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Never Heard of It...

Why has virtually no-one heard of sortition?

Friday, November 17, 2023
2 mins

Unfathomable Mysteries of the Universe

Off-Topic Scotland

@offtopicscot

Without cheating, hand-on-heart, do you know what the word 'sortition' means?

  • No
  • 88.4%
  • Yes
  • 11.6%

199 votes·1 day left

2:17 PM · Nov 16, 2023·1,465 Views

We put that poll up yesterday. 

With 200 votes cast the % breakdown is unlikely to fluctuate by much so we wanted to draw attention to it in case any shenanigans affects the obvious truth revealed thus far i.e. most folk have never heard of sortition and don’t know what it means. 

‘So, what would be the best way of electing MPs? Obviously, people have fiddled around with types of…whether that’s first past the post or AV or PR or single transferable vote. But there is a system which guarantees a certain number of things. It guarantees, for example, that powerful interest groups can have no influence whatsoever on the outcome, unlike the current system where elections are won by people who are good at winning elections. 

It does not favour the charismatic, the rich, the well-educated or the well-connected. Votes cannot be bought. It’s impossible, in this system, to be corrupt. It’s called sortition (or Citizen’s Assembly). It’s what the Greeks used. It is, quite simply, lottery. It is the same way we choose a jury. You are told it is your duty, for a certain number of years, to be a politician. And you get paid for it.

Sortition is a genuine system that was genuinely used by the world’s first really great democracy, Greece and it seemed to work very well. They believed that the idea of a professional politician with vested interests was inimical to the idea of demo-cracy, the rule of people, ordinary people.’

(7) Stephen Fry on Citizens' Assemblies, Democracy and Sortition - YouTube

We leave it to readers to try and work out why it is that 90% of us have never heard the word, don’t know what it means, and have no recollection of it ever arising in political discourse, either in print or broadcast media, at any point in living memory.

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