Democracy is great. Most people can agree that basic ideals of democracy like equal representation, fairness, justice and accountability, are what we all want to see in our government.

But is this the reality in 2018?

More often we are actually a government distorted by money, power and privilege. And we continuously see a parliament that lacks the representation of ordinary people like you and me.

With the UK population being more than 50% female, only 32% of MPs elected in 2017 were women. In addition to this 92% of elected officials are white, leaving ethnic minorities vastly unrepresented.

Whilst these figures are improving over time, people with access to more opportunities will continue to have an unfair advantage over those that don’t which makes me question whether we will ever truly see a truly representative parliament.

So is there another way of choosing the people who represent us?

One idea is called ‘Sortition’, also known as random selection. This is when a random selection is made from the general public to create a group that matches the socioeconomic and demographic profile of the country.

Although you may not be in this group and you wouldn’t have a say in who is, there would be someone in this group that would be the same age, gender, location and background as you.

I’ll admit, I was very skeptical when I first heard this idea. However, this is not a new concept. In ancient Athens, sortition was the way they filled the majority of their political posts.

In more recent times sortition is becoming more and more popular and is being tried in countries around the world. One example is the Jefferson Centre in the US who are using ‘Citizens Juries’ to make recommendations on a range of issues.

When I think of how this might benefit us in the UK, I think of Brexit. In the uncertainty and confusing discussions taking place right now it is difficult to know what is the right choice and who we can trust to fight for our best interests.

But if there was a group of regular people, representative of all of our best interests, with access to unbiased background information from experts to inform their decisions; personally, I would be much more inclined to trust their decisions than those of the politicians we see today.

So could this be a part of the solution for the future of democracy in the UK?


Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

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