The Downing Street Project / network



Ever wondered what a genuinely representative politics would look like at Cabinet level? With 51% excellent women and 49% excellent men of varying backgrounds, hues and abilities, would the conversation and outcomes be significantly different from that which arises from the 'male and pale' Cabinet we have today?

The Downing Street Project invites you to take part in some serious play. We are devising a series of Mock Cabinets that will test out the idea that diversity in our governing bodies matters. Not simply because representation is fair –- a principle that is at the heart of our democracy -– but because diversity gives us the best pool of talent from which to govern a diverse country.

Since its inception, The Downing Street Project has been committed to helping bring about balanced leadership in public life. Our aim has been less about numbers and more about balance between a masculine and feminine style of leadership, between hard and soft ways of working, between work and family as the focus of policy and much more. 

But it is difficult to address the imbalance that has held sway over centuries of British politics from a standing start -– we need to shake things up to get things going.

As it is -– irrespective of our party affiliation - we cannot recognise the British government as a true reflection of our society. Does that matter in a meritocracy that claims it is blind to difference? Let's find out. Until now the burden has been on the minorities to earn their inclusion: Mock Cabinets will change the status quo and record what happens.

Want to play? If so, click here to download the Mock Cabinet Application Form and mail it to us immediately. We will ask you to nominate yourself –- or a friend! - to 'run' either an existing department (see list attached) or to nominate a new department that you can substantiate and 'run'. Don't worry, you don't have to be an expert - but it would help if you have thought about why and how things would change in that department with balanced leadership. Perhaps also have a few new policy ideas up your sleeve.

The sessions will be carefully facilitated by the Prime Minister (to be appointed), with a little help from her/his aides, who will be briefed to keep the day to schedule. In a full Cabinet Meeting we will hope to: 
  • Discuss two or three of the day's headline news stories
  • Tackle one major topic eg knife crime, the Economy, Europe.
  • Consider proposals for new departments, Parliamentary structures and ways of working.
  • Draw up a manifesto for balanced leadership in the 21C

The first full Cabinet Meeting take place on July 10th, 2010 (TBC), just before the Parliament goes into recess.

We aim to meet four times a year. In between sittings, The Downing Street Project will be transcribing our conversations, pulling out and highlighting threads for discussion on our website, analysing the language used and identifying change where it happens and publishing everything on the site. All findings will be blogged, tweeted and discussed in on-line forums and salons.

If you are up for, as Gandhi said, “being the change you wish to see in the world”, come and join us.

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