Wednesday, 16 December 2009

How TV could help political engagement

Andrew Sparrow writes in G2 about Simon Cowell's offer to reinvigorate democracy.

He quotes me saying the following:

Sunder Katwala, general secretary of the Fabian Society, however, believes that Cowell would be doing us a service if his programme demonstrated that politics is more complicated than people tend to assume. There have been TV programmes that have performed this function, Katwala says, but they involved discussing issues in a "deliberative" rather than a "referendum" format.

"It would be interesting to see hot-button issues like, say, immigration or crime discussed in this type of way. But that's quite Reithian, rather than Cowellite. And there would be no money in the phone lines," Katwala added.

I was thinking of the Channel Four People's Parliament programmes several years ago - a citizen's jury model of democratic engagement on the box.

One of the most obvious downsides of push-button TV referendum model of plebiscitary democracy is the problem of aggregation - as the voters of California increasingly recognise.

But, like the Vote for Me programme, the Jury Party and other attempts to act on the fashionable anti-politics of the zeitgeist into practice, such experiments could have important unintended benefits in political education.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Yes and the winner could be given a job as a New labour MP, well in opposition we hope next year, or even how about the winner become leader of the Labour party, well we will need one of them nest year.