Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Letter in The Independent: Bring the people to Westminster








Bring the people to Westminster

Your editorial (28 July) argues that Ed Miliband’s proposal for a public PMQs is “the wrong answer to the right question” of bridging the gap between the public and the political elite, and that it would be difficult to ensure that the selection of “average” citizens for these sessions was truly representative.

I support Ed Miliband’s proposal, but would go further by bringing “the people” into Parliament directly, by introducing Citizen Senators into a reformed and renamed House of Lords, selected by lot as per jury selection.

They would serve one-year terms and be given training. They would compose 50 per cent of the chamber, with the remainder made up of “Expert Senators” selected by an independent appointments system, and “Political Senators” appointed by the party leaders. The bloc of Citizen Senators would be sworn to consider legislation purely on its merit, eschewing political or other bias, much as jurors are sworn to serve justice alone.

This system would have numerous benefits, including maintaining the admirable expertise of the present House of Lords, providing an antidote to the increasing professionalisation of politics and being truly representative.

John Slinger
Chair, Pragmatic Radicalism, Rugby

View online here.

More on what I term "Citizen Senators":
  • Letter in Financial Times in April 2012
  • A longer article in which I expand on these themes appeared in the revolutionise_it pamphlet "One Nation, One World" in May 2013
  • Letter in The Times in May 2009.


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