Citizens’ Assembly idea stands on own merit

One proposal to break the deadlock with the devolved institutions emerging primarily from the Green Party was the notion of a “Citizens’ Assembly”, an idea long supported on these pages given it has clearly worked for Ireland.

It is worth emphasising that a “Citizens’ Assembly” (I prefer to the term “Convention” in the case of Northern Ireland to avoid confusion) would not solve the problem, which is that we lack an Executive (i.e. Ministers).

Nevertheless, such a “Convention” has merit anyway. This is because elected politicians, understandably, are often unwilling to take risks for change for fear of falling foul of their own electorate – voters will always be more vocal about what they are losing than what they stand to gain, particularly if a specifically local issue is involved. A “Citizen’s Convention” would in fact give them a better idea of what people think and how far they are prepared to go for change.

It is certainly worth exploring regardless of what happens over the next few days and months – but it does not solve the actual problem directly before us.

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