openDemocracyUK

UK citizens gather to disuss how to reform the system

This weekend sees a landmark event in the POWER2010 campaign to reform British democracy. Ordinary citizens from across the UK of all political backgrounds and walks of life will come together in an alternative people's parliament to debate how our country should be run.
Guy Aitchison
8 January 2010

This weekend sees a landmark event in the POWER2010 campaign to reform British democracy.

Ordinary citizens from across the UK of all political backgrounds and walks of life will come together in an alternative people's parliament to debate how our country should be run.

In a gathering which recalls the great political discussions of the Levellers in the 17th century and the Chartists in the 19th, a scientific sample of up to 200 citizens from across the UK, selected to be representative of the population as a whole will assemble in London for a two-day deliberative event.

These 200 citizens will participate in a Deliberative Poll® being organised in consultation with Professor James Fishkin of Stanford University and his colleagues at the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford.

Since conceiving this method of public consultation in the 1980s, Fishkin has carried out numerous Deliberative Polls around the world in (among other places) the US, Australia, Nova Scotia, Bulgaria, Athens and even China.

Participants have received balanced briefing materials detailing the different reform ideas submitted by members of the public since we launched the campaign, with arguments for and against each idea and background info. They will deliberate in small group discussions with trained moderators and engage in plenary sessions with experts. Participants' opinions are then gathered through confidential questionnaires before and after deliberations.

In this way, these 200 citizens will distil the many ideas received into a manageable shortlist of proposals which will be put to the public vote.

You should be able to listen to James Fishkin on the Today programme on Radio 4 discussing the poll from 8.30am on Friday - listen live here or, alternatively, wait until it has been archived when I will post the clip here.

Over the weekend I'll be posting pictures and video in the POWER2010 blog along with personal accounts by participants. I'll also hopefully be doing some live blogging and tweeting so do check in every now and then to follow the action!

OurKingdom is a partner of POWER2010 - this post is cross-posted from the POWER2010 blog.

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