Melissa Schwartzberg is a professor of Politics at NYU.
John Garry writes in sluggerotoole.com:
There are three crucial ingredients for a high quality democracy: a very large hat, a pen and lots of small bits of paper. Write the name of each citizen in the land on a bit of paper, put all the bits of paper in the hat, close your eyes and pluck out 500 names from the hat. Write to each of the 500 saying:
“Congratulations, you have been picked as one of the 500 people who will run the country for the next five years. Please come along to our Random Parliament and start making decisions about things like welfare reform, flag display and corporation tax rates (maybe). We’ll put you up in a swanky hotel, pay you loads of expenses and square it with your boss. Look forward to seeing you…”
It turns out that in addition to dealing with complex governing structures modern elected officials face another objective problem which makes dealing with democratic discontent difficult: the problem of living “simply on £60,000” a year.
Chwalisz’s previous article concluded by observing that
the dilemma of how to get elected elites to relinquish their grip on the seats of power remains unresolved.
Chwalisz’s attempt at a resolution follows the lead of David Van Reybrouk. She addresses herself to the ruling class as the responsible concerned advisor who aims to help established actors find their way through troubled seas, meet the gathering hostile forces and to finally emerge maintaining as much of their power as possible.
The new article’s abstract is as follows:
New forms of contact democracy and innovative forums that allow political and economic institutions to deliberate with citizens are important steps in the long-term battle to renew representative democracy for the 21st century. They should not be seen as a threat to formal systems of government but as important add-ons that enrich democracy and give a window into the complexity of governance
Following the rejection of the Icelandic citizens’ jury’s conclusions on constitutional reform, it is disappointing to report that much the same has happened in Ireland:
[T]he people who were involved really cared about this thing and did everything they could to make it a model for new ways of thinking about democracy in the 21st century. There was a glimmer of hope that some kind of dignity was being restored to the political process. Instead all it’s really done is to polish up the sign on the gates of institutional democracy: abandon hope all ye who enter here.
The process showed that, given half a chance, citizens are not cynical and want to engage positively with their State. It also showed that that State, given half a chance, will make them feel like fools for wasting their time.
You can read the full article here: Fintan O’Toole: How hopes raised by the Constitutional Convention were dashed.