Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Power Report

The publication of the Power Report this week will have passed most people by. This is a shame, as the report is the most detailed examination yet of the reasons why people are becoming less and less interested in politics, to the point where more than one in three did not even bother to vote at last year’s general election.

And what does the independent report say? That the way to re-engage people is by giving them more influence and power - through a voting system that offers them greater choice, giving more powers to local communities to exercise for themselves, and a host of other reforms to increase the accountability and responsiveness of government. Amongst other things, it also calls for reform of the House of Lords, lowering the voting age to 16 and a new concordat between local, national and European political institutions.

As a Liberal Democrat, who has been campaigning for reform of our political structures as a means of revitalising the democratic for decades, the report is a breath of fresh air. I hope people will join us and the report’s authors in pushing the Government to listen to the people.


Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent-that time for prayer and penitence; for self-denial and recommitment and for mutual preparation for the marking of Passiontide and Easter. It is not just about giving up the bad but about doing good in our own lives and our communities.
It was a privilege to worship this morning at St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Norwich where the traditional ashing ceremony carried an addded poignancy. Each November, RoadPeace in East Anglia holds a serivce of Remembrance and Hope for Road Crash victims and as part of the service people present personalised oak leaves in memory their loved ones. These leaves signifying much love, pain and prayer were burnt (with traditional palm leaves) and the ash used in today's liturgy.