That public jury thing

A call for a randomly drawn 1,000 person jury? To examine everything?

Umm, no, not quite.

The Jury would be made up of 1,000 citizens drawn as a random sample of the electorate.

There\’s an awful lot of wriggle room in that you know. What\’s the weighting we\’re going to use to show that it\’s representative of the electorate?

More importantly though who is going to present evidence? Who controls what is looked at, how and by whom?

The Jury will be funded out of the public purse, with a paid secretariat with the resources to commission research and call witnesses.

Yes, quite, it\’s always the terms of reference which determine where an inquiry goes, isn\’t it?

Then we get the people who have signed it.

Professor Kate Pickett, University of York

That would be interesting: can we commission Chris Snowden to examine her book the Spirit Level?

Ann Pettifor, Prime Economics

Prime economic loon there.

Deborah Doane, World Development Movement

Teenage Trot.

John Christenson, Tax Justice Network

Richard Murphy, Tax Research LLP

No, no, they wouldn\’t be angling for a place on the paid secretariat now, would they?

Andrew Simms, nef fellow

Nor he

Professor Danny Dorling, University of Sheffield

This one\’s definitely a loon. Claims that all children are entirely equal, it\’s only upbringing and training that makes them different.

Professor Prem Sikka, University of Essex

Rare to see one of these letters he doesn\’t sign.

Professor Richard Wilkinson, Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology

Ditto with Mr. Snowden and the book.

Jeremy Leggett, founder and CEO, Solar Century

Who would like to bet one whether the jury will be asked to increase solar PV feed in tariffs?

Ruth Potts, The Great Transition, New Economics Foundation

Stewart Wallis, executive director, New Economics Foundation

Three neffers in total? We know it\’s going to be lunatic, don\’t we?

Rajesh Makwana, director, Share The World\’s Resources


Now, there is one way I would support this. To take a little lesson from business say. When you set up a joint venture you never, ever, set it up as 50/50. Someone, somewhere, has to have the ability to tell the other side to shut up. The most sensible way of doing this is to give one partner 51%…..but give management control to the 49%er.

The 51% can get rid of that management, that\’s what the 51% is for. But it\’s the nuclear option, only usable in dire crisis.

On this basis I say we give this list of Statist loons their jury. Yup, their secretariat, public funds and all.

But we get a very much non-statist loon (it\’s the \”non-statist\” which is important here) to actually run the secretariat and determine what evidence is collected, who is hired to do so and who presents it and how.

You know, me.

You get your investigation lefties: just not quite the parade of your own prejudices that you were hoping for.

9 thoughts on “That public jury thing”

  1. Parliament should be replaced by randomly selected members of the public who are called up on a basis similar to Jury service for say 5 years, and whose sole job is to hold the executive to account.

    Each year 20% would be replaced.

    Couldn’t be worse than the present system!

  2. Well of couurse this is bad, because it’s based on the “enquiry” model, which is kind of the type species of biased investigation. The intention obviously is just for these 1000 people to echo what the appointed experts tell them is right and proper, and provide a sheen of legitimacy by being “ordinary folks”.

    But there are schemes that are somewhat similar that could be good. My own idea for the House of Lords is to replace it with a House Of Lottery. Anyone can be appointed to it, like a jury. They are handsomely rewarded for the inconvenience. A “lord” serves two years, and half the house is appointed each year. It has no legislative authority, but has the power to permanently strike down any legislation; that is, it is a “house of veto”. Random choice would provide a reasonably representative sample, though of course one year might have more chavs and another might have more professionals.

    Oh, and lobbying its members would be a criminal offence, maybe.

  3. “There was a striking moment for me in going to give evidence to the Royal Commission, I found myself in a lift with ‘Lord’ Douglas Hurd who was one of its luminaries. He commented on how extraordinary it was that when the Commission had gone round the country to hear from the public at every occasion someone had stood up and suggested that the Lords be selected like a jury from members of the public. It was clear that he regarded the notion as bizarre, evidence that the public was slightly mad and could not be trusted. ”

  4. As I pointed out on rm’s blog. Have you seen what sort of people are on our criminal trial juries! They had to take complex fraud cases away from them, but obviously it’s fine for them to sort out the countries economic mess. Apparently they would be advised by advisors. Why not put them on the jury?

    The question I asked richard which he didn’t publish was why can’t our democratically elected mp’s do what they have been elected to do. Why do we need this?

  5. I quite like the citizen’s lottery/parliament thingy, not sure two years is long enough though, three might give them more time to settle in and learn how not to do stuff, a three year rotation would give a more workable turnover too, not so many rookies, deadbeats etc in one go. Obviously I would expect to be one of the lottery winners and after three years of doing a brilliant job It would be only natural if my enormous talents were recognised and, Chavez style, my term was made indefinite…. I think I may have spotted the flaw.

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