How to start taking politics beyond polarisation The problem: Politics, especially in the UK, believes that a majority vote settles the issue. Why it matters: As well as leaving an unhappy minority, this inhibits the search for creative solutions that work for everybody. The solution: Avoid such a vote, or treat it as a starting point. In both cases, start by seeking out the common ground. Last year, Apolitical published an article of mine called […]

We must find ways to introduce preference voting into UK politics because it encourages people out of the binary, and tribal way, we’re conditioned to think. Integrated into a well-designed event, it encourages people to consider other points of view. This, we believe, will lead to people identifying common ground, which they can build upon to create solutions that work for everybody. Recently Talk Shop held a webinar on this topic. What follows is an […]

The Deliberative Gap: Why Citizens’ Assemblies Need Initiatives Like Talk Shop We thank Stuart White of Jesus College, Oxford for this blogpost. Citizens Assemblies (CAs) are all the rage right now. And with good reason. But CAs have limitations. One is the gap that can potentially open up between those participating in a CA and the wider public. Initiatives like Talk Shop can perhaps address this problem by organizing meetings that establish and maintain connections […]

Suppose you want to find out about a debate in parliament. Suppose that debate is the two day House of Commons debate on Covid-19 on May 11th and 12th 2020. It was a hybrid debate, with some MPs physically present and others speaking from home. 78 MPs spoke. The transcript in Hansard takes around 100 pages. Reading that takes stamina. Furthermore, the Motion before the House was, “That this House has considered Covid-19”. Such generality […]

Martin Yarnit writes: Citizens’ assemblies and other forms of deliberative democracy are vital to the renewal of representative democracy but so is a new relationship between MPs and the people who elect them. As the newly elected Labour MP for Sheffield Central in 2010, in a highly marginal seat and with the MPs’ expenses scandal still fresh in voters’ minds, Paul Blomfield saw the need for a new approach, as he explained to me in […]

What is the 99% organisation? The 99% organisation was set up to implement the aims of a book by Mark E. Thomas  called ‘The 99%, mass impoverishment and how we can end it’. Its two main aims are “growing the pie and sharing it more fairly.” One of its initial projects is called ‘Herefordshire 2030’ (H2030), this being the county in which Mark lives. Appreciative inquiry was chosen to provide qualitative information about life in […]

This blog describes how a participatory process called Appreciative Inquiry (AI) can be used to develop neighbourhood and community plans. AI uses questions – the Inquiry – to identify the best of what is happening now – the Appreciation – as the basis for dreaming what the future might be. Some advantages of this approach are: It’s much more energising than asking people what the problems are It gives the vision solid foundations and makes […]

Perry Walker writes: A couple of years ago, I was trained in a marvellous method called Convergent Facilitation (CF) by its inventor, Miki Kashtan, from BayNVC in California, in the USA. Since then, I’ve been musing on which types of win-win solution CF works for, and which other types there might be. First, though, what is Convergent Facilitation? CF encourages us to seek the ‘non-controversial essence’ between groups that need to explore their differences in […]

Watching a Hay Digital event early last week, I was frustrated by the way that some excellent comments disappeared so quickly up the screen. I wondered whether ‘argument mapping’ could be the answer. If you haven’t come across it, think of mind mapping, but applied to a discussion. We found some free software called Coggle, which is easy to use, and three of us started practising. We each had a different role. Ella put comments […]