The danger of policy – and deliberation – in straight lines

Teaching a class of middle- ranking policy makers last year brought to the foreground an issue I’ve been pondering for a while now. It is this: many officials focus too much on a well-defined problem, and design solutions to fix that problem directly. Indeed, they are taught, and incentivised, to do that. The vast majority of public administration and management courses and text-books preach that … Continue reading The danger of policy – and deliberation – in straight lines

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”

Hopes fade for a more deliberative House of Lords too?

To the tune of “Another One Bites the Dust“… …House of Lords reform fails again, despite all three major parties promising it in their election manifestos in 2010. Sigh. Yet again progressives’ principles founder on the rocks of party interests, and yet again they either failed to spot the rocks, or — a more charitable interpretation — lacked enough power to steer round them. At the end of the … Continue reading Hopes fade for a more deliberative House of Lords too?

On doublethink, evidence and deliberation

An excellent piece in the New York Times by Suzanne Mettler – Our Hidden Government Benefits – raised the issue of how many Americans seem unaware that the government benefits they receive are indeed government benefits. According to Mettler, a staggering 94% of welfare recipients think they do not receive state welfare. The precise reasons for that in the US are complex. It is partly to … Continue reading On doublethink, evidence and deliberation