Some years ago, I had the unsettling experience of listening to a radical Scottish academic outline his thesis on democracy. Selection by lot rather than democratic election was the way forward. Elections, explained the good professor, always favoured the better situated, the most articulate and of course the most wealthy. I didn't take a position either way at the time, but there was no doubt that his subversive thesis had lodged itself somewhere in my muddled consciousness. the more I thought about it the more it rang true. Even my own experience seemed to bear out its validity. Whenever there were trade union elections I always won the day, not because my ideas were necessarily superior to my opponents, but rather that I was a little more articulate in expressing my ideas. I could play the crowd in a way that my worthy opponents could not. And in the bigger world of global politics it transpires that every US President that has ever been elected had a bigger war chest than his opponent. Money talks, it seems, every damned time. Armed with this indisputable evidence, it seems that elections, just like the good professor has argued, were not nearly as democratic as the establishment would have us believe.

 

And that brings us to FIFA . We have just learnt that FIFA has suspended the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup while they sort out the mess of the previous bidding circuses. But even with a revamped executive and a revamped transparent voting process, aren't we doomed to reproduce all of the old muck and dirt of previous decades? Isn't it the voting process itself, complete with all the behind the scenes lobbying and secret money transfers, that is really the problem? Just like the US Presidential elections, money will ultimately decide the contest. So the most obvious reform that needs to be announced is to jettison the voting process altogether. It's time to get really democratic and introduce selection by lot.

How would this work in practise? Let's take the British House of Lords for starters. A hideously undemocratic , self-serving body of opportunists if ever there was one. Now imagine if this same institution was selected by lot. Put every man, woman and over sixteen youth into the hat and draw out five hundred names at random. Don't exclude anyone. Drug addicts, prostitutes, time serving criminals and all the down and outs that capitalist society inevitably produces. Who better to review the laws of the land than those at the sharp end? Who better to offer amendments to our existing body of law than the victims of that law? Who better to cut through centuries of class based establishment than five hundred citizens chosen at random. What could be more democratic .Of course, the corporates would still try to buy these citizens through lobbying and bribery, but the playing field would suddenly look a lot more even.

 

Now let's apply the same process to the World Cup and all the other global sporting events. Firstly, we would need a transparent rotation of geographical venues. Each continent would have its turn. Then, any city/country that wished to be considered would be put into the hat and the winner would be selected by lot. No lobbying, no bribery, no allegations of corruption real or imagined. The job of FIFA would then be to support financially and logistically the selected nation.

How far could we take this principle of selection by lot into the real political and financial worlds? Certainly the governing boards of public companies could adopt this principle with the potential candidates coming from employees and the local community. Renationalised railways and utilities could easily recruit 51% of its board members by this process of selection. Schools, hospitals and local boroughs could select their governing bodies by this democratic method. Even national governments might select at least a proportion of its representatives via this method.

Given the conniving nature of we humans, nothing will totally eradicate the influence of money and power but selection by lot seems a radical step forward specifically for FIFA and for society generally. Vested interests will hate it.

End JPK Copyright, 14/5/15

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Last Updated ( Monday, 21 May 2018 06:23 )