Talking migration, foreigners, racism

I’m a migrant. I left my native Scotland at 18 and haven’t lived there since. Having moved between a few different countries for study and work I now live in rural southwest France. I’ve been here for 12 years and counting. The experiences of all that moving has both exposed me to many foreigners and […]

Working for Way Deeper Democracy

I am excited about a nascent democracy innovation project – called Way Deeper Democracy – for which I am seeking partners, supporters, funders and everyday political visionaries. I imagine partners coming maybe from among media organisations, academic researchers, grassroots democracy activists, progressive foundations and, maybe, even existing politicians or political organisations. That could mean you.

Deeper democracy down under

Government of the people, by the people, for the people – seems like a good basic principle for “democracy”. Yet many groups of citizens, in different representative democracies around the world, don’t seem too happy with their current versions of “kratos” in the hands of the “demos“. Be they UK “Brexit” or Remain supporters, or […]

Some other democracies are possible

Smith’s book – Democratic Innovations – does an excellent job in helping move debate about the poor state of our representative democracies from the abstract to the practical and real.

His approach is to focus on which of a series of democratic innovations, present or recently past, could best take us towards more democratic modes of government. He takes a refreshingly pragmatic approach, pointing towards how democracy could occur with barely an elected politician in sight, if at all.

Transforming talk of politics

The last few months – be it via the UK’s Brexit vote, in US presidential campaigning or the Hungarian government’s demonising of refugees – have all made clear how badly our societies communicate their politics. We don’t hear, let alone understand what other people are trying to say and they, in turn, are deaf to us […]

Democracy talk – Episode 3: Brexit

Yoram Gat and Patrick Chalmers chew over the UK’s Brexit vote – the June 23 decision by a majority of British voters to leave the European Union. Patrick argues that the referendum campaign, the vote itself and its messy aftermath show the many layers of Britain’s dysfunctional political system, made clearer than ever. The case […]

Media failures on climate change

George Monbiot doesn’t always get things right – I disagreed with his arguments urging Britons to vote “no” in the Brexit referendum, for instance. Yet he hits the proverbial bullseye more often than most commentators. This recent column on media failures to communicate climate change is a belter, the most relevant paragraphs being the last […]

Flatpack Democracy’s DIY independence

Frome ex-mayor Peter Macfadyen (not the current mayor, as incorrectly stated in the interview) talks in this audio interview of how a group of ordinary people in southwest England took control of their local government by standing as non-party, independent candidates. His story involves a group of local residents – meeting in a pub, of […]

Democracy Talk – media fraudcasts

A second video episode of Democracy Talk to add to the audio series hosted here – this one featuring Yoram Gat as the questioner and me, Patrick Chalmers, as the interview subject. In this episode Patrick Chalmers and Yoram Gat talk about Patrick’s inside view of establishment journalism. Patrick presents his analysis of the roots […]