Deliberative systems project wins Australian research funding

I am delighted to announce that I’ve won an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant for a project to map and compare three deliberative systems in Australia, Scotland, and the United States. The project aims to understand why some promises of a ‘national conversation’ on a policy issue seem to be mere hyperbole, while others seem more authentic. Using a combination of deliberative systems theory, the aims and understandings … Continue reading Deliberative systems project wins Australian research funding

Am I the only one who thinks driverless cars are a slightly mad idea?

I keep seeing and hearing stories about driverless cars but am getting increasingly struck by a visual image that won’t leave me alone. It’s an image that is making me wonder whether driverless cars are evidence that we have gone collectively insane. Driverless cars are almost always promoted as being a solution to problems of safety, pollution and traffic jams — here, for example — as well as being … Continue reading Am I the only one who thinks driverless cars are a slightly mad idea?

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?

Queensland’s election: Telling the voters they’re dim

It’s the morning after the night before, and Queensland is waking up to one of the most stunning election results in modern history. In 2012 the Labor Party had been reduced to just seven (later nine) seats in the 89-seat state assembly, not enough even to guarantee state funding. Their leader was almost literally the last woman standing – the only one of her colleagues … Continue reading Queensland’s election: Telling the voters they’re dim