A People’s Parliament/A Citizen Legislature
Authors: Ernest Callenbach, Michael Phillips, Keith Sutherland
Two essays, printed back to back in a single volume, offer complementary solutions to the democratic deficit in Britain and the USA.
Paperback 350 pp.
Title First Published: 01 August 2008
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Two essays, printed back to back in a single volume, offer complementary solutions to the democratic deficit in Britain and the USA. In his book The Party’s Over: Blueprint for a Very English Revolution (2004), Keith Sutherland questioned the role of the party in the post-ideological age and concluded that it would be better for government ministers to be appointed by headhunters and held to account by a people’s parliament selected by lot. This completely revised and updated edition includes a study of the recent literature on deliberative polling. The American founders proposed that their legislature should be ‘an exact portrait, in miniature, of the people at large’. Whether or not this was true at the time, the exponential growth of the population, skyrocketing campaign funding, the power of pressure groups, the grease of the pork-barrel and the dominance of charisma and demagoguery means that the US Constitution could now better be described as a kleptocracy. This pioneering essay proposes selecting Congressional members by random lot (leaving the Senate and Presidency unchanged) to ‘restore a direct, powerful voice in Washington to the whole of America’. Originally published in 1985, this new edition includes an introduction by political scientist Peter Stone.