A UK CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION:
WHAT LESSONS CAN WE LEARN FROM IRELAND?
Alan Renwick, University of Reading
[email protected]
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UKCC: WHERE ARE WE NOW?
• all UK-wide parties except the Conservatives have said they want a
citizen-led constitutional convention
• the Conservatives have indicated willingness to consider the idea in
certain circumstances
• initial ideas were often rather vague:
• Labour: the process “will bring together MPs and councillors with
ordinary citizens and civil society”
• Lib Dems: CC “should have a Citizen’s Jury at its heart, representing
every corner of the UK”
• it’s not clear how far thinking has progressed since then
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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ICC
• practicalities of the support team:
• what are the functions of the Chair and what sort of person is needed
to fulfil these?
• what skills do facilitators need and where should they come from?
• what sorts of academic support are required?
• practicalities of CC management:
• what kind of venue is optimal?
• what forms of practical support do members find most helpful?
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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ICC
• did mixing politicians and ordinary citizens work?
• how did they media react and how were they managed?
• how should deliberation be structured?
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MIXING POLITICIANS AND CITIZENS
• did politicians engage effectively?
• did they regularly turn up?
• did they deliberate rather than pontificate?
• did they engage with each other and with citizen members?
• have they subsequently helped ensure the ICC’s recommendations get a
fair hearing?
• to what extent have they served as ambassadors for the ICC?
• to what extent have they successfully swayed others?
• have they shifted expectations as to how the ICC is treated?
• what is their role in the referendum debate?
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MIXING POLITICIANS AND CITIZENS
• how did the presence of politicians affect citizen members?
• did they engage with the politicians?
• did they still feel fully part of the ICC?
• what has their role been since the ICC ended its work?
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MEDIA RELATIONS
• how did the media report the ICC’s work?
• how positive or negative were media portrayals?
• how did these change over time?
• did the media report on individual members?
• how did the ICC manage its media relations?
• what degree of attention was given to this issue?
• were there attempts to reach understandings with the media as to
what would be appropriate or inappropriate?
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STRUCTURING DELIBERATION
• to what extent could the deliberative model be followed within the
constraints of the ICC’s timetable?
• does the ICC experience show the limits of what a citizens’ assembly can
be expected to do?
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What Lessons Can we Learn from Ireland