Rousseau’s Mistake

A recent article by Hélène Landemore: Rousseau’s Mistake: Representation and the Myth of Direct Democracy Abstract: For Rousseau, democracy was direct or it wasn’t. As he famously put it, “the moment a people allows itself to be represented, it is no longer free: it no longer exists. The day you elect representatives is the day […]

Norgrove: Why Britain Should Scrap Democracy in Favour of Sortition

Oliver Norgrove writes in The Huffington Post: Horse-shoeing my way round the English coastline, setting up stools, handing out thousands of leaflets and talking to many passers-by certainly has come with its frustrations. As I wrote on my blog a few days ago, my patience for democracy and its input of all has now pretty […]

Sortition: the idea, the meeting, and a strategy

[Latest news from the Sortition Foundation blog] There’s exciting news from the Sortition Foundation: The idea: A new “compelling, inspiring” book on sortition, The End of Politicians, by director and co-founder of the Sortition Foundation, Brett Hennig, is being crowd-funded now by book publisher Unbound: The meeting: The first Sortition Foundation Annual General Meeting […]

The PDD weekly wrap on all things democratic, Feb 12



MP Richard Burgon has an interesting blog post on Democratic Audit bemoaning proposed changes to archiving Cabinet papers. What happened to open government? Read here:

On the topic of open government, the World Bank has launched a new research consortium to find out more about where it is happening (and not), how, how well, etc). Read more, here:

And here’s leading open government advocate Beth Noveck’s latest essay, the Rise of the Citizen Expert:

Also of note, the  Citizen Participation Newsletter  for February is now out:;c2609be8.1602p


Syracuse’s Tina Nabatchi is leading a conference on Democratic Governance in the Developing World. Find the details for the Call for Papers here:


Catherine Durose et al. (including PDD stalwart Oliver Escobar) with a paper out in PAR on ‘people making a difference in communities’:

Cass Sunstein (forthcoming in Daedalus) claiming that the US Executive operates in…

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New report for Participatory Budgeting practitioners, activists and policy makers in Scotland and beyond

An exciting collaboration has been established between the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) and What Works Scotland (WWS) to support the strategic and operational delivery of Participatory Budgeting within Scotland and beyond.

PB Harkins-Escobar front cover

The first output from this collaboration is a joint publication by Chris Harkins and Oliver Escobar: Participatory budgeting in Scotland: an overview of strategic design choices and principles for effective delivery.

The paper takes stock of the policy context for PB in Scotland, and outlines ten strategic PB design choices and ten principles for effective delivery. The metaphor here is not ‘transplanting’ but translating and adapting. PB delivery organisations, communities and citizens involved in the PB process are thus encouraged to use the design choices and principles selectively, flexibly and reflectively as meets their specific purpose, need and context.