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"Peoples Jury" to restore faith in democracy

Oh and perhaps some form of proportional representation in the Commons would work. The current First Past the Post system allows parties, like the current labour party, to achieve a dominance in the Commons that is out of all proportion to the level of support the party has won.

Not saying it should be done, more like there should be serious study and debate into that. I think this would warrant a referendum.
 
PassingBells said:
We have a jury system that seems to work without the jury being directly elected, or accountable or necessarily representative of the different political values ideas and culture iof the UK. It's very nature is that it is random. You could use a similar approach for appointing the second house.

Also, as I understand it, the upper house does not propose legislation, its purpose is to comment and improve on legislation proposed by the lower. If I am right in saying that, then your concern about a plethora of new bills need not apply.

The House of Lords can also propose bills, an example of this is the assisted suicide for the dying Bill.

The jury system is not a great system, whilst it holds the values of democracy and trial by your peers, it lacks predictability and expertise. Also whilst it can just about work in the judicial system it is not something that could ever work as far as politics go.

The system we have in place actually works and has worked for hundreds of years, it just needs tweaking. One of the most fundamental apsects of democracy is not democracy itself but accountability of those elected. Democracy itself is a crap way of making decisions, sometimes decisions have to be made that go against public will but are far better for the country as a whole. The only requirement we really need from elected representatves is that we can hold them accountable for their actions and remove them.

PassingBells said:
As regarding timing, surely not beyond the whit of man. A couple of suggestions off the top of my head:
1. A rolling changeover of members of the second house in order to maintain continuity.
2. Handover arranged around the parliamentary sessions would seem logical.
I am sure that someone more conversant with the legislative process could improve on them.

My error regarding the constitution. I should have referred to "written constitution". I still prefer the flexibility of the unwritten constiution to the clarity of a written one.

I am not suggesting that this would be a perfect system, but I cannot think of one that is, but I would not dismiss it out of hand, it has some interesting aspects. Not least a real government of the people, by the people and for the people.

PB

Seriously, it is ludicrous to even think that your system even with somebody conversant in the legislative process improving on them. hey why not do away with the judiciary and replace them with a jury aswell. What happens if people can't get the time off work or a business will suffer due to them not being able to be there (it would definately have to be more than 6 months). you end up without a true representative cross section of society being represented there. Look into the problems with the jury and multiply.

Politicians just need reminding that they are real people. More accountability for them is the best way to do it.

Look to the newer states and look at how they work it, the US, germany and France all followed a similar model as our Parliament but then tweaked it to make it more effective and accountable.

no system is perfect but yours would close down the whole country.
 
jest265 said:
...
The House of Lords can also propose bills, an example of this is the assisted suicide for the dying Bill.
Thanks, I didn't know that.

The jury system is not a great system, whilst it holds the values of democracy and trial by your peers, it lacks predictability and expertise. Also whilst it can just about work in the judicial system it is not something that could ever work as far as politics go.The jury system is not a bad system, and the fact that it sometimes values justice over the law is, to my mind, to its credit. I also value the lay magistracy over stipendary for the same reason. But this could be a whole new arguement, so lets hold off for the moment.

The system we have in place actually works and has worked for hundreds of years, it just needs tweaking. One of the most fundamental apsects of democracy is not democracy itself but accountability of those elected. Agreed, with emphasis on the 'One' Democracy itself is a crap way of making decisions, sometimes decisions have to be made that go against public will but are far better for the country as a whole. Also agreed The only requirement we really need from elected representatves is that we can hold them accountable for their actions and remove them. Not the only requirement, surely. The point of accountability in representatives is so that if they fail to perform, or abuse their position, they can be removed. By appointing all, or part of a chamber, you remove the need to remove a poorly performing member as by definition, they would be removed anyway.

PassingBells said:

Seriously, it is ludicrous to even think that your system even with somebody conversant in the legislative process improving on them. hey why not do away with the judiciary and replace them with a jury aswell. You would still need a civil service to run the process, and the lower, elected house would still be the more imprtant one. What happens if people can't get the time off work or a business will suffer due to them not being able to be there (it would definately have to be more than 6 months)Details, details - there are appeals processes in place for TA mobilisation and jury selection, extend them. you end up without a true representative cross section of society being represented there So what, I am not trying to achieve a representative cross section, just a cross section able to look at legislation from a variety of view-points and decide if it is in the nations' interest. Look into the problems with the jury and multiply.

Politicians just need reminding that they are real people. More accountability for them is the best way to do it.We don't really disagree on this, although I would phrase it differently. I would say that politicians need to be reminded that they work for us, not the other way around.

Look to the newer states and look at how they work it, the US, germany and France all followed a similar model as our Parliament but then tweaked it to make it more effective and accountable. I am not convinced that any of them are more effective than ours. All have their strengths and weaknesses, as does ours. The most accountable are, as far as I know, the Swiss - who have a referendum every couple of weeks or so. Are you seriously proposing that model? IMHO, the best form of government would be an informed (ie they know what they are doing) benign (they work for the good of the country) dictator (ie no accountability), but I accept that it is impractical.

no system is perfect but yours would close down the whole country.
 
Sorry can't be bothered to cut and paste it all.

Your last point defeats your whole arguement for a rotating system of lay persons in the new house. You assume that people in this country are informed of all the issues. Whilst you may be and many that you know, do not forget that the biggest selling newspaper in the UK is the Sun - well informed??

people would hijack the debate for single issues that they care for, they also would not have the interests of the country as a whole in mind just issues that affect themselves.

You also lose accountability because as you say they will be removed anyway so there is no pressure to act in national interests or to care what effect their laws have. Elections do in a way keep politicians on their toes, unfortunately the two party system in this country doesn't do that well enough as they know where they can rely on safe seats etc.

Whilst your idea is nice in theory but unfortunately in the real world we live in a society where there are many ill informed, under educated, apathetic people.
 

Sven

LE
I first thought that an elected second chamber would be unworkable - if the elections came at the same time as the first chamber elections then it would simply be a mirror of the government and not work as a check. If it was voted on the mid term then it would be influenced by negative feeling aboout the government.

I think instead that we should have a quarter of the second house voted in each year.
 
Six months is nowhere near long enough. Four years would be a minimum. Unlike the Jury system I see no reason why people could not opt out. Your business is more important than your country? - fine, opt out.

A system that operates on the basis that the majority of the population are not fit to be trusted is a system that is not fit to govern.
 

Iolis

LE
rockape34 said:
The Independent said:
Call for people's jury on reform to restore faith in democracy
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
Published: 22 January 2007

A campaign to remove "the stench of money and patronage" from politics after the "cash for peerages" affair will be launched today.

The Power Commission, which made sweeping proposals to revive Britain's ailing democracy, is relaunching its drive amid signs that the gulf between the politicians and public has widened since it published its report almost a year ago.

The new campaign ( http://www.makeitanissue.org.uk ) will call for a randomly-selected group of ordinary people to make binding decisions on parliamentary reforms to restore trust in politics - including a new system of financing.

The Independent's Campaign for Democracy, launched after Labour won a majority of 67 Commons seats with only 35 per cent of the votes cast in 2005, won the backing of almost 40,000 people.

Gordon Brown is expected to outline constitutional reforms this summer if he becomes Prime Minister and yesterday his allies welcomed the new push. An ICM poll for the commission found that Mr Brown (31 per cent) is more trusted to change the way democracy works than David Cameron (29 per cent). But one in five people does not trust any political leader on the issue.

The survey found that only 8 per cent of people believe their vote makes a great deal of difference to decisions by Westminster politicians, 13 per cent said a "fair amount", 30 per cent a "little" while 46 per cent thought it made virtually no difference. Seven out of 10 people felt that a citizen's jury should decide reforms to party funding and the House of Lords.

Helena Kennedy, the Labour peer who chairs the commission, said: "British politics is in crisis. Renewing our democracy cannot be left to the political class who will fix the rules in their own interest. With political leaders we have the best opportunity in a decade to force change." Baroness Kennedy told GMTV's Sunday programme that it was "significantly distasteful" that it seemed possible to "buy your way" into Parliament.

It was reported yesterday that Ruth Turner, Tony Blair's director of government relations, was arrested on Friday after detectives hacked into Downing Street computers to access e-mail records following a tip-off by a No 10 mole.

The website of the Power Commission is worth looking at as a primary source for those who are interested in this area and who wish to arrive at an informed opinion on the issue.

The website has had a 'makeover' since last I looked at it and I can no longer find on it, the original report of the Power Commission which is a pitty because it was well-worth reading. It was very wide-ranging over a number of areas of concern expressed by the public.

If I can find it, I will post it here.

Regards and best wishes
Iolis
 
Sven said:
I first thought that an elected second chamber would be unworkable - if the elections came at the same time as the first chamber elections then it would simply be a mirror of the government and not work as a check. If it was voted on the mid term then it would be influenced by negative feeling aboout the government.

I think instead that we should have a quarter of the second house voted in each year.

That is a lot of elections, we have enough trouble getting people to turn out at a general election. Then calculate the cost of running an election, you would have to times it by four. How would you choose the basis for election? If it was regional that would mean having 4 people stand per region.

Also with the cash for peerages scandals from all[/] parties just from funding one election, this could worsen if partie had to fund four elections. It would create an even bigger problem for smaller parties with less money.

Holding the election mid term means that the government are also accountable for their actions for the first 2 years of their term instead of trying to turn it around and look good in the final 1 / 2 years.
 
Forget elections, forget people volunteering for political "careers". Let's just conscript our governments a la jury duty. You would be conscripted/conscribed for a period of say five years. Your "civilian" pay would be benchmarked against your peers so you would neither be in pocket or indeed out of pocket. You would get appropriate "actuals" expenses - no "allowances".

At the end of five years you would be returned to the civilian general population with a bit of resettlement. No careerist politicians, specialists could be mobilised as needed. Let's face it there are now 50 parliamentary counsels employed in the HOC - why do we need more "walk-in lawyers" anyway? It's real world/common sense we require!

The removal of the need to vote in elections would remove this constant blather about party membership, funding or electoral apathy. Referenda would occur from time to time and voting would be compulsory. Failure to participate would carry a stiff fine for first offences and a custodial sentence and disenfranchisement for a subsequent offence.

I would really love to see that system in place...oh but I would.
 

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