More criticism around the Herefordshire climate citizens assembly

Skepticism toward the Herefordshire climate citizens assembly continues to reverberate on the pages of the Hereford Times.

On February 28th, a letter to the editor was published which asked David Hitchiner, Leader of the Herefordshire council, whether he endorses the assertion made on the website of the Sortition Foundation (which took part in the organization of the assembly), that “our politics are broken”, and more specifically asking how much the sortition process has cost. Councillor David Hitchiner then responded that he does “not consider that [the political system] is perfect” and that the process cost £70,000.

Now, a letter from Julian Evans from Lyonshall is again critical of the sortition proceedings. Evans is pointing at the sum paid to the 48 citizens who were selected to participate in the assembly – £300 each – and says that it indicates that the allotted “were ranked as more important than parish councils”, whose members are unpaid. She writes:

It is therefore reasonable that we should be told who these people are and that they should each be required to file a declaration of interests, as all parish councillors are mandated to do.

This would be in keeping with the spirit of openness and accountability professed by the current administration.

The link on the council website leads only to the relevant councillors and specialist speakers.

Evans also notes:

Needless to say, perhaps, the Citizens’ Assembly’s “virtual” meetings were not open to the public.

The commenters are also rather critical of the sortition idea and process. One writes:

You can bet your bottom dollar it was a group who knew Dudley shyt about the climate changes.

Again, there is a lot of focus on the issue of money spent and gained:

Yet again a seemingly lack of transparency from our council. Why £300 tax payers money to individuals to do a climate assembly? It is an extremely important topic I’m sure there are many who would have contributed voluntarily. Just more short sightedness and money spending abuse by an out of touch poorly managed Council. Don’t MPs get £300 for turning up at Parliament, is 300 the going attendance rate accross the board, such a scandalous waste of financial resources.

No. MPS don’t get paid for turning up.

It is members of the unelected Lords that get paid for turning up.

MPs get paid whether they turn up or not, all the while ensuring they maximise their expenses.

Sortition’s tag line is ‘Let’s do democracy differently’, presumably by cutting out the democracy bit. 48 x £300 = £14400 of our money, for what? What was their fee on top?

(There is also some back-and-forth on whether Sortition Foundation has a Lord on their board of directors, or whether Lord is no more than a last name.)

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  1. […] More criticism around the Herefordshire climate citizens assembly | Equality by lot […]

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