Jonas Eriksson

Educator, Transit Mode

This conversation is closed.

A citizen initiative to remind our leaders on the promises they make

When people ask me "what are the single most important issue to reach a sustainable world" I always replies that we need to be better to get our political and economical leaders to keep their promises. Because I think we would have a sustainable world if they would have.

And now I want to take the next step and a initiative that will remind our leaders on the promises they make? A movement of active citizens using social media to keep the issues on the table and track the promises.

My initial idea are to build a web tool that can be embedded on any website and select a specific town or leader to track their promises. I can see the tools being used by the local newspaper as a way to engage their readers to discuss the policy makers performance and interact between the leaders and the citizens.

What do you think about the idea, and how can it be realized?


  • thumb
    Sep 9 2011: check out your NGOs they might have got a database of it. I heard there is one in India.
  • Aug 29 2011: I think that no one would be able to remember every single promise made in campaign. What we would be able to remember would be those incentives that affected us directly. People with young families would be interested in new pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools, hospitals, public transport. Environmentally conscious people would remember those incentives, and so on and so forth.
    We live in a very specialised era, where people know a lot about certain things and a little about the rest. So I think the people who are realy interested would make sure to hold politicians accountable, which is the only thing we can do to exert out power as citizens.
  • thumb
    Aug 19 2011: Doesn't the question assume a hypothetical? Specifically... that the followers remember the promises made? Normal humans retain very little of things that are important... If they have leaders (tangential strangers who they probably have never met) why would they remember much of anything? In fact, it would be interesting to poll a cross-section of the populace to even see if they know who their 'leaders' are.
    • thumb
      Aug 19 2011: That's true, and this could also be a reminder for the citizens. I think many promises already are out, if we scan YouTube we can see videos of speeches where leaders make thousands of promises, both in campaigns and in office. There's also often official documents from the parties outlining the promises they make for a election.
  • Aug 19 2011: Everyone assumes that politicians break their promises on purpose. What if they don't? What if they get in power only to find that they *can't* do what they said they would?

    The truth is that banks, corporations and the military now have more power than elected officials. Much more. Our leaders are not the problem; the system is.
    • thumb
      Aug 19 2011: I agree we have a system we need to fix. But I can't see any other then the policial leaders to make that change. And in our history the politics decided over the economy, I would say up to the 1980s. And I'm sure that the politics can be running the world once again. One more perspective are that we still can change within the context we're in today.

      One example are Josette Sheerans TEDtalk where she talks about the fact that we could end hunger now if we want to. We have the money, we have the plan and we have the food. And this is a promise that been made many times during the last 100 years.

      On your question "What if they get in power only to find that they *can't* do what they said they would?" I should say that we still need a discussion on the promises and why it can't be achieved, not forgotten.
    • thumb
      Aug 19 2011: Lee, When i make a promise I usually ensure that I can fulfill it because that is what I am planning to do. Politicians are simply irresponisble in making promises that they cannot keep. i do however, think that Jonas could add another box to his proposed application that gave 'reasons or obstacles for noncompliance."

      I love this idea, Jonas. An easy application that people in general can embed on their own blog is a great way to get the information out to more average people. understanding what the record actually is when it comes time to vote again is important.
      • thumb
        Aug 19 2011: Thanks Debra! For the moment I decided to do something around tracking the promises and build some momentum around them.

        And I think TED are a great platform for opening the discussion.
        • thumb
          Sep 9 2011: Tracking promises and regular and right communication of the result of tracking to the voters (in democratic system) can be good idea.

          Politicians have much better reach to existing media propaganda that is effectively confusing people so far can be the challenge to be successful.