Something is unraveling before our eyes. From bankers to media-barons, private interests have bankrupted and corrupted the public realm. Power, for so long hidden in the pockets of a cosy elite, has been exposed. Those who wield it have been found wanting – in scruples, in morals and in decency.

The current press and political scandal is not an isolated event. It’s the third crisis in quick succession. First, the bankers and their bonuses, then some politicians and their expenses and now there is the press, profiting from peoples’ pain, grief and private lives.

If public organisations and citizens are vigilant, that elite won’t be able to get away with it again. With the right checks and balances we can put the public interest back into the heart of the system.

To work out how to do it we call for a new Public Jury for the British public interest to propose reforms of banking, politics, media and the police. The Jury would be made up of 1,000 citizens drawn as a random sample of the electorate.

The Jury will be funded out of the public purse, with a paid secretariat with the resources to commission research and call witnesses. It will have the power to require attendance where persons will be asked by the public to explain themselves. Reporting within a year of its launch the convention will study and report on:

  • Media ownership and the public interest
  • The role of the financial sector in the crash
  • MP selections and accountability
  • Policing and public interest
  • How to apply a ‘public interest first’ test more generally to British political and corporate life

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