We are all gearing up for an Assembly election at which we will select decision makers, complain about them for the next five years, and then select a slightly different crew in five years time.
This is called democracy. Broadly speaking it works, but given the gridlock in the system and a pervasive sense of apathy about politics, it is probably wise to be on the look-out for ways of improving our democracy.
One approach is to suggest that for some, and perhaps even many, decisions we don’t need politicians. We can simply let a sample of citizens decide. If this sample of citizens is an accurate cross-section of society as a whole and is informed about the issue at hand, maybe the citizens could directly take a decision on the issue.
Would citizens be well able to seriously consider contentious issues and come up with a thoughtful decision? What do the general public think about this idea of citizen decision-making? What are the views of MLAs?
This short animation – Democracy Without Politicians – addresses these questions and takes us through the possible story of such a system being implemented in Northern Ireland.