Perry Walker writes: Introduction For people who haven’t come across the Win-Win Workout before, here’s a summary. The aim is to find solutions to tricky and divisive political issues that work for everyone. We do that in two stages: Identify a set of shared aims that everyone can live with Seek solutions that meet those shared aims This two-stage solution is critical. In this divisive and divided age, discussion of solutions so easily gets stuck […]

Perry Walker writes: This is the name of a book, just published, by Manon Loisel and Nicolas Rio. They are two practitioners of…wait for it… participatory democracy, running a consultancy called Partie Prenante, or Stakeholders. The book is full of provocations, as you might guess from the title, and well worth a blog. I confess that I’ve not read the book. My French is not up to it, and it is not (as yet) available […]

Introduction For people who haven’t come across the Win-Win Workout before, here’s a summary. The aim is to find solutions to tricky and divisive political issues that work for everyone. We do that in two stages: Firstly by identifying a set of shared aims that everyone can live with; and then looking for solutions that meet those shared aims. This two-stage solution is critical. In this divisive and divided age, discussion of solutions so easily […]

Perry Walker writes: Those of our readers who have followed the evolution of the Win-Win Workout (see here and here) will know that we believe in splitting political decision-making into two stages. First, citizens decide what aims the decision-making should achieve. Second, there is then a role for experts in deciding what solutions best deliver those aims. In emphasising expertise in the second stage, we don’t mean to suggest that citizens have no role. Quite […]

Perry Walker writes Introduction Actually, the title’s a bit of a liberty. This article is not about Salzburg, where the Sound of Music is set. Rather, it concerns Vorarlberg, the Western-most state of Austria, which shares borders with Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. It is a small state, with fewer than 400,000 inhabitants. Why Citizens Councils (Bürgerrat in German)? Well, suppose the Win-Win Workout was adopted by some part of the British system of governance. How […]

Perry Walker writes Introduction For people who haven’t come across the Win-Win Workout before, here’s a summary. The aim is to find solutions to tricky and divisive political issues that work for everyone. We do that in two stages: Identify a set of shared aims that everyone can live with Seek solutions that meet those shared aims This two-stage solution is critical. In this divisive and divided age, discussion of solutions so easily gets stuck […]

Mark Potts writes Introduction Salisbury Democracy Alliance ran this event in May 2023 with the local network of the Royal Society of Arts. Participants included two Labour councillors, along with the only Independent councillor. How it worked Participants were allocated to groups of 5/6 persons. Each group had a facilitator. The organisers had chosen the 24 cards out of the original 60 that were most relevant to Salisbury. A set of these cards was dealt […]

Martin Yarnit writes: Local government politics is sedate, slow moving, obedient to the dictates of central government – for the most part. But recently there have been some ripples, big and small. Bristol and Liverpool have both discarded their mayors. Whilst Sheffield has witnessed a polite but determined upsurge of people’s power to bring local politicians to heel. So polite that most people still haven’t grasped the significance of the change. When Sheffield Council’s new […]

Perry Walker writes: Initially, participating scientists, teachers, students, local government employees, councillors and activists, who took part in the Assemblies we organised, wondered: What is More Than Human? What happens at such an Assembly, and how does it work in terms of both the process and the outcomes? The Assembly of Humans and More Than Humans brings together all the species relevant to a particular situated and live issue. For example, whether to approve a […]

The Big One took place from Friday April 21st to Monday April 24th, mainly outside the Houses of Parliament. It was led by Extinction Rebellion (XR) but supported by over 200 other organisations, including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and PCS Union. Between 60,000 and 100,000 people took part over the 3 days. People’s assemblies are central to XR. (They differ from Citizens’ Assemblies, also central to XR, in being open to all, as opposed […]