Appearing in a seminar room near you…

I’ve been remiss in posting news about travel, seminars etc – actually, I’ve been remiss about posting anything at all, and plead the usual feeble excuses. But the northern Spring is the season for conferences and workshops in Europe, and this year I’ll be concentrating on two engagements in the first half of the year, with possibly one other set in the second half. The first is the … Continue reading Appearing in a seminar room near you…

Irish equal marriage: it’s deliberation “wot won it”

It’s a glorious morning for democrats and equal rights campaigners everywhere:  the Irish have voted nearly 2 to 1 to allow equal marriage rights regardless of sex. However, this is a big day for deliberative democrats too, because in all the coverage about the referendum, what keeps getting forgotten is that this all started with a big, deliberative, citizens’ assembly: the Irish Constitutional Convention of … Continue reading Irish equal marriage: it’s deliberation “wot won it”

Your vote IS important, Simon Burall

Simon Burall, the Director of the think tank Involve, published a blog piece today entitled ‘Your vote isn’t important’. After I’d spluttered my outrage on twitter, Simon (a) confessed he may have overdone in the title in order to attract attention; (b) tweeted a bunch of caveats; and (c) invited me to respond. So here goes. In the UK, about 45 million people are registered to … Continue reading Your vote IS important, Simon Burall

A deliberative system in Scotland?

The last two days I’ve been in Edinburgh talking with academic colleagues, civil servants,  activists and think tankers, journalists and interested others about deliberative systems. I’ve been interested in applying deliberative systems thinking to get a handle on the quality and extent of public debate in the run-up to, and beyond, last year’s Scottish independence referendum. I stress the “talking with” part. It’s been a … Continue reading A deliberative system in Scotland?

Why I support Public Question Time

The parliamentary Public Question Time idea flagged up by Ed Miliband recently — and blogged about here by Dr Amy Pollard of Involve — is a fascinating one, but I have to declare an interest – I came up with the same idea in my 2012 book, Democracy and Public Space (pp.143-5). In that book I fleshed out the idea a little, and in the … Continue reading Why I support Public Question Time

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury

There has been a lot of discussion in England this week about a list of ten questions asked by a jury in the trial of the wife of a now ex-MP accused of perverting the course of justice. Non-Brits, I won’t bore you with the details, but the headline is this: some of the questions revealed such a fundamental inability to grasp the task at … Continue reading Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury