James S Fishkin (21st June 2018) Democracy When the People are Thinking: Revitalising our Politics through Public Deliberation
The UK has been subjected to years of political uncertainty and turmoil as a consequence of the majority public decision to leave the European Union in the 2016 Referendum. ‘Brexit’ is described by politicians as ‘the will of the people[i].’ It would, politicians argue, undermine democracy not to deliver this decision. Do we really know the will of the people, however, when the public is subject to hugely expensive campaigns of persuasion which promote false information and are funded by individuals who have an interest in the outcome of the vote; when they are denied access to robustly-researched, accurate information; and when a fully representative public have not properly deliberated the reasons for and against the competing alternatives in conditions which ensure everyone’s views can be meaningfully expressed and equally counted?
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