Since writing this piece on Sunday, it’s been shared widely. I’ve since written a follow up on what the Citizen story would look like in practice, including links to an A-Z of organisations and individuals building this way of working. If you’d like to stay posted on my organisation, the New Citizenship Project, you can join our mailing list here.

The immediate response to the government’s new Covid19 messaging has been a mixture of confusion and outrage. Commentators and academics seem bemused, the only possible explanation being that the government is incompetent.

But actually, I think it’s very deliberate —…

I live in Sevenoaks, the largest town in a constituency “represented” by Laura Trott, a Conservative MP with an impressive CV, formerly David Cameron’s Head of Strategic Communications, but with very little apparent interest in engaging with local citizens. I share this letter because I know many others are in a similar position.

Dear Ms Trott

This is my fourth open letter to you. The first three were of a kind: I wrote to you after you failed to call for any action in the aftermath of the Cummings “eye test”; again after you peddled the Johnson line that Child…

As the Liberal Democrats’ 2021 Spring Conference starts, I find I have seriously mixed feelings towards my party.

On one hand, I’m excited. Ideas and energy are building at the grassroots, with local parties and members doing wonderful things in their communities in the context of the pandemic (as this video shows). At the same time our sister parties around the world — most notably the Canadian Liberals and D66 in the Netherlands — are making real ground in the global fight against nationalism and indeed authoritarianism.

D66 leader Sigrid Kaag celebrates after her party’s strong showing in the Dutch election. Photograph: Martijn Beekman / Guardian

On the other, I’m simmering with frustration. Our party leadership appears unable to…

Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Dear Ms Trott

I first wrote to you on May 31st 2020, after you failed to call for any action against Dominic Cummings in the aftermath of his “eye test”.

I then wrote to you again on October 24th, five months later, after you peddled the Johnson line that Child Food Poverty was not really an issue at all, only for him to u-turn two weeks later.

Now, another five months on, you will be going to vote on Monday on Priti Patel’s deeply disturbing policing reform bill. This has at its heart a specific section on the policing of…

I live in Sevenoaks, a constituency represented by Laura Trott, a Conservative MP. She is a woman with an impressive CV, formerly David Cameron’s Head of Strategic Communications. I first wrote to her in May after she failed to call for any action against Dominic Cummings.

UPDATE: Today, 8th November, the Conservative government performed yet another u-turn (BBC report here) on this issue, creating a £400m fund to support families through 2021. This despite Ms Trott’s insistence failure to challenge them, and her insistence to us, her constituents, in her newsletter and on Facebook that there was no problem.


After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (now famously Trump’s attorney) issued a call to all Americans. “Show your confidence. Show you’re not afraid. Go to restaurants. Go shopping.”

President George W Bush took the message on, world leaders followed, Tony Blair included. Consumption fast became the great contribution we could all make, to show we were unbowed and unafraid. Consumption was patriotism, westernism, anti-terrorism.

It worked. Media energy had been starting to gravitate towards awkward questions: why were there not better preparations for terrorist attack, given one was widely anticipated? Why did…

This is the talk I delivered at TEDxCardiff on 1st March 2020, a date that now seems a lifetime ago, but a message that I think and hope has only become more relevant. To be honest, when I gave this talk, I was not feeling at my best: I am probably (and guiltily) in better spirits now, as the future feels much more up for grabs now than it did then. I have written more about that here, and am now fully absorbed in working on the future we as Citizens could claim in this time.

I started my…

In today’s Guardian, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees says he wants a citywide conversation in response to the toppling of the Edward Colston statue.

I love this idea — and I’d love to think we could “stand under” (as my Bristol friend Liz Zeidler puts it), and help someone like Marvin really lead change. We’ve been working for a while on how a government might put together the various participatory processes and technologies that are out there to create stages of a conversation that would actually go somewhere. It feels like something like this could really help here.

We call it…

In Subject, Consumer, Citizen: Three Post-Covid Futures, we set out our understanding of this as a crucible moment, in which the story that dominates and defines the next phase of our lives is up for grabs. This could be the time in which a truly participatory future takes shape. Since sharing that view, we’ve been working to understand what the most important intervention points might be in making sure it is — and it’s become clear to us that local government is as crucial as any.

The surge in community spirit and action through Mutual Aid groups and other such…

Update: Ms Trott’s response (a blanket sent in response to all similar contacts) is pasted in the responses below. I consider it to be far short of satisfactory and have been exploring routes to follow up. I would recommend contributing to the CrowdJustice campaign to reopen police investigations led by former Senior Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal; I have contributed.

I live in Sevenoaks, a constituency with a Conservative MP who has so far backed Dominic Cummings. She is a woman with an impressive CV, formerly David Cameron’s Head of Strategic Communications. …

Jon Alexander

activist / strategist / citizen / co-founder @NewCitProj / fellow @the_young_fdn @theRSAorg / member @CompassOffice @soclibforum

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store