Monday, March 24, 2008

aw ref

Clearly in order to make democratic government answerable for its actions you need reference back to the people on important decisions. The current system seems to favour referendums (even though they hardly ever actually carry them out). This is a rubbish way of making a decision: it means that you get a large audience who are basically ignorant of the issues involved (informed by those two great oracles: the media and the man in the pub/street) and vote on gut feelings and ill-founded prejudices. In effect it gives the decision to the most widely read newspapers.

Surely a jury is a much better idea. i.e. a small well informed audience informed by a range of experts on all angles in depth and detail. As this would be much less costly than getting everybody to vote it would allow a far greater range of policies to be decided. After all the jury trial of those accused of a crime is seen as one of the pillars of democracy so there really can't be much of a ligitimate argument against the same process to trial acts of parliament.

Imagine a jury selected from all walks of life, representative of the makeup of the country (the polling organisations seem to have effective selection techniques) who are then seconded for a period of maybe two weeks to consider the pros and cons of say a proposal to build a nuclear poerstation. The government of the day would act as prosecution calling expert witnesses to support their case while any other organisation could put forward their alternative views (not necessarily directly against but giving different point of view). There would have to be a selection process to limit the number of witnesses. Then the jury would retire to consider their verdict which would act like the House of Lords in passing the act or throwing it back to parliament to be rewritten.


Post a Comment

<< Home