Sortition sounds OK as an alternative method of electing MPs compared to our current system, and probably would work. But you’d also need put in place the same kind of procedures as for jury selection. The right to refuse to stand and the ability for the public to appeal against a selection if they believe the person to be a bad choice. Then you’ve got to ensure that certain types of people aren’t selected. You wouldn’t want psychopaths to be selected would you. After all that you’d end up with what we’ve got already, bar a few minor changes.
What’s wrong with meritocracy?
Candidates for election should show why they are worth electing and can do the job. They should not be selected by a small group of people which means that the general public don’t really get a choice. So open primaries should exist.
But to ensure that it doesn’t matter who is selected, the job description should be very limited. No ability to create laws, only to represent their locality. So basically a talking shop. Out of which might come pronouncements and suggestions which would be put forward to another branch of the government, these not elected but hereditary. That way they don’t need to pander to an electorate and can base their decisions on the long term rather than till the next election. But again, this lot can only put forward the suggestions into referendums as to whether a new law should be created.
If you might notice, the ability to create laws is severely restricted. We don’t need 3,000 new laws. Existing laws cover pretty much everything already. Such things as property rights, human rights, etc are pretty basic. Everything else is twiddly bits on top.
Laws can be created more easily at the local level. This will be done by locally elected people who live locally and are known locally. Yes you will end up in a post code lottery as to whether the importation of Brazil nuts, chillis, pistachios from Iran is legal or not, or whether you get jailed for speeding or just fined. But then if a local law is popular and works, it will be picked up, if not the local people can quickly and easily change it. Also if people find a particular law offensive or unworkable they can also move to an area which has the laws which they do like. A free market for laws in effect.
But what happens if one area’s laws are very popular and everyone flocks there? The area will want to expand. Will it declare war on a neighbouring region and force their laws on that area or will the popular laws get adopted by other regions who see it’s popular and want all the people to come to them too. The later in my view.
I can see that you might point to the current draconion methods of some councils and ask if they should be allowed total control. But the point is that the councils are using laws handed to them by the national government and abusing their responsibilities. Look at how the implemented RIPA. But then they didn’t have to answer the electorate because in many councils, councillors don’t have much power. Only the salaried staff do, like the CEO.
I can also see you point out that people don’t find it easy to move out of an area. They might have lived there all their lives and have strong family commitments. But the point is that some people can move quite easily. Especially if they rent their home.
So, have I solved the whole problem with democracy or is it all pie in the sky? Is it something to run with or is it stuck in the starting blocks?