Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Letter to The Times (unpublished) on Citizen MPs

The Editor
The Times

Sir,

Vernon Bogdanor makes a persuasive case for the election of a proportion of local councillors by lot. By emasculating political parties while simultaneously empowering citizens by offering an equal right to participate in executive power and legislating not just voting, such a system would greatly enhance our local government.  

I agree that local government would be a good place to "begin" and argued on these pages in 2009 for a system of lots to select 'Citizen MPs' who would comprise a third of each House of Parliament, serving one-year terms.  When compared to the present system of selection, which is based to a greater or lesser extent on patronage and preferment, the injection of 'the people' into the heart of our Parliament need not be regarded as radical.  Many will argue that a system of lots is impractical and morally questionable.  I imagine these people would also be the first to defend trial by jury should they be accused of a crime.  Democracy, as with justice, is guaranteed not merely by the existence of elections or trials, but the active participation of citizens.

Yours faithfully,

John Slinger

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