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I’d do something to recognise the paradox that undermines all representative democracy: even if you choose a person who is genuinely a member of the local community and committed to representing the same, the very business of going off to the centre of power to participate in government exposes them to ideas, influences and concerns which may be completely outside the experience of the community they are supposed to represent.

In such a situation, do you act on what you now know? Or do you act to represent your constituents – even though you may now know them to be in the wrong?

This is one of the central flaws in representative democracy as it is currently practiced: that this tension is not openly stated and understood.

So my party would recruit and promote its candidates on the following basis:

  • They are grounded in local issues but capable of dealing with the bigger picture;
  • They are expected to deal with the bigger picture, and manage both outwards and inwards (i.e. represent their constituency to the wider community – but, crucially, also vice versa);
  • That wherever possible before they contribute to a decision they will have a chance to come back to share the information they have because of their privileged position with their constituency, in order to synchronise their perspective with the constituency’s to whatever extent possible;
  • That where possible the above will happen over some time, to allow for questions arising from the community to be answered;
  • That there is an expectation that the constituency will take some responsibility for paying attention to the stuff being brought back by their representative.

…And this is why my party would almost certainly fail completely.

I don’t, however, believe that spending time on consultation such as this is wasted. Time spent making the decision, vetting the idea, getting everyone on board, etc leads to better decisions – and it means implementation is less likely to be sabotaged because more of the bunfights have already happened. Plus there is the little matter of respecting and seeking the consent of the governed.

Urgh. Need sleep. Sorry if this is muzzy – it gets that from me.

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