Mad-as-hell Icelanders won’t be taking it any more

The ‘Sortition’ exercise is up and running in Iceland, yet we hear very little about it. Here’s a rare report from today’s Irish Times:

As part of a bold and ambitious initiative in active democracy, the first National Assembly was held in Reykjavik last month. Some 1,200 citizens randomly selected from the national register and 300 invited guests, including cabinet ministers and MPs, trade unions, representatives from the media and others, were brought together in a modern-style social partnership.

The task of the National Assembly, comprising 0.5 per cent of the population, was to plan a future vision for the country. People were asked what sort of society Iceland should now build in the aftermath of bankruptcy.

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Launch of Newid, the Demarchy party for Wales

The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often askew, And leaves us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!

It would be fair to say that the launch did not go according to plan. This was largely due to Rhodri Morgan moving his farewell press conference to the same time as ours. But the Tories ran a spoiler where the only AM from an ethnic minority, Mohammed Asghar, suddenly switched to the Tories without a moment’s hesitation despite having been elected on the Plaid list.

So, in summary, we were totally drowned out of the news media but a few of us did meet and I ended up on the BBC Radio Wales lunchtime phone-in where they let me talk about demarchy for an hour. As a result, we now have people wanting to be candidates in the Cynon Valley and in Meirionnydd despite me forgetting to mention the website address. Every cloud and all that!

You can hear the coverage at this link until next Tuesday: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00p4z2s/The_Radio_Wales_PhoneIn_08_12_2009/

We live and learn. I will not try a frontal assault next time.

All the best,

Martin

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