The Party’s Over: Blueprint for a Very English Revolution

Greg requested an outline of my structural proposals for the introduction of sortition, so here goes. It’s a talk I gave recently to the University of Brighton Philosophy Society. The focus is the UK parliament, but the principles are more general.

It’s become a commonplace that our political arrangements are in bad shape. Party leaders know we’ve twigged that there is no connection between manifesto commitments and actual policies, yet for some reason we don’t call their bluff – those of us who still turn out to vote give politicians the benefit of the doubt by maintaining that polite fiction called democracy. Party membership has declined catastrophically since the middle of the last century – parties now do little more than reflect what focus groups say we want, rather than continuing to stand for a particular manner of thinking, or specific socio-economic interests. So what is the point of the party?

The argument that I want to put forward this evening is that tinkering around with the electoral system by introducing AV or proportional representation is just re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. What is needed is clear thinking, we need to bring to bear the tools of the philosopher via:

  • A clear analysis of the relevant concepts and categories
  • A thorough understanding of the history of political thought

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