Brexit part 2: thresholds, representation, and ‘what next?’

The other day I wrote a post-Brexit reaction which focused on the rather specialised question of how deliberative democrats ought to respond to politics in a ‘post-fact’ society. In that piece I raised but didn’t specifically respond to claims about parliamentary action and bare majorities for issues of such significance. Here’s that response. First, the issue of whether 50%+1 was the right threshold, or whether … Continue reading Brexit part 2: thresholds, representation, and ‘what next?’

Brexit, deliberative democracy, and the unforced force of the better argument

It’s more than a week after the vote in the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union, and it’s taken me this long to write something. I mourn for a Britain that can be so courageous and welcoming, but has now legitimised blaming ‘the other’ to deflect blame at home. I am concerned for my many European friends in Britain, some of whom now … Continue reading Brexit, deliberative democracy, and the unforced force of the better argument

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?

From a New Zealander to his dear English friends about Scotland

Let me start by explaining where this piece comes from. I’m a New Zealander. I come from a small and fairly insignificant place whose nearest neighbour is much larger and much more self-assured. I’ve lived in, and become a citizen of, that neighbouring country. I really enjoy that neighbour and am about to move back there. But I get what it feels like to be … Continue reading From a New Zealander to his dear English friends about 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