20:04 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK Why is Simpol so important in a Global society?
        29 May at 20:04 · 
      • Mark Horler Because global society requires global governance, put simply. As far as I know, no one else is offering that right now in the way that Simpol is. In fact, it is pretty clearly and sadly lacking, to be honest.
        29 May at 20:05 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK How are Simpols’ policy developed?
        29 May at 20:06 · 
      • Mark Horler 
        Policies are proposed by simpol supporters - be they individuals or groups. These proposals must meet certain minimum requirements and a minimum level of support. Once they have achieved this they are put into the policy process, to be vote
        d on annually by all simpol supporters. This is, of course, absolutely crucial to the whole thing; both in terms of Simpol avoiding any conflict of interest and for the whole thing to be genuinely democratic.

        The policies remain provisional until such time as implementation becomes possible. This is for two reasons. Firstly, to allow the policies to remain flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances and, secondly, to allow everyone a say, whenever they might come to Simpol.
        29 May at 20:09 · 
      • Politics UK What prevents present governments from solving global problems?
        29 May at 20:09 · 
      • Mark Horler 
        Any nation acting alone to implement solutions to the problems we face at the global level, risks making their nation uncompetitive in the global marketplace. This, in turn, would result in capital flight and job losses as businesses move t
        heir operations to nations with conditions more favourable to business. Any government enacting such a policy, with such a result, would be effectively committing political suicide.

        The inevitable result of this is a competitive 'race to the bottom' which does nobody any good.
        29 May at 20:11 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK How can you get non-democratic countries to join Simpol?
        29 May at 20:11 · 
      • Mark Horler It is more difficult, admittedly. However, these countries are not immune to the effects of these global problems and so they will have to act eventually to find solutions. As it becomes clear that Simultaneous Policy offers a genuine solution, it will be in the interests of those countries to be a part of it.
        29 May at 20:12 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK Why use Simpol when we have UN-sponsored international negotiations? (I.e. Carbon emissions?)
        29 May at 20:12 · 
      • Mark Horler I could give a very long answer to this, but I'll just summarise for now:

        1 - The competitiveness problem. treaty making is all well and good, but when the politicians fly home, they still run up against the problem of competitiveness. Ta
        rgets, inevitably, get missed.

        2 - Most treaties deal with one issue at a time. By contrast, Simpol offers a multi-issue policy framework that allows nations to give a little on one issue and take a little on another. The chance of success and of genuine cooperation is thus considerably increased.

        Couple this with the voter power Simpol offers...
        29 May at 20:14 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK How do you ensure Simpol only includes policies that genuinely require simultaneous implementation?
        29 May at 20:14 · 
      • Mark Horler We divide policies into two groups: national and global. The dividing line is the competitive effect of a proposed policy. This divide is of crucial importance to the entire Simpol process.

        Policies where implementation would have no effe
        ct, or a positive effect, on international competitiveness are national policies. These Simpol takes no part in.

        Global policies are those where the proposed policy WOULD damage competitiveness if implemented unilaterally. These are the policies that require simultaneous implementation.
        29 May at 20:16 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK “Politicians have no choice but to implement policies designed to attract or retain capital so as to maintain employment and competitiveness.”
        Is this true and how would Simpol change this?
        29 May at 20:17 · 
      • Mark Horler Yes it is true. Only a very narrow, business friendly agenda is possible now. Whatever politicians propose in order to get elected, once they are in power they must conform.

        This creates the 'first mover disadvantage' that is so damaging. It is this that Simpol removes, creating a level playing field for all and allowing for a greater diversity of opinions, ideas and policies after it.
        29 May at 20:20 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK Simpol highlights poor corporate behaviour such as acting unethically or taking advantage of countries with lower regulations.
        So, are corporate executives and global investors to blame for Global problems?
        29 May at 20:20 · 
      • Mark Horler Not really no. Obviously, there are certain instances where corporate bad behaviour takes place. No excuse should be made for that.

        But the truth is, in fact, that the corporations are bound to the same rules and the same problems as gove
        rnments. The corporation that acts ethically, alone, is the corporation that loses out to its competitors.

        Effective global governance is actually in the interests of business and many businesses already recognise this. But they, like the politicians, are powerless to do anything about it.
        29 May at 20:22 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK Simpol speak of ‘Global Regulations’ on their website. Does Simpol see ‘free trade’ as a part of the social-economical problem?
        29 May at 20:22 · 
      • Mark Horler Simpol recognises and highlights the problems of destructive, unrestrained international competition. It seeks to remedy this by creating genuine global governance via the power of the people. It's up to the people to decide what system they use after that.
        29 May at 20:23 · 
      • Politics UK Simpol speaks of ‘effective global regulations and governance.’
        Can you give us examples of this?
        29 May at 20:24 · 
      • Mark Horler I assume you means what sort of policies are being proposed by citizens? As I said earlier, this remains flexible, but the current top ten issues amongst our supporters are:

        Climate change, Financial market regulation, Transnational corporations, Global and national governance, Environment, Human rights, International trading system, International conflict resolution, International understanding & Disarmament.
        29 May at 20:25 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK From
        "If all or sufficient nations act simultaneously, no nation, corporation or citizens need lose out to any other: global and simultaneous – everybody wins.”
        Can you explain this statement?
        29 May at 20:26 · 
      • Mark Horler Certainly. As I explained earlier on, the simultaneous implementation system overcomes the competitive 'first mover' disadvantage. We all cooperate the bring it about and we all benefit from the outcome. Win-Win! :)
        29 May at 20:27 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK Is Simpol vision an unreachable utopia or is it a bridge to a better world?
        29 May at 20:28 · 
      • Mark Horler 
        Very much a bridge. All sorts of things become possible once that bridge has been crossed. I evened designed a little doodle (admittedly, butchering a well known meme!) to illustrate this point:

        From a more personal point of view, I sometimes wonder at the cynicism of the 'unreachable utopia' idea. I'm as cynical as the next man (possibly more so), but if we cannot dare to dream, what hope is there for us really?
        29 May at 20:31 ·  · 1 · 
      • Politics UK Would some countries lose power and influence by joining Simpol?
        29 May at 20:31 · 
      • Mark Horler I don't think so no. But if I may be candid for a moment, I think it high time nations (by which I mean governments) stopped worrying so much about power, pride and influence and start thinking a great deal more about the people they are supposed to represent! Simpol is a powerful and novel way for the citizens to drive them to do just that!
        29 May at 20:33 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK How much support does Simpol have at the moment in the UK?
        29 May at 20:33 · 
      • Mark Horler We have around about 5000 supporters (and rising) in the UK. At the last elections, somewhere in the region of 200 candidates signed the Simpol pledge. 24 of them, from across all the main political parties, are now sitting in parliament.
        29 May at 20:34 · 
      • Politics UK How would Simpol help solve the present economic problems?
        29 May at 20:35 · 
      • Mark Horler Generally speaking, Simpol would not take a view on UK specific national economic policy. But I think, since the roots of the current problems are very much international...

        We have been presented with a crisis caused by precisely the syst
        em Simpol is trying to fundamentally reform. The response to this has been to try, at all times, to keep the favour of 'the markets' - to remain competitive, in other words. As a result, we have ended up with austerity policies which are actually counterproductive from almost every possible angle. All in the name of being competitive.

        This is the locked door to which Simpol offers the keys to the people.
        29 May at 20:38 · 
      • Politics UK How would Simpol help solve climate change?
        29 May at 20:39 · 
      • Mark Horler Heh, I could go on and on and on about this. John Bunzl even wrote a book about it! But the short answer is that it is hard to think of a policy which more desperately needs a simultaneous policy approach! (Perhaps nuclear disarmament...)

        What form that should take is open to proposals from supporters of course.
        29 May at 20:42 ·  · 1
      • Politics UK Finally, What are Simpols' plans for the future?
        29 May at 20:42 · 
      • Mark Horler These are pretty exciting times for us actually. Following a year of 'leg work' we are now ready to really get out there big time!

        We've just completed the new website and are building the online policy forum. We're now increasingly atten
        ding events and raising awareness (so keep and eye out in your area). There's also something very interesting happening in westminster... but I can't say any more about that yet... watch this space!
        29 May at 20:44 · 
      • Politics UK PoliticsUK would like to thank Mark for coming on this evening.
        If you would like further info on Simpol, like their facebook page , visit the website and read the blog

        Once again ,Thank you Mark.

        This thread is now open for any question you would like to ask Mark.
        It's about democracy, it's about fairness, it's about justice and it's about a b...See more
        Page: 214 like this.
        29 May at 20:45 ·  · 
      • Mark Horler Thanks again PUK, for inviting me! :)
        29 May at 20:47 ·  · 1
      • Stephen H O'Hanlon Simpol seems quite complicated.
        First question, will govt put long term before short term?

        And what British politicians have signed up to Simpol?
        29 May at 20:48 ·  · 1
      • Mark Horler Hi Stephen.

        I'm not sure I fully understand your first question. Could you elaborate a bit. It is a bit complex and yet it is quite simple (no pun intended) at heart.

        As to your second question, a list can be found here:
        Simultaneous Policy (Simpol). UK Site. A new way for UK citizens to vote to driv...See more
        29 May at 20:50 ·  · 
      • Markus Hafthorsson Is Simpol is endorsing a complete reformation to our economic systems?
        29 May at 20:52 ·  · 1
      • Mark Horler Hi Robert,

        I think I need to clarify something here. Simpol, as an organisation, provides the means and the mechanism for the people to set the policy agenda. As such, Simpol does not endorse (or reject) policy proposals. Provided the proposal meets the criteria for requiring simultaneous implementation (as set out above with the dividing line between national and global policies), it is up to the people to decide.
        29 May at 20:55 · 
      • Stephen H O'Hanlon Sorry Mark, that was my attempt at humour.

        Simpol seems like a worthwhile cause. I assume that Simpol is political neutral?
        29 May at 20:55 ·  · 1
      • Mark Horler Aha! That explains it Stephen! :D

        As I said to Robert, yes, Simpol is very much politically neutral. To further guarantee this, it is forbidden (by simpol's founding documents) to take any donation from either for-profit organisations or political parties.
        29 May at 20:59 · 
      • Politics UK Thank you Mark for answering the extra questions.

        The interview is now over.

        29 May at 21:00 ·  · 1
      • Mark Horler No problems. I'll be around this evening if anyone else has any questions. I do have to go and put the little one to bed now though. Be back in 10! :)
        29 May at 21:02 · 
      • Mark Horler Thanks all! :)
        29 May at 21:43 · 

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