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

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

Farewell mutterings 1: decentralised Britain

This October I’m moving back down under, to the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University, Brisbane. Over the next couple of months I’m going to post reflections on some of what I’ve learned in my 11 year stint in UK academia – reflections on the academy itself, on British politics and policy, and so on. I will be nice, promise. One often … Continue reading Farewell mutterings 1: decentralised Britain

Government and big IT failures: it’s the accountability, stupid

For the umpteenth time in the last year (it seems) I heard yet another story this morning about how appalling it is that government can’t seem to manage big contracts, particularly (but not exclusively) big IT contracts. This time, it was sparked by a government announcement that in future, IT contracts would have maximum spend limits, time limits, limits to contract extension and various anti-monopoly … Continue reading Government and big IT failures: it’s the accountability, stupid