Pledges and Independent Candidates

A Pledge is defined as a “solemn promise or undertaking to commit to a certain action”. In an era of political lies on a grand scale, it may be a very handy tool for climate independents to differentiate themselves from the pack in the run-up to the next election. There are a number of options open in this regard. My personal preference is for a science pledge* and I noted previously that it “can be signed by a few, by many or even one. Rather than requiring action or changes from the higher authority it is a statement by the signatory declaring how he or she will alter, modify, or carry out their activities”.

Some years ago “I circulated a ‘Science Pledge’ lifted from Shawn Otto’s War on Science (Milkweed Editions, 2016)  and, as he noted “Science builds on the latest recorded knowledge…and makes and tests bold predictions. Science is our very best tool against prejudice and unexamined attitudes… (p.185)” A pledge to follow the best science is not only applicable to climate but equally to the current pandemic (see also here and here).

Ruth McGowan in Get Elected offers a different ‘Politicians Pledge’ (p.175-6). The pledger agrees that “In the pursuit of power I will Act in good conscience… (and) Act to merit the trust and respect of the community.” In the exercise of power she or he will “Give effect to the ideals of democratic government and represent the interests of my electorate”, “uphold the rule of law” and “discharge the duties of public office with dignity care and honour” amongst a number of others. This pledge is an ethical one – outlining a mode of behaviour the modern party system has critically damaged.

To make their climate credentials clear candidates can also sign the Climate Emergency Declaration Petition as did the late Deb Foskey – Greens candidate in Gippsland in 2019. Whilst it is certainly not as compelling as a pledge, it is a precise indication that urgent action is needed on this existential crisis. I suggest that independents sign one or both these pledges and if they want to emphasise climate as their priority the Climate Emergency Declaration as well. A statutory declaration of this action should then be signed outlining (and legalising?) your pledge actions giving a clear indication how you will act if elected. This should then be promoted and broadcast during your election campaign.

*I signed (and made a stat. dec. on) the Otto science pledge during the 2016 election