This is something I wrote for the wonderful students at Kingston Uni who helped with our social media strategy. (watch this space!) Thanks so much for agreeing to help us at Talk Shop. I’m really pleased that you’ll be helping us, because I’m really excited about what Talk Shop might achieve in the near future, with your help. I believe that bottom-up, ‘participative deliberative’ democracy will play a key part in achieving a more just […]

This article by Perry Walker first appeared in The Alternative UK. It is reproduced with their agreement here: Flatpack Democracy seized its town for non-party localism. But they went for the whole council in Herefordshire. Here’s their story: The Flatpack Democracy 2.0 book is going great guns – and we continue to draw inspiration from those “friendly revolutionaries” and their profoundly human-centred and democratic “ways of working” in Frome. But we’re happy to hear parallel […]

Citizens’ Assemblies are suddenly all the rage. On the issue of climate change alone, citizens assemblies are being set up or planned in Leicester, Oxford, Sheffield and Camden, while six house of commons select committees have come together to announce one beginning in the autumn. Much of this sudden flurry of passion for deliberative democracy reflects the overnight appearance of Extinction Rebellion (XR) as a direct action force on climate emergency and its demand that […]

In this series, I am suggesting ways in which people who disagree over Brexit, maybe bitterly so, can have a constructive conversation. In the last two blogs I wrote about destereotyping and how to show that the ‘other side’ are not a bunch of extremists. This blog is about a third approach to reducing the polarisation that Brexit has caused. Atticus Finch introduces this approach in Harper Lee’s famous novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. He […]

From the place where we are right, Flowers will never grow in the spring A while back, I wrote a blog for OpenDemocracy called ‘Helping people to find common ground on Brexit’. I proposed an American model for getting people together called Living Room Conversations. I suggested some forms that a conversation might take, as between people divided over Brexit. I’d like to take the extra space I have here to expand on the latter […]

Perry Walker writes (republished with permission of Social Care Future) Last November, I came to Manchester for Social Care Future’s fringe event for the national adult social care conference. I was there to try out Talk Shop’s discussion kit on adult social care and its funding. Eight people came along, and very helpful was their feedback. One phrase was ‘too Daily Mail’; the word ‘transparency’ is jargon; don’t pick on Baby boomers; and so on. […]

New Council? New Politics! In the local elections of May 2019, the Conservatives lost just over a quarter of all their councillors. In Herefordshire, where I live, they lost just over half. As a result, the Conservative administration has been replaced by a coalition of independents and two parties, the Green Party and It’s Our County, a party just for Herefordshire. The new administration sees the climate emergency as its main task. Both factors – […]

In the first blog about the BCCA, I described how the assembly worked, and how some of its features might – might – have influenced its recommendation. In this blog I talk about its legitimacy. I’ll start by repeating an introductory paragraph from that first blog. The BCCA was set up by the government of British Columbia in Canada to review the electoral system, after two perverse election results with a large mismatch between votes […]

The British Columbia Citizens Assembly (BCCA) has enthused me ever since I heard about it. It has been very well studied, and is full of lessons for Extinction Rebellion and anyone else wondering how to set up an assembly.  In this blog I show how the way in which the Assembly was designed influenced the outcome.  I do this not to be critical of the idea of an Assembly but to draw out those lessons. […]

When public meetings go wrong…. they can make a bad situation so much worse Perry’s recent blog for The Consultation Institute is republished here with permission. The Institute is asking for examples of public meetings. Sometimes we can learn more from worst practice than from best practice, so I thought I’d share this nightmare. Our story begins over ten years ago, in the village of Wing. Wing is in Buckinghamshire, between Aylesbury and Leighton Buzzard, […]