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Independent Learning Assignment Law & Politics Social Sciences

Pot-Luck Politicians, A Parliamentary Chamber from Sortition

This essay was written by upper-sixth former Tom Welsh, and a finalist for the 2020 Independent Learning Assignment. The following provides a short abstract to the full essay.

Estimated read time of abstract: 2 minutes

Estimated read time of essay: 1 hour

This essay was written by upper-sixth former Tom Welsh, and a finalist for the 2020 Independent Learning Assignment. The following provides a short abstract to the full essay, which can be found at the bottom.

Estimated read time of abstract: 2 minutes
Estimated read time of essay: 1 hour

Sortition is the random selection of individuals, and in this paper I sought to understand its political application in legislatures before providing a potential application in the United Kingdom via a third House of Parliament. The motive being sortition’s inherent equality and true representativeness. 

In order to do so, an investigation of sortition’s use in history was made, before its role in political theory was considered. I then briefly looked at its current application in both juries and citizens’ assemblies, before considering sortition’s hypothetical applications and existing use outside of the United Kingdom. 

Once the theory was covered, I then took to explaining the functioning of the existing UK government before looking at current UK political participation in both formal methods (elections and referenda) and informal (social movements and pressure groups). 

Having discussing the underlying theory, and the use-case it was being applied to, a substantial portion of my paper attempted to outline a comprehensive description of why I believe sortition’s best application would be as an addition to the existing Parliament given the important role that both the existing Houses of Parliament play. That is not to say that I felt the chamber from sortition would have a small role to play – far from it. 

I then ended the paper with an overview of some of the potential issues that such an implementation might entail, with an attempt also being made to explain how they might be dealt with and why if they cannot, on balance, that is of little concern in any case given the many positives associated with sortition. Furthermore, if you have an interest in either Plato or Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the absolute ending of the paper comes in the form of a synthesis of both, achievable, in my opinion, through sortition. 

If I gone some way to perhaps intriguing you about my, perhaps controversial, proposition then do consider giving my ILA a read. In fact, even if I haven’t – undoubtedly it is not easy in a short abstract to fully convey the true nature of a piece of work – maybe consider giving it a read in any case. A word of warning though, perhaps read the paper one chapter at a time, as I apologise it is not exactly short. Nonetheless, if you do choose to read the full work, thank you. Yet more importantly, I hope I cause you, even if you disagree with my conclusions, to reconsider your own political views – indeed if you don’t already have any, that is fine too! 

To view Tom’s full article, follow this link below.

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