On the heels of a succession of scandals involving UK bankers, media-barons and politicians, a broad-based coalition is calling for a citizen-jury to study how to put ‘public interest first’ into British political and corporate life.
“Left to their own devices, politicians, bankers and media moguls could not regulate themselves,” states the letter signed by more than 50 individuals representing labour, media, academia and other groups.
Published in the UK Guardian, the letter pulls few punches: “They share a common culture in which greed is good, everyone takes their turn at the trough, and private interest takes precedence over the public good. They have protected each other and left the British people with a financial and political crisis.”
The group believes that with the right checks and balances, the feral elite can be tamed and public interest can be put back into the heart of the system.
They are calling on a 1,000-member citizen jury instead of a public inquiry – “we do not need another inquiry in which one elite asks another elite to tell them what cannot be done.”
Reporting within a year, they ask that the citizen jury 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.