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The climate emergency needs political action – not citizens’ assemblies

1 19 0
21.06.2019

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard,” said the American journalist HL Mencken, who died 60 years before the EU referendum but nonetheless seems to have known how things might play out.

The British people have spoken and said … what, exactly? Last week’s BritainThinks survey of today’s attitudes found rampant pessimism, anxiety and gloom. “I cannot recall a time when the national mood was more despairing,” said the research firm’s boss Deborah Mattinson. Now we learn that the government is going to give this participatory democracy idea another go, launching a citizens’ assembly on the climate emergency later in the year.

The catch is that, while a group of informed and motivated people will meet several times this autumn, its recommendations will be merely advisory and not binding. A spokeswoman for Greenpeace worried that the assembly might simply be a “glorified public consultation”.

We have lived through a succession of outsourcing scandals and disasters in recent times. Carillion, Interserve, G4S, Capita, Kier Group and Serco have all made headlines for the wrong reasons. But what we are experiencing today may the biggest scandal of the lot – the outsourcing........

© The Guardian