A People's Parliament/A Citizen Legislatureby 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. 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
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.
"Sutherland's model of citizen’s juries ought to have much greater appeal to progressive Britain."
"An extremely valuable contribution."
"A political essay in the best tradition – shrewd, erudite, polemical, partisan, mischievous and highly topical."
"Keith Sutherland accurately describes 'A People's Parliament' as a 'rant with footnotes'. Yet it would be a pity if it were to be entirely dismissed. For he has drawn attention to a serious problem that confronts representative democracies everywhere... These books raise important issues for the future of our democracy... Their appearance is a sign that the public philosophy which has for so long governed our political arrangements has become outworn."
"[A Citizen Legislature] puts forth substantive proposals that deserve our attention and public debate... [Sutherland's] proposal is unequivocal and straightforward... deserves public debate and consideration."
"Well-presented and argued works and I recommend them to anyone with an interest in democratic governance... the use of the lot in the ways discussed in these books merits more careful consideration than it has received to date." (Also reviewing The Athenian Option by Anthony Barnett and Peter Carty.)
"This book is a fine example of what the times seem to demand, and it warrants a searching, sustained, and fair consideration. It offers within its (attractive) covers two detailed and well-argued blueprints for very consequential political change."
Meet the Author
Peter Stone is Lecturer in Political Science at Trinity College, Dublin. Previously he has taught Political Science at Stanford University and held a Faculty Fellowship at Tulane University's Center for Ethics and Public Affairs in New Orleans. His publications include The Luck of the Draw: The Role of Lotteries in Decision Making (OUP 2011).
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