Talk about Newsnight


Citizens' juries

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Sep 07, 12:54 PM

gb18_9.gifGordon Brown has launched his vision of 'New Politics' to broaden consultation in goverment decisions. Security, climate change, global competition, the NHS and schools could be opened up for public debate.

Which subjects do you think should be discussed and is a public forum the best way to do this? How effective do you think these forums will be in reality?

Let us know your thoughts by filling in the form below. You can also view other comments here or watch some video blogs by clicking here.

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What a terrible designation. But then, if you study Gordon’s grasp of language, it is just as pathetic. Analysis of the speeches of “Great Communicator Blair” showed a defiance of all rules of syntax; Brown seems to go more for trite and ultra redundancy.
Oh – what was the question? Answer: this is politics – the answer is always “a lemon” and we are required to suck on it. The largest "Civilian Jury" in memory, met in the streets of London (and many other venues)to declare the Iraq war a bad idea. Gordon was not listening then - he is not listening now.

  • 2.
  • At 07:35 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Robert Seddon wrote:

Surely we citizens can already influence the political process through the tried and tested method of writing to our MPs.

If you laughed at that suggestion...

  • 3.
  • At 07:47 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • shella wrote:


Its very strange that You and Yours a favourite of mine on Radio 4, unlocked the floodgates of anger today, at the way in which our political systems operates.

The new politics requires a new popular democratic structure, that allows for particpation, to replace the old liberal representative model, which reflected a nineteenth century view of the world. Democracy needs to broadened, not depend on marginal votes in marginal seats. No wonder people do not trust the government, with its ever repressive state structure and surveillance of dissent, that rivals anything in Stalinist Russia. Without reform, or perferably revolution in our democratic institutions, the centralised state bureaucracy fills the power vacuum, and, our society is run by bureaucrats not elected officials, leading a to a new gulag.

The gulag is here in detention centres, in youth offending centres, and in our prisons, where people are locked away in dreadful conditions because of arbitrary orders, or, often because of the politics, prejudices and whims of judges, and, juries. Women's prisons are of course scandalous, with women locked up for the most minor of offences, such as not being able to afford a TV licence. This totalitarian stalinisation of society characterises modern Britain, not its innovative democratic structures.

On You and Yours, the programme was overwhelmed with comments about the sham democracy we live in, the poor representation, the rotten boundaries and constituencies that exist: the dependence on a minority of votes so that the true voice of the majority is not heard. People no longer trust politicians because they have lied to us continually since the end of the WW2 on all sides, and got away with it because of our outdated semi-democratic voting system. Unless that changes, and the new politics recognises the real problems - lack of representation and participation - remember the old saying "First they came for .... Then they came for me." Because they will be coming for you one day!

  • 4.
  • At 02:28 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Silkstone wrote:

Anyone observing Brown's persona over the past ten years couldn't have failed to foresee just how dry, brittle and wearisome his proclamations would be once he became P.M.

Simply listening to and looking at this devious man brings on a feeling of unfeigned tiredness.

The irrational concept of setting up Citizen's Juries is yet another mind-massaging distraction: begging innumerable questions; e.g. how many such 'Juries' would be necessary and who could possibly act as unbiased and impartial Judges. More importantly who would be on trial, the citizens themselves, or, most unlikely, the happy band of career politicians who have the colossal crust to call themselves a Parliament?

Brown purports to be committed to listening to what the Nation has to say and immediately contradicts himself by his actions. The Nation already has indisputable proof that his supposed 'best intentions' amount to mendacious bilge of the most rancid kind..... NO YOU CAN'T HAVE A REFERENDUM, THE BLAIR/BROWN RED LINES HAVE BEEN MET! In other words, YOU, the British people, are not permitted to have any red lines of your own whatsoever!

By refusing the Nation an opportunity to actually 'speak' through a referendum, he cocoons himself in the fatuous belief that he cannot possibly be accused thereafter of not having 'listened' to what has NOT been said.

How pathetically subtle.

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