Saturday, 14 November 2009

Power2010 and the Well-Known Chocolatier

New kids on the block  in the UK are Power2010, a new pressure group seeking to capitalise on voter discontent, a big issue over here. Their initial statements do seem likely to strike a chord with the  population at large ; "Our democracy is in crisis. MPs fiddle while the planet burns...Bankers blow billions and the taxpayer fooots the bill", as is their solution ; "A healthy democracy that works for all and not just a powerful few".

At present it`s unclear whether the new organisation itself plans to become democratic (though they would no doubt claim that their method of working, which is to solicit suggestions for campaigng issues from the public and then take up the most popular, is in itself an open and democratic process). It`s also not entirely clear how the new organisation will differ from Unlock Democracy or 38 Degrees, particularly given that Director Pam Giddy`s previous posts include a spell as Director of  Charter 88, one of the bodies that merged to form Unlock Democracy. I should make it clear that Unlock Democracy have welcomed the new organisation, and are looking to work co-operatively with it.

Interestingly, start-up funding for Power2010 comes from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. Rowntree was a Quaker and chocolate manufacturer, a man of liberal and philanthropic views, whose influence is still felt today. Traditionally, there has often been criticism of philanthropists from the political left, often on the grounds that they address the symptoms of social ills and not the causes. Interestingly, this was a view that Rowntree shared, he was very much concerned with causes, as well as the alleviation,  of poverty. In this, he may have been influenced by his son, the strangely-named Seebohm Rowntree, a noted anti-poverty campaigner and author of Poverty ; A Study of Town Life (1901).

In light of his interest in identifying the causes of poverty, he set up the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to "help to overcome the causes of poverty, disadvantage and social evil". This was one of four trusts founded by him (the others are The Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust , The Joseph Rowntee Charitable Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust), all of which are still active today, as we`ve already seen.

For further information on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Rowntree Society, see the links below.


Power2010 -

Unlock Democracy -

38 Degrees -

Joseph Rowntree Foundation  and Trusts -

The Rowntree Society -

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