DemsocMCR Launch Event Summary

DemsocMCR Launch Event Summary

Last week we launched Demsoc Manchester, our new hub that compliments the work we’re already doing in Brighton, Edinburgh and Brussels. Thanks to everyone who came along and contributed to an interesting and lively discussion. In case you couldn’t make it, here’s a quick summary of what happened on the night!   We asked the room ‘How can devolution be a breakthrough for engagement in democracy?’, a divisive subject at the best of times, and it provided lots of different and stimulating opinions and ideas.   We heard thoughts from Michelle Brook, Demsoc’s…Read more
Is Democracy Fit for Purpose?

Is Democracy Fit for Purpose?

By Millicent Scott In western Europe democracy emerged during the 19th and 20th centuries as the process of choice for selecting national governors. It came to replace the birth-right power of monarchy and aristocracy to rule, or in some cases to legitimise the power of the monarch. In the UK for example, the democratically elected House of Commons together with the aristocracy and appointed House of Lords and HRH the Queen form Her Majesty's Government. In eastern Europe, after the fall of communism, democracy has emerged as the system of governance for nearly a…Read more
Turning the tide on democracy?

Turning the tide on democracy?

By Millicent Scott This October, the Athens Democracy Forum will bring together actors from across the world to examine the current threats to democracy from the refugee crisis subsuming Europe, Africa and the Middle East and the rise of terrorist attacks which challenge the core ideals of democracy, to the rise of populism and the spectre of authoritarianism together with the accelerating erosion of trust in our political systems. It is in this context that Ban-Ki Moon, secretary general of the United Nations, has asked the Athens Democracy Forum "How do we turn…Read more

#EURef: ‘That’s Democracy’: but is it the type of democracy we want?

The Democratic Society is more committed than ever to helping bring about a more participative democracy. Many people may feel a lot of cognitive dissonance around democracy right now. 17.4 million people seemingly disagree with 16.1 million people, and just fewer than 13 million people, who were eligible to vote but chose not to, have not had a say at all. However, a decision has been made and people may say ‘well that's democracy.’ But is it the type of democracy we should hope for? As many have pointed out referendums can be…Read more

Understanding the EU debate

Many people are still saying that they don’t understand what’s at stake in the EU referendum. As part of an independent, not for profit, organisation I have created this guide to explain what the points on each side are. The European Union is a series of international agreements that 28 European countries have made between themselves, which set up institutions like the European Parliament through which these countries cooperate and reach agreements as a whole. The treaties set out limits on what policy areas the EU can get involved with. Decision-making is partly…Read more

What does representation look like?

There have been a range of responses to the news that Louise Mensch is going to be appointed to a position in the Chiltern Hundreds, some considerably more generous and forgiving than others. It is an interesting story in a number of ways, and has been used to open up a debate on: the job of an MP and whether it’s compatible with a modern family; the job of an MP and whether it’s compatible with other roles; whether the commons is a place for people with a back story and a bit…Read more

Government consultations: Quiz show or Review show?

How should Government consult? There is - obviously - a long piece of guidance on the matter - owned, bizarrely, by the business and skills bit of government, but it doesn't go nearly far enough. The Code of Practice on Consultation is pretty strict - twelve weeks to respond, don't do it during an election period, set out a "consultation stage impact assessment", and so on. It even reminds officials not to use consultation when what they really mean to say is "here's the policy, it won't change" - which still happens more than…Read more

If Social Justice™ were a breed of cat…

Oh, here's a hideous survey. It invites you to tell the DWP what you think about Social Justice - the capital letters are clearly important. On the second (final) page of the survey you can opt in to hear more about Social Justice, although they've missed off the box where you can opt out from being not refrained from not being uncontacted by our carefully selected third-party partners with offers that we believe will be of interest to you. Here are a few of the problems: Basic point, but a survey isn't going to tell…Read more

A bit of love for the Living Voters Guide (Washington state)

Via the DO-Wire mailing list, I came across a great little site set up to help voters discuss and learn about the ballot initiatives in the 2011 elections in Washington state. You can take a look here: Your guide to the 2011 Washington Election – The Living Voters Guide. I particularly liked the Wrangl-like "Yes/no" arguments section, the prominent links to background information (such as the fiscal impact and the full text), and the ability to enter a zip code to see whether there were any local initiatives on the ballot as well.…Read more

Is there a point to politicians?

Chris Dillow argues Politicians are becoming meaningless people doing meaningless posturing. in the light of their inability to fix the problems of the Eurozone, or to reverse declining turnout at elections. Hopi Sen, in an unrelated post, points out that people's interest in politics has remained relatively stable, but their propensity to vote, and their belief that voting is a duty, have declined. I suspect that the truth is less that politicians are unimportant, but that politics as it is currently practiced is inadequate to deal with society as it is now, where people are…Read more