Race to the bottom

I restarted the blog so I could comment on the election, but I’ve found it too depressing to do much. The major parties are engaged in a race to the bottom in every respect, announcing silly focus-group-driven policies and appealing to the worst instincts of the electorate. The mass media have encouraged this, obsessing over trivial scandals and personality issues and disregarding our real economic and social problems. The only serious hope for progress on policy is the Greens but they remain marginalised. I’ll try to offer some discussion of the Greens policies on various issues but at this point, I think, there is little reason to follow the main campaign.

84 thoughts on “Race to the bottom

  1. I hear and feel your frustration. If it helps (and we all know it doesn’t help at all), there is much the same sentiment in Canada: Those platforms that show any kind of innovation or progress belong to parties that have no chance of forming a government while those that have a chance are nigh indistinguishable from one another except by the bobble-heads that make the talking points on TV. Even if the parties that have optimistic platforms were in a place to form government, there is the cynical realization that, to get there, they would have to compromise their positions to a degree that would make them, too, indistinguishable.

  2. @Michael
    I agree it is depressing to watch the politicians “announce” policies that appear to be addressed only to this weeks media polls when the media is just so perverse anyway. Playing right into the media’s hands.

  3. Oh I’m so much with you on this and having always been such a keen follower of politics cannot express just how deeply disappointed and depressed I am over this campaign and the MSM’s assassination of it.

    One look no further than the current ABC’s tenacious attacks on Labor’s leaks and what Wayne Swan said last night, which really was trivial, to see what I mean.

    For heaven’s sake Howard spent tens of millions of tax payers money and scarce AFP resources each year finding and plugging leaks, but if you were to believe the ABC this is all new and unique.

    In the meantime some significant and important policy announcements slipped by, and who is the ABC blaming for this, why Julia Gillard of course for having leaks against her.

    I’ve never know political depression, but if what I’m feeling now is it then please let the election be over and done with and a pox on whoever wins.

  4. I am of the same mind – the major parties are hopeless and represent (and encourage) the worst aspects of the community. Labor and Liberal are utterly complicit with the mass media narratives of hatred and fear. For me the critical political issue that needs addressing before progressive change is likely is media power and the abyssmal way in which that power is used. I have no idea how that can be changed in a practical sense – we need changes to ownership rules. The net seems to have helped, but I am not sure of the extent.

  5. Can I beg all commenters to adopt a more considered use of the word ‘policy’? Every day we read about the parties releasing various ‘policies’ when in fact they are announcing initiatives, or measures, or proposals that almost universally LACK a coherent policy foundation.

    It would be a red letter day, for example, if the ALP ever released a policy on tax, or asylum seekers, or water management. Instead of a discourse that implies we are overwhelmed with policies, we ought to deplore the fact that there are hardly any.

  6. @gregh
    You can always watch the ABC? there is the BBC for O/S news.

    many a good middle-age leftie was ABC born and raised

    after the deregulation of media, there were more TV stations, and now a proliferation of cable news and information channels.

    Social media such as blogs might help too, but too many blog readers go to blogs where they seek confirmation of their prior views and suspicions.

    These blog readers do not like to see their views challenged, and some even get a bit hostile when they are. I face no risk of affirmation on this blog.

    Knowledge grows by being challenged, not reaffirmed.

  7. @Jim Rose
    not really the issue I’m addressing Jim Rose – most people in Australia get their info from corporate TV news. I won’t get into the idea that people ‘freely choose’ the media they watch as the idea of ‘free choice’ is utterly unsupported.

  8. @gregh

    who is the we in #4 that you seek to change ownership rules?

    The same people who are competent enough to vote and drive cars also operate the TV remote.

    how did you escape your false consciouness?

  9. “how did you escape your false consciouness?”

    Who knows? Certainly not by the exercise of free will.

  10. as you have no free choice, as you say, whose class interests are you pushing in this election?

  11. @gregh
    One solution to your frustation with the quality of the current election is to advocate a strong federal state.

    A vibrant federalism will mean that the stakes at any one election is less and those wreckers on the opposition benches can do less damage when they have their hands on only one of many governments.

    British Labour reconsidered federalism and the advantages of a greater division of power after 18 years of Thatcher and co., good and hard. devolution for scotland and wales, and an assembly for london.

    The Greens will not provide the great leap forward in the quality of democratic deliberation at elections because their views are deeply unpopular with the vast majority of the electorate.

  12. @Jim Rose
    straying a bit OT – one thing I might say is – if elected, which party Labor, Liberal, or Greens would provide the least support to coporate power.

  13. John, there is no doubt that today’s polls will shake up Labor and more needs to done given that the Coalition will continue to announce more me-tooism backflip policies on the run. What the Australian public want is ‘certainty’ and a ‘pact’ with The Greens in setting a ‘price for carbon’ would be a good start.

  14. @gregh
    The Oz green voter can be like those 97,000 green voters who voted for Nader in Florida in 2000.

    They felt really good – a great expressive vote – an act of solidarity with the Green left, and Bush spent 8 years in the white house.

    If Abbott wins, do you really think he is certain to survive for no more than one term, and a rebuilt labour party will beat him in 2013 by going left?

  15. @Jim Rose
    I’m not convinced by the ‘wasted vote’ argument at all Jim Rose. If using such a basis I would argue that those who vote Labor while thinking they are going to get good policies based around some sort of social justice /egalitarian vision (broadly construed) are those who truly waste their vote.

    The Oz green voter can be like the Nader voters, or they can be like the Australian voters who vote in a substantial group of Greens – time will tell

  16. In the 19th century there was a two party system where workers voted for the protectionists and the threat was that if they didnt then the free traders would get elected. In the UK and Australia some visionaries founded labour parties which were often potrayed as the greens and Nader are now. That is, wasted votes and spoilers. Until all those who despair at the ALP on enviroment, refugees and (in NSW at least) the corruption actually change their behaviour and join the greens and vote green then things wont change. It took twenty or thirty years but eventually from small beginnings the labout parties became main stream and if ever there was a need for a similar process its now.

  17. Chris Dodds, there is no doubt Labor has made a few mistakes and are now paying the penalty but it is not too late to get back ontrack. What Labor needs to do is differentiate themselves from the Coalition and a ‘pact’ with The Greens in setting a ‘price for carbon’ would be a good start.

  18. @jquiggin
    some on this blog want to vote for the greens then ensure that their preferences do not count for the major parties by repeating numbers after 1.

    The greens sniping at labour does not increase the chances of the ALP winning.

  19. That method of voting will now result in an informal vote. The opportunity to go 1,2,2,2 was removed some time ago.

    I do wish Greasmonkey would work on this board like some others where I can kill all posts by certain users who can BS on multiple tangents at length

  20. It’s official, ‘The State of the Climate 2009 report’ findings that global warming is humanly induced reinforces the need for urgent action and Labor should enter into and a ‘pact’ with The Greens in setting a ‘price for carbon’ ASAP.

  21. It’s depressing isn’t it. Politics should be engaging, stirring, passionate etc but it’s become kinda embarrassing like the squirminess you feel when someone is making a complete dill of themselves, you avert your gaze and hope for god’s sake that it’ll end.
    It’s like the government is tired and bereft of ideas after 3 or 4 terms in office and is just trying to cling to power and the opposition just wants power. I actually feel nostalgia for the time of Johnny H. who at least was willing to stake it all on a principle, belief, idea; dare I say it – the Vision Thing. In the meantime just let the campaign follow its execrable course, have a nice lie in on the 22nd and perhaps catch the news about who has won. Serve them right if it’s a hung Parliament and the Greens hold the balance of power.

  22. KimMac, are you suggesting the conclusions reached by 300 scientists from 48 countries are wrong? If so prove it.

  23. @Dave McRae
    yes, there was an extensive debate on its legality on this blog.

    green sniping at the ALP, saying that it is little better than the Libs, does not help the Left because it encourages the 20% of greens who second preference the Libs to keep doing so because a second preference for the ALP matters little, so they return home to the Libs.

    if that number of the 20% of greens who second preference the Libs increases to 30%, that adds about 1% to the two-party preferred for the Libs. important in a close election.

    if abbott wins, it will be on the back of the 20% or more of greens who second preference the Libs

    The green party is a method of splitting your vote so you can vote liberal and still feel good about yourself. The greens do not increaee the net vote for the left, the greens decrease it.

  24. I share your sentiments PrQ.

    I will be assisting the Greens, but it doesn’t occur to me that anything good can come out of this election.

    I strongly suspect that Gillard will win, but that the victory will be pyrrhic in character, as will the win to Abbott if she happens to lose.

    We really need a whole new system for composing governance in this country.

  25. @Fran Barlow

    The Strategic Constitution by Robert D. Cooter may be of interest to you in building a bnew system. see http://press.princeton.edu/titles/6849.html

    Cooter argues that constitutional theory should focus on the real-world consequences of various constitutional provisions and choices and show how to design them.

    John elster’s On majoritarianism and rights, East European Constitutional Review [1 (3):19
    is good too as is the Elster edited Alternatives to capitalism.

  26. The most recent decade was the hottest (globally) since records began. This is the decade that supposedly cooled down from 1998 (the hottest year up to 1998) and so heralded a new age of extreme free-market views combined with the “There is no such thing as society, just individuals.” (or something like that) low-brow, knuckle-dragging view of the world.

    Some globe-trotting clown sporting a penchant for expressing association with the abode of many lords did tour every little hick town in the global village, hoping to spread neocon reality as an oleaginous layer (atop real reality) to the definitely unwashed. Some weirdo with a bizarre affliction for talking to an imaginary friend did a preference deal with Labor, and helped to block action against anthropogenic climate change, ie AGW. The Liberals also played their part, as did the Greens, in blocking any further action for several years at the least. Labor didn’t like Garnaut’s high scientific hurdle; so, instead of putting in some practice in order to clear the bar, Labor took Garnaut’s lowball political estimation of what the international politics would dictate, and made it the basis of our negotiations both in Copenhagen and with the Liberals.

    The crustier of the neocon/economic rationalists (HA!) among them, Nick Minchin in particular, got all their ducks in a row and toppled the Liberal-who-would-dare-negotiate, stealing a largely symbolic but nevertheless essential victory from the Australian People at the very last minute. May they burn in their own imaginary Hells, may they rot in infamy!

    Only one party has been steadfast in its view that it is the scientific assessment that matters most in deciding on targets to set. Only the Greens have chosen a still risky, but at least much safer option than doing nothing, scientifically based path to achieving a desired scientific outcome. Instead of playing race-to-the-bottom politics with AGW.

    In a more sane world I would probably vote Labor, although Liberals could not be ruled out; the Greens would be after Labor. But the insane world of poly-waffles winning the community away from action on AGW, instead of supporting the actions required as so many scientists have toilded to convey to the wider public. One man – Rupert Murdoch – has done more damage to the campaign to take scientifically based action on AGW, than any other I can thing of. While he may claim that his newspapers are free of editorial biase, they sure do follow a familiar, well wornd path. Then there is Chris Mitchell working for “The Australian” daily national newspaper; some climate scientist refused to share a cab with him or sumtin’, because Boy! has he got it in for formally credentialled expert climate scientists.

    Which brings us back to the elections here in Oz. The new prime minister, Ms Julia Gillard, is now copping an almost hourly pasting in the media, and daily baseball bats are dished out to her (and by extension Labor) by none other than “The Australian”. My strong feeling is that it has reached the stage where the MSM is entirely confident in itself at destroying every Labor leader. It may take time but the MSM has the patience of Methusela.

    “Whatever it takes” was one of the tacit mottos of the neocon element within the Liberal party, and in fact was a big part of why I won’t vote for them as long as any of these ministers still have a heartbeat, and that was always understood. But now the MSM, and even a few of the older guys in the Labor ministry have endorsed this approach to politics by way of their actions. Leakers of snippets of Cabinet meetins aren’t playing a straight bat.
    So, I won’t vote for them!

    Boy, I’ve been building this one up!

  27. Donald Oats, Labor can only blame themselves for getting into such a mess. But if blame is to be pointed at anyone then the boneheads calling themselves ‘advisors’ should be shown the door. Have to go.

  28. @Jim Rose

    What little I can see from your link it doesn’t much appeal. I have some ideas based around sortition for candidates, deliberative selection for finalisation and direct democracy for macro questions.

  29. It’s not good news for Australia that the only party that takes the science on climate and sustainability seriously is on the fringe. Good on the Greens, I hope they do well electorally and hope they perform well in parliament but against a coalition (in all but name) of Labor, LibNats and Australia’s biggest companies devoted to a quarry economy?
    When do we begin seeing mainstream politics truly taking climate seriously and starting to give us more than greenwash? Going by performance to date…. We’ve had 2 full decades of knowing we can’t keep making energy the dirty way yet we are still building coal fired power stations which don’t have any carbon price and probably won’t for another 20 years, whereupon there may be some small price incentive introduced that might result in some shift away from coal over a couple of decades after that… probably to gas, which can’t deliver the necessary long term reductions in emissions even if they replaced all coal plants right now in one hit.
    Just to begin the minimum necessary to begin changing energy production to reach the targets we should be achieving about now? I figure 20-40 years from now, 40-60 years after knowing it was necessary. That’s probably 20-40 years too late.
    Our governments will continue to spend more on motorway upgrades and backing mining exploration than on reducing emissions for the foreseeable future and I don’t think the Greens can significantly change that.

  30. I couldn’t agree more, John. My only hope for this election is that The Greens get the balance of power in the Senate. I’m not sure which depresses me more though; the downward-spiral race of the major parties, or a lazy/inane press (ABC as guilty as any) for not calling shennanigans on their policies/rhetoric.

  31. Pr Q said:

    The major parties are engaged in a race to the bottom in every respect, announcing silly focus-group-driven policies and appealing to the worst instincts of the electorate. The mass media have encouraged this, obsessing over trivial scandals and personality issues and disregarding our real economic and social problems.

    The boring me-tooism and bland boiler-plated rhetoric of the major parties is the down-side of what I call “the Great Convergence”, a dialectical process in which the major parties converge on policy ideologies. This process has been underway since the latter part of the nineties, as the post-modern liberal consensus on “reform” has either collapsed or gradually been exhausted, on both economic (“class war”) and civic (“culture war”) policy fronts.

    In general the Great Convergence is a relatively benign political phenomenon because it betokens an underlying consensus about both ideological progress and insitutional processes. (For a taste of what serious partisan divergence looks like I give you the REP v DEMs in the USA.)

    Given bi-partisan ideological consensus on policy, the focus of political conflict shifts to psephological tactics of the parties (“focus-group driven policies”) and psychological defects of the politicians (“personality issues”) . These two merge in the media’s ever-present “gotcha” urge to pounce on gaffes or beat-ups (“trivial scandals”).

    As for populist pandering to the “worst instincts of the electorate” firstly, “who died and elected Pr Q Pope?” and secondly, the phrase “once bitten, twice shy” springs to mind.

    Granted its always possible (and, for Pr Q it seems, inevitable) to express disgust with the major parties inattention to “our real social and economic problems”. But AUS policy over the noughties has on the whole been fair and reasonable under both Howard-L/NP and Rudd-ALP. It would be nice if Pr Q gave the major parties credit for at least keeping the ship of state on an even keel and not to far off-course.

    Could do better, no doubt. If AUS had voted Howard back in 2007 we would be on-track to have an ETS up-and-running, instead of endless dithering. So you can’t say I didn’t tell you so.

  32. Jack said:

    For a taste of what serious partisan divergence looks like I give you the REP v DEMs in the USA

    Pretty much what we have here. Both parties agree on most things and the bunfights are about cultural identity. Obama shot himself in the foot by pandering to even more eghregious bipartisan posturing, giving the Repugs a free pass on their atturly inept and sociopathic beheaviour for the first 8 years of the new millennium. It is not inconceivable that he will be ejected in 2012 as a result and in any event find himself with an unworkable congress for the remainder of his term. Putting questions of ethics aside the politics was dumb.

    And much the same could be said of Rudd/Gillard. Their extravagant courting of the consensus is allowed the Howard forces to escape censure and then whiteant the government. Had Rudd simply announced that when Garnaut came out, he meant to follow its recommendations down to the commas and fullstops, we would have had a functioning ETS by now. The Libs would not have dared oppose it, and if they had, they’d have been shot ducks at the snap election he could have called.

    Like Obama, the man lacked either the the ticker or the nous, which was a shame.

  33. @Fran Barlow
    Obama’s bipartisan posturing!?

    did any of his key legislation make any significant concessions to the republicans.

    did any republicans vote for any of his key legislation because of these concessions? perhaps a smallest of a handful – did they swing the vote?

    Obama was worried about losing blue-dog democracts who must be fiscal conservatives because their districts vote republican in the presidential races.

    The democracts have large majorities in both house of congress and did have 60 senators.

    remember, obama campaigned against the universal health care scheme proposed by clinton. Obama only wanted to ensure those under 18 had access to health care.

  34. @Jim Rose

    did any of his key legislation make any significant concessions to the republicans.

    Yes … health legislation significantly narrowed, climate change legislation dropped … existing military programs continued or expanded, no investigation into Bush era programs, no revelations about goings on, no review of the 2000 or 2004 elections etc …

    did any republicans vote for any of his key legislation because of these concessions?

    Some support on health — Olympia Snowe for example …

    Obama wimped out … he could have gone hard from the get go — indeed, from September 15 2008 ….

  35. Whilst i ‘hear your words’ Fran (dang that’s patronising 🙂 )

    Do you think Obama/anyone would get there if they didn’t lack “either the the ticker or the nous”?

    My view is – at this time – the system is unable to support someone who has the ‘ticker and nous’.

  36. “The mass media have encouraged this (the race to the bottom)”

    Last night I watched the ABC program, The Gruen Transfer. Rightly or wrongly, I gained the impression that the PR machine of politicians or political parties consist of the same people who analyse ‘the campaign’. It is as if the politicians were merely the medium for these people to test their theories and to compete with each other in campaign strategies. (Much much much much worse than economics, in my possibly not so humble opinion).

  37. @gregh
    I will be assistaing the greens even more so since the media has drawn the “religion” card out and slammed it on the table against labor. I will not be choosing my economic policies on the basis of a belief in god and frankly I dont care if they believe in the sun god Ra. This is a low ball the media is playing now – as if the low balls the major parties are playing on their own isnt bad enough.

    It truly is a race to the bottom now. The media is entirely at fault. First she isnt married and second she doesnt beleive in god. Neither am and I and neither do I but I did beleive in the mining tax.

  38. @Michael of Summer Hill

    Labor mainly have themselves to blame. I’ve seen enough of the lazy style of TV journalism, and especially the nasty biased invective that emanates from Murdoch Media, the print media in Australia being a classic example. There is sometimes a fine line between posing a question and setting an agenda in motion; MM has crossed that Rubicon by a country mile. [Apologies for mixing metaphors…my mismangle.] I believe that the media played a significant role in destabilising PM Kevin Rudd by picking off the backbenchers, one by one, and asking them questions of the sort that would make them quite naturally worried about Labor’s ability to win the election. A good example of that fine line in play.

  39. Pr Q said:

    The only serious hope for progress on policy is the Greens but they remain marginalised. I’ll try to offer some discussion of the Greens policies on various issues but at this point, I think, there is little reason to follow the main campaign.

    The GREENs certainly have better economic and ecologic policies than both the major parties. But their civic policies are a recipe for disaster – they promise a return to the bad-old days of festering remote indigenous communities, foundering people-smuggling boats and fracturing of cultural communities. And they are Luddites to boot. Not what I would call “serious hope for progress”.

    The collapse of the post-modern liberal program in the wake of 911 and the GFC has left an ideological vacum at the centre of the polity. Main-stream ideologies are treading-water or back-sliding, inadequate to navigate the minefield of post-modernism.

    Both traditional liberal nationalism and managerial social-democracy have lost the capacity to mobilise the populus. One can see this process in the EU where both Christian Democrat and Social Democrat parties are looking fairly sclerotic.

    Likewise the major party Great Convergence is unlikely to end, unless there is some fundamental change in social structure or human nature(s). The major parties will continue choose the path least resistance between populist public opinion in politics and elitist private interests in policy. They rely on spin to make up the difference between style and substance.

    No major alternative ideological paradigm has stepped up to the plate vacated by post-modern liberalism. None of the parties, whether major or minor, have confronted the ideological problems thrown up by the conjunction of our evolutionary biology and revolutionary technology.

    Our old biology puts a limit on liberalism which we have now more or less come up four-square against. But our new technology gives an opportunity for political parties willing to deal with the shock of the new. The example of the post-Mao PRC run by a rolling committee of ruthless nerds, as always, instructive.

  40. @Donald Oats
    Don – Im so over it – “nasty biased invective that emanates from Murdoch Media, the print media in Australia being a classic example.”
    I despair for the intelligence and the good economic policies prevailing in this country when there is no respect for politicians, no dignity, no fair evaluation and no objective unbiased media – when its all about smear campaigns (one side or the other) and when policies are in fact being dictated by media polls.

    Its truly pathetic. Its a real turn off. Its enough to make you vote anyone but…mostly Id like to vote Murdoch into his grave and all his henchmen with him. He rules the roost in this country and most people have lost their minds to the media bombardment.

    I see no hope.

  41. @Alice
    Tim Fischer and Billy mcmahon married quickly and had kids just before or just after becoming their party’s leader.

    there is nothing new in voters wanting leaders who share the same struggles as them.

    it is a short-hand way of making sure that political leaders see the world through your eyes and share your hopes and fears.

    for example, Word war 1 and World War 2 politicians were expected to see their sons serve in the military like anyone other family so that they shared the all-consuming fears of every mother and father.

    Thatcher was criticed during the falklands warfor being too quick of the mark by some male Tory leaders of World War 2 and Korean war vintage because they, but not she, had seen first hand the absolute horror of battle.

  42. Frank Barlow @ #34 said:

    Pretty much what we have here. Both parties agree on most things and the bunfights are about cultural identity.

    Wrong on both counts.

    In the US, the DEMs and the REPs are vehemently opposed to each other across the range of domestic policy planks: health care, financial regulation and climate control.

    They do have “bunfights about cultural identity” but these are based on anthropological realities, not just psephological stratagems. The parties are in constant damage control mode to prevent the Culture War from spinning out of control under the influence of their nuttier wings.

    Whilst in AUS, both parties are now in consensus on both economic, civic and strategic policies. There is virtually no daylight between the two parties on these matters and the “Class War”, “Culture War” and “War on Terror” have mostly subsided or have lapsed into uneasy truce.

    Since Abbott hastily ditched Work Choices, the only big differences between the AUS major parties are in ecologic policy. The “Climate War” will end in conditional surrender when Abbott gets roundly beaten on 21 AUG 10.

  43. @Fran Barlow
    all those backdowns you listed were because of of those bills and other actions were rather unpopular with the public which will return the house to the republicans in 2010 as punishment either in toto or in a defacto coalition with blue-dog democrats.

    there are 24 democrat and 12 republican senators up for reelection in 2012, so the democracts will lose control by then.

    what do you mean by “no review of the 2000 or 2004 elections”?

  44. Jack Strocchi, under normal circumstances this election was in the bag for Labor but now I am inclined to think that some Labor stategist cannot see beyond their noses that the Australian public want a carbon price put in place today and not tomorrow.

  45. @Fran Barlow

    Gore tried to steal the 2000 election through ballot box stuffing.

    there is not difference between adding illegal votes and the selective adding of legal votes.

    Gore asked for a recount only in four heavily democratic counties, not in all of Florida.

    I am sure that you would have no objection to howard asking for a recount in bennelong in 2007 in only the the four strongest liberal polling booths?

    Gore believed that every vote counts as long as it counted for him.

    No subsequent recount by newspapers using Florida FOI laws to access that ballot papers changed the fact the Bush won more votes in Florida.

  46. @Jim Rose

    As this thread is not about voting fraud by the Repugs in 2000 and 2004, I am not going to do an extended response here. It is clear though that if the elections had been run professionally in Florida, 2000, Gore would have won comfortably, and for all we know, the first decade of the new millennium would not have been quite the disaster that it has been.

  47. @Fran Barlow
    At 30#, you champion sortition – the drawing candidates by lot i.e. a lottocracy – and the deliberative selection of candidates and direct democracy for macro questions.

    If you are losing in a representative democracy where vote trading allows minorities such as the greens to trade bloc support with others to protect and advance their interests, you will be always on the outer in a direct democracy where there no vote trading.

    Special purpose parties are formed all over the world to represent ethnic and other minorities and separatist minded regions to advance their agenda through vote trading. Examples are the NZ Maori party and Scottish, Welsh and Quebec nationalists. Do minorities get a better shot in a direct democracy where demagogues like Hanson can rule the roost?

    The deliberative selection of candidates – similar to the voir dire selection of American juries from a jury pool – is the elitist and profoundly reactionary horror that is deliberative democracy, which:
    • Demands a high level of sophisticated and disinterested discourse by citizens; and
    • Implies a much higher level of political knowledge in the electorate than is likely to be feasible in the foreseeable future.
    Spare time is precious. The working class is far too tired after work and too busy raising their families to go to meeting after meeting to listen to middle-class windbags weigh up the candidates chosen by lot.

    Will women who are mothers be able to participate and deliberate just as much as men? Gender analysis! Where is your gender analysis of your formative ideas of a lottocracy and voir dire selection?

    Is there evidence of more deliberation leading to better public policy outcomes or to reductions in social conflict? The major effect of deliberation appears to be to make group members more extreme than they were when they started to talk.

    Requiring deliberation may increase conflicts by bringing them more into the open and harm the interests of the politically weak who are less able than others to participate in deliberation.

    On sortition, who would ever have heard of Bob Brown in a lottocracy? The public must trust the standard bearers of change – their trust worthiness is slowly verified in other fields of battle and there is then a clamor for those who have proved themselves good and true to put their names forward for public office.

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