If the Penzance Citizens Panel is a small scale experiment in deliberative democracy, this proposal is breathtaking in scope: the launch of a two-year “citizens’ convention” on 1 January 2020 . Its bold and ambitious and it could lead to a constitutional revolution that ends the power of Westminster and puts it back where it rightfully belongs – in the hands of local people and communities.
I’ve met Graham Allen twice along with some of the people at UCL. If anybody can bring this about, they can.
The biggest drawback is our imagination. Most people are fed up with politics-as-usual with the article citing the recent poll by the Hansard Society which found that 63% of people feel the UK’s system of government is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful. And 47% of those questioned believed they had no influence at all over national decision-making.
Yet despite this disaffection and sense of powerlessness, if you asked people ‘do we need a new constitution?’ they would shrug their shoulders or say they didnt know what that meant. In France they do. In Ireland they do. In Germany, Spain, Norway, Belgium, they understand the meaning of that question. In Britain, we have so lost any sense of political literacy, that we just dont understand what the question means.
Maybe then we need to replace constitution with the word ‘power’. Not ‘do we need a new constitution’ but ‘does your community want power over the decisions that affect you?’. I think most people would answer with a bellow ‘YES!!!!’