In 2011 Britain’s second nationwide referendum. This was on the issue of whether to replace the First Past the Post voting system with the Alternative Vote system for General Elections. Many people have questioned the effectiveness of this referendum and whether it turned out to be a good democratic exercise.
The term democracy comes from the Greek demokratia, literally meaning “rule by people”. The origins of democracy can be traced back to Ancient Athens. Athenian Democracy was direct in its nature. It had two key features that defined its fundamental operation:
Officials were randomly selected from among the citizens.
In September 2007 Gordon Brown announced that his New Labour Government would undertake a number of ‘citizens juries’ on key social issues such as crime and punishment and the future of the NHS. He said that this was party of a process of “reaching out, of doing the business of government differently”. However, despite this pledge, the concept of Citizens Juries in the UK has never really taken hold as a conventional political practice. So, what is a Citizens Jury and why have they never had a significant impact on the UK political process?