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 […]

The Zero Heroes Community Competition

In 2013-14, The Democratic Society worked with Lewes District Council on the Zero Heroes Community Competition. The core challenge of the project was to encourage more residents to reduce waste by using a variety of techniques, and the project achieved several significant outcomes. The project was highlighted at the World Forum for Democracy in November 2013 […]

Review: The Return of the Public by Dan Hind (@danhind)

I encourage anyone interested in the debate on media standards in and around Leveson to read Dan Hind’s The Return of the Public, now released in paperback by Verso. First published in 2010, it antedates the current furore but throws considerable light on it. Hind explores the interplay between conceptions of the political state and […]

Petitions with purpose

“The blogosphere is not an area that is open to sensible debate; it is dominated by the obsessed and the fanatical and we will get crazy ideas coming forward.” Paul Flynn MP, quoted in a recent BBC article on the possibility of e-petitions. Is this really the best objection that Labour can raise to to the […]

The deceptive beauty of technology

As I write this, I’m on a TGV heading down the Rhône valley towards Barcelona and the Personal Democracy Forum, which takes place next week. The tunnels and trains that can bring me from London to Barcelona in twelve hours are an amazing technological achievement, and also in their own way rather beautiful, as anyone who has seen a TGV streaking through the French countryside would appreciate.

Lunchtime list for June 7th (part two)

Here are the articles and web pages the Talk Issues team recommend today: How the Internet is changing minds – Michael Agger reviews Nicholas Carr’s new book, the Shallows. In it, Carr describes the way that the Internet in changing people’s thinking habits. Not their opinions – the way they think and absorb information. Israel’s […]

Lunchtime list for May 31st

Here are the articles and web pages the Talk Issues team recommend today: Peak State and The Valley of Nobody Knows – Adil Abrar from Sidekick Studios has joined the blogging team at The Big Society, and his first post is an interesting meditation on the similarities between energy policy and Big Society: both have […]

Lunchtime list for May 25th

Here are the articles and web pages the Talk Issues team recommend today: Worst performing parties in the 2010 British General Election – Le Poulet Noir writes a piece about the least successful parties in the recent General Election. Slightly to my surprise, on average votes per candidate, the BNP just beat UKIP – though […]

Democratic engagement and council spending cuts

Talk Issues hosts the Democratic Society, along with Public-I, have just published a short research paper called Democracy Pays. It considers how democratic engagement methods can help councils take better decisions on spending cuts. You can  download the full PDF, and we’d love to hear your comments on it.

Burning cars then, ignoring ballot boxes now

In an analysis today, Le Monde reports that voter turnout in last weekend’s regional elections was particularly low in the troubled inner suburbs of Paris, with abstention rates above 70%.

These are the same suburbs that saw rioting in 2005, and the author, Luc Bronner, makes the point that the turnout rate was an even more serious marker of disaffection, because it was more widespread. He writes: