From Friday to Sunday this weekend (September 15-17) I will be joining a group of academics, researchers and activists gathering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss the pros and cons of a "Legislature by Lot" - a parliament, senate or congress selected by sortition.
The workshop is being organised by Professor John Gastil (Penn State) and Professor Erik Olin Wright (University of Wisconsin-Madison) who have drafted the principal proposal that attendees are responding to. Their proposal is for a bicameral legislature where one chamber is elected and one is selected using sortition.Read more
My TEDx Danubia video has just been published: sortition in 10 minutes!
The first step towards the end of politicians is probably establishing second chambers in parliaments composed of a representative, random sample of people.
But how would it be implemented in practice? What powers would these people initially have?
My new paper proposes such a second chamber for the Scottish Parliament and has been published by the Sortition Foundation in collaboration with Common Weal Scotland and the newDemocracy Foundation. It discusses various options for levels of empowerment and gives a detailed answer to the question of implementation.
Initial (somewhat inaccurate) press coverage by The National was okay, except for the unhelpful headline which focused on the proposed salary and called assembly members Scottish 'Lords'.
I will be on the panel of a (sold out) talk at Edinburgh University that will discuss the merits of the proposal.
I was chuffed to find out that my letter to the editor, Time to get rid of elections, was printed in the Guardian Weekly in the same edition that Trump's win was put on the front cover (November 11 Special Edition).
It was perfect timing, and occurred only because I'm a little old fashioned.
I subscribe to the physical print edition of the Guardian Weekly and get it delivered by (snail) mail so I can carry it around, folded up in my pocket, and read and scribble on it when and where I like (and yes, I even cut out clippings and put them in a folder). But this means I get much of my news a few weeks after the rest of the planet, and when I replied to a George Monbiot article (Lies, fearmongering and fables: that’s our democracy) printed in the October 14 edition, I had no idea that serendipity would have it printed just after the US election.
Unfortunately, now I also know who won the US presidential election.