Monday, June 13, 2005

Everyday democracy

I have written a number of times in this blog about the problems in modern democracy. In that sense it was refreshing to finally find the time to read through Tom Bentley´s Demos-essay on everyday democracy. The director of Demos is making a case for putting more effort into development of democratic structures.

Although Bentley does not give a full formula for a new paradigm (apart from suggestions like giving parents the right to vote with the votes of their children until the children reach voting age), his main argument is convincing. He says that we need a system where the link between responsibility and power is stronger and more visible than now. He uses examples like what does it mean to buy a plastic bag or how citizens could have more power in planning the local budget.

After the referenda in France and the Netherlands EU Commissioner Margot Wallström wrote in Svenska Dagbladet that Europe needs a Plan D (democracy). She said the we need better listening and better explaining. At least how I understand Bentley´s argument is that it is not a matter of explaining or listening but empowering. But still Wallström´s idea on a round table for democracy is an excellent because it is a signal that at least some people in the Commission understand that there is need to put time, effort and money into building ownership.

No comments: