Cornwall Citizens Assembly on Brexit

This is a project proposal which has been bubbling away for a while. I have now had three meetings with different council officials who are clearly interested in the idea but don’t know where to take it.

There is also interest on the part of some councillors while apparently others are resistant to the idea. The original proposal sought to address two questions:

  1. What are the threats and opportunities to Cornwall posed by our departure from the EU? This question is asked with particular reference to employment, housing and public services following our departure from the EU.
  2. How can local people and communities play a more active part in shaping the
    decisions that matter to them.


This project proposal was modelled on an earlier Citizens Assembly on Brexit which was
designed and delivered by University College London. It also draws on learning lessons from other recent citizens assemblies in both the UK (the assemblies addressing devolution in Southampton and Sheffield in 2015) and the recent highly successful citizens assembly in Ireland to address the 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution on abortion.

What has all this got to do with the progressive alliance?

Just this: citizens assemblies are a form for deliberative democracy that moves beyond highly polarised, tribal party politics. Through expert facilitation and the provision of fact based evidence, they enable ordinary people to learn about an issue, question expert witnesses and arrive at a consensual decision.

It is about having an adult conversation – in place of infantile adversarial debate by our elected MPs and leaders.

There is now a large body of evidence that shows the ability of ordinary people to grasp complex issues and through reasoned argument, find common ground as the basis for consensual decision making.

The Party is over

The discord and chaos we now see in Parliament exposes a redundant party political system that has had its day. It can only be rescued and re-configured by a more participative democracy that brings together people to address issues in place of competitive party politics.

Whether or not this particular proposal  for a Cornwall Citizens Assembly sees the light of day is another matter. It may not. But it will certainly not  be the last time you see such proposals touted either here or elsewhere.

Change is coming – and not soon enough.

2 thoughts on “Cornwall Citizens Assembly on Brexit

  1. With but 5 weeks to go before we leave the EU I fear it is a bit late to begin this debate.The nuts and bolts of the issue .Cameron called a referendum believing the majority would vote to stay in the EU.After parliment voted by a huge majority to call a referendum by a huge majority Joe public was bombarded on a daily basis as to why it would be suisidal for the UK to leave the EU .The project fear band wagon was rolled out bells and whistles blaring out .Cameron even spent 12 million of the taxpayers cash sending a letter to every house in the realm spelling out the pit falls if we left.When the results came in to get out .and the Cornish voted by a majority to get out the result was greeted with total disbelief .The UK had decided that it wanted Westminster to make and legislate the laws of the UK and not be governed by laws dictated by 14 Unelected EU comissionairs with the Germans and French pulling thir strings.Other elements also played a part imigration and fisheries for example .However notwithstanding the decision taken by the people was to leave and parliment and the government vowed to abide by the decision period.Yet.look what has happened since
    MP,s have attempted every weakly trick so they could rename on the democratic decision by the people to leave the EU.Those are unequivocal facts and truths.I am a member of the Institute of Cornish Studies University of Exeter Director Dr G Tregidga PHD.Gary is in fact Cornish Born whereas I am not but domiciled in the County for over 45 years.I belive we should leave with no deal whilst Garry is a vhearment remainer.Garry belives that the funding recived by Cornwall from the EU ,that is UK taxpayers cash given back to the UK disguised as EU funding has been a massive boost to Cornwall ,and it has .He argues that if we leave this funding would cease.He argues that Cornwall would not have recived such an amount of funding if left to a UK government and he is probebly right.However the EU has now turned off the tap of UK tax payers cash coming into Cornwall so it may be best to sit smug say nothing knowing the Cornish in this case pulled off a monumental flanker.However I suspect you are to use the vernacular like Garry are a remoaner. If that is a case he could be of some great use to you given the number of accademics and charitable boards he sits on.So using his name go onto personall University of Exeter and you will find his contact details.In my case I am probebly of no use to you as I belive that the people instruct politicians and it is not the politicians who dictate to the majority.

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    1. Hello Thomas, Many thanks for your full comment and your suggestion to contact Garry. I’ve a feeling he knows about this but yes, I may follow up. Kind regards, Gavin

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