Elect leaders by lottery suggests David Van Reybrouck

Originally posted on Equality by lot:

The Soapbox feature on BBC2 Daily Politics was today (29/10/2014) handed to Dutch historian David Van Reybrouck.

Electing leaders via a lottery may be a crazy idea, but it is being carried out now in parts of Europe, says a Belgian author and academic. David Van Reybrouck said with trust in politicians at a record low, and party memberships and the number of voters falling, it could be an idea to renew interest in politics again. He said lotteries have been a longer-standing tool of democracy than elections, which he claims could be an “obstacle to democracy”, and only been around for 200 years.

Full version with Q&A starting at 01:16:45. Truncated YouTube version.

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‘Scots deliberate': Watch it (again)!

Originally posted on pdd:

The PDD Hangout on Scotland’s #indyref was a fantastic discussion. Those of you who missed it can view it below (and those who enjoyed it can view it again). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DB1wA40DkfE Thanks again to our panellists Pennie Taylor, Andy Thompson, Paul Cairney, and Ali Stoddart – and apologies to Willie Sullivan who did his level best to get this somewhat sketchy technology to work! The conversation will continue with a summary to come on the blog in the next couple of days, but feel free to carry it on via Twitter and elsewhere to.

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So Say Scotland in top 50 New Radicals 2014

sss-logoSo Say Scotland is a voluntary, non-profit and non-partisan hub for democratic innovation. Their work on fostering citizen participation over the last two years includes the 2013 Thinking Together Citizens’ Assembly and the 2014 referendum cards game Wee Play.

So Say’s contribution to participatory politics, deliberative democracy and collective action has now been recognised by Nesta and The Observer in the New Radicals 2014 list, which includes “Fifty radical thinking individuals or organisations changing Britain for the better”. A judging panel selected the final fifty from over 1000 submissions.

I am delighted for the amazing network of democratic innovators behind So Say Scotland.

See more information about New Radicals 2014 here.

When Citizen Engagement Saves Lives (and what we can learn from it)

Originally posted on DemocracySpot:

When it comes to the relationship between participatory institutions and development outcomes, participatory budgeting stands out as one of the best examples out there. For instance, in a paper recently published in World Development,  Sonia Gonçalves finds that municipalities that adopted participatory budgeting in Brazil “favoured an allocation of public expenditures that closely matched the popular preferences and channeled a larger fraction of their total budget to key investments in sanitation and health services.”  As a consequence, the author also finds that this change in the allocation of public expenditures “is associated with a pronounced reduction in the infant mortality rates for municipalities which adopted participatory budgeting.”

Evolution of Expenditure Share in Health and Sanitation compared between adopters and non-adopters of PB (Goncalves 2013).

Evolution of  the share of expenditures in health and sanitation compared between adopters and non-adopters of participatory budgeting (Goncalves 2013).

Now, in an excellent new article published in Comparative Political Studies, the authors Michael Touchton and Brian Wampler come up with similar findings (abstract):

We evaluate the…

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Petition for a National Council –A process to ensure participatory democracy after the Scottish referendum

I’m one of the many supporters of the non-partisan civic petition for a National Council to lead the process of involving citizens in shaping the future of Scottish democracy after the referendum.

You can see details about the petition, and sign up, by following this link.

scotland flagThe proposal is not a case either for or against independence, but a way forward towards a more participatory democracy. In the event of a Yes result, we will need a process to establish the terms for the negotiation with the rest of the UK, as well as a blueprint for a constitution-making process. In the case of a No result, we will still need a process to negotiate further devolution and establish the parameters of a more empowered Scottish democracy within the UK.

In both scenarios, our proposal seeks to avoid  elite-driven decision-making and put citizens at the heart of politics and democratic life.

Want to know more? Click here.

This proposal is not intended as a case either for or against independence, it is a proposal in favour of a participatory Scotland. It focuses on issues which may arise very quickly and may have to be addressed equally quickly in the event of a Yes vote. However the participatory process it outlines represents an approach to decision making which would represent a leap forward in democratic decision-making irrespective of whether there is a Yes or No vote. – See more at: http://nationalcouncilscotland.org/#sthash.P2RHrSyY.dpuf

This proposal is not intended as a case either for or against independence, it is a proposal in favour of a participatory Scotland. It focuses on issues which may arise very quickly and may have to be addressed equally quickly in the event of a Yes vote. However the participatory process it outlines represents an approach to decision making which would represent a leap forward in democratic decision-making irrespective of whether there is a Yes or No vote. – See more at: http://nationalcouncilscotland.org/#sthash.P2RHrSyY.d

This proposal is not intended as a case either for or against independence, it is a proposal in favour of a participatory Scotland. It focuses on issues which may arise very quickly and may have to be addressed equally quickly in the event of a Yes vote. However the participatory process it outlines represents an approach to decision making which would represent a leap forward in democratic decision-making irrespective of whether there is a Yes or No vote. – See more at: http://nationalcouncilscotland.org/#sthash.P2RHrSyY.dpuf