Currently our general election has switched to another topic, that of human rights, in the wake of a spate of attacks in our cities. We are now in a cycle of blame and policy announcements all with the aim of getting the media to report favourably on a knee-jerk reaction to a deep and tragic problem.
This shows the issues with our electoral democracy. Instead of looking at the precise causes of the incidents, working through about what measures we need to put in place to protect us from imminent attacks and working to solve the greater issue we get soundbites and badly thought-out policies aimed to sway voters.
Rebooting Democracy wants to move away from all this. Randomly selected citizens panels would be used to make decisions going forward. These panels would be stratified (equal numbers of men and women, rich, poor etc) to create a microcosm of society. They would be given the skills to weigh evidence and facilitate. They would have access to experts, lobby groups, victims, perpetrators etc to enable them to make balanced, long term legislation.
As they are randomly chosen they have no need to try and get elected again. They don’t have to worry about the media. They automatically represent the views of the citizens. There is no party ideology to sway the whole thing. Just a group of people, using tried and tested deliberative techniques to find the best way forward.