inc Explanatory Note 6

(6) Settled Residency The criteria for entitlement to voting in general elections and referendums  –  minimum age, minimum length of residence and so forth  –   need to be, and normally are, constitutionally established.  However, the transition from elective to participative representative democracy that Constitutionalists are advocating raises a series of rather different and in many respects new challenges and questions:

  • the achievement of local devolved self-governance in our globalised, increasingly nonlocal world, where a principle of freedom of movement reigns supreme  
  • the necessary incorporation into our current exclusively elective leader-based democratic mindset (whereby we elect at distant intervals others to “do” politics for us) of new participative tools and practices  – open and fair deliberation where reason-giving and genuine communication (discovering why others hold the opinions they do hold) give rise over time to consensus-building and compromise, in other words, a new democratic norm to replace the tired winner-loser adversarial negotiating and trade-offs from fixed positions to which we have become accustomed 
  • voting as a last resort rather than the acme and be-all of democratic achievement 
  • the widespread use of properly trained facilitators to mediate deliberation
  • recourse to strictly advisory expertise whenever necessary
  • constitutionally entrenched protection of these democratic practices and of the institutions and facilities that sustain them at all levels.

The list of such participative tools and practices is long and examples of their successful use in Commons Communities and Citizens Assemblies the world over are there for the taking.  See in this connection Flatpack Democracy’s Ways of Working and IC-UK’s Guidelines for Collaboration.