Shortly after his anointment as Labour leader and Prime Minister, Gordon Brown published the Governance of Britain Green Paper which set out how his Government would ‘forge a new relationship between government and citizen’.
In a flash of publicity Gordon Brown announced the introduction of Citizens’ Juries heralding a “new kind of politics.” So enamoured was the PM with citizens’ juries, that the document promised that the Ministers would consider placing on Ministers a ‘duty to consult on major decisions through mechanisms such as citizens’ juries’.
In a September 2007 speech Brown said: “Citizens juries will help government shape the policies in ways that the people for whom they are created want. So this is a new kind of politics. It is not an easy politics. It is not about gimmicks. It is about doing things the hard way - to find real solutions to the challenges we face.”
Unfortunately it appears that Citizens’ Juries were exactly that – a gimmick. Recent replies to Parliamentary Questions put down by Shadow Housing Minister, Grant Shapps MP reveal that not one Citizens’ Jury has taken place since October 2008 by any government department.
Grant Shapps said: “Another Gordon gimmick has been exposed – Citizens’ Juries were nothing more than a desperate attempt to grab the headlines and make out like the Prime Minister was actually listening to the public."
Surely not. Actually, I am glad Citizens' Juries aren't being held anymore. They were hugely expensive, they did not involve ordinary members of the public and the audiences were handpicked. It seemed to me that they were not genuine exercises in consultation but instead they became vehicles for government PR.
Anyone who thought this was other than PR puffery needs to be certified.
Ye Gods, NuLab have stage-managed every day of their government, right from the moment of B-liar's triumphal entry to Downing Street. ""cheered"" by a ""spontaneous crowd of well wishers"".
Clearly the party has taken to heart the propaganda messages from Pyongyang and reviewd the historical perspectives from Moscow, Peking, Havana and Berlin.
You cannot seriously believe anything, that come's out of the mouths of the party members, it's all lies, half lies, deception, misdirection, spurious facts and figures, total and utter mendacity.
Gordon Brown mislead people; I am shocked.
They are not being held in case a Citizens Jury found Gordon Brown Guilty...
Your analysis is 'citizens juries' is correct Iain.
But it goes beyond that. Why the gimmick?
It was to bolster Brown in what he assumed wpuld be the run up the the election (that in the end never was).
It was all part of a careful tick box exercise to get all the necessary ducks in a row before calling the election - it was hoped no doubt to wrong foot the opposition and fool the voters.
This is Browns mentality, how he works, to shoehorn reality to suit his purpose.
Then when one or two recalcitrant ducks refused to line up, he faltered and (no pun) he himself ducked the reality facing him.
After that no need for the juries, they just got in the way of fudging rather than taking difficult decisions.
Maybe they were superceded by the Court of Public Opinion - only Harman forgot to tell Brown, or anyone for that matter...
Handpicked audiences? That surely undermines the whole exercise?
Just another broken Labour promise - about Number 2328, I guess.
Not to forget the wonderful "Big Conversations", the best of all the one Jacqui Smith was having with us all on drugs, during which Brown announced the re-classification of Cannabis.
New Labour are utterly inimical to democracy.
I was going to try for a contrived connection to citizen juries, but life is just too short.
So this is apropos of nothing in particular, but the NHS Blog Doctor has retired. This tedious offering - the serial whingeings of overpaid GPs - is now thankfully defunct.
Time to take down the link from your pages, methinks
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