John Garry : Randomocracy in Northern Ireland

John Garry writes in

There are three crucial ingredients for a high quality democracy: a very large hat, a pen and lots of small bits of paper. Write the name of each citizen in the land on a bit of paper, put all the bits of paper in the hat, close your eyes and pluck out 500 names from the hat. Write to each of the 500 saying:

“Congratulations, you have been picked as one of the 500 people who will run the country for the next five years. Please come along to our Random Parliament and start making decisions about things like welfare reform, flag display and corporation tax rates (maybe). We’ll put you up in a swanky hotel, pay you loads of expenses and square it with your boss. Look forward to seeing you…”

There is an argument in favour of setting up in Northern Ireland a randomly selected decision making body. I will flesh out the argument at the conference in Dublin on the 27th March which focuses on the subject of Citizens and Constitutions.

Anyone can come along, you don’t have to be randomly selected.

John Garry is senior lecturer in comparative political science in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast. He is the Principal Investigator of the “Randomly selected politicians: transforming democracy in the post-conflict setting” project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

2 Responses

  1. Dear John Garry,

    You really should read ‘A Concept for Government’ on|:

    The book you can find at:

    You will be surpriesd.

    Ad van der Ven

    PS Randomocracy = Lottocracy


  2. More sortition at Some lively discussion in the comments, much of it positively inclined.


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