Statement for the Cambridge Stays Hustings

I wasn’t able to attend the hustings for Cambridge Stays. I sent in a response to be read out and I’ve posted it below as well:


The referendum held in 2016 encompassed a whole range of issues. It called to people’s distrust of others and the government. Voting once every 5 years does not give people control of their lives or their environment. People who lack this agency will take any opportunity to try to change things. Rebooting¬†Democracy stand for giving all decisions and agenda setting to the people using Citizens’ Assemblies. Randomly selected and stratified groups would be used to be representatives of the population. These groups listen to evidence from experts and stakeholders and deliberate in small groups over days or weeks. All presentations and submissions would be available for all to see. This gives us considered, transparent decision making. And if the evidence changes then there are no egos to fight about running another assembly to re-asses the decisions made.

Compare this to how the referendum was done. Money pumped into advertising campaigns to try and persuade people with half-truths. No ability to assess the information coming in or the source of the money that was used. People in the echo-chambers of social media re-enforcing their views without searching for facts. Messages that are pushed at people from media organisations that have specific agendas.

Cambridge has recently held a Citizens’ Assembly about congestion in the city centre. After decades of politicians prevaricating about what to do, trying not to tread on toes, making sure they don’t make themselves unpopular in case they get voted out, the people sat down and listened to the evidence. The answer – they want proper public transport and to close the roads to cars. Cutting through the nonsense to get the people to decide about how their community and environment should be.
Citizens’ Assemblies are being used all over the world now and would give us real decision making about our relationship with Europe. Vote for Rebooting Democracy to start this change.

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