"Government by the people and for the people" proclaimed Abraham Lincoln. A maxim that has become one of the foundational principles of Western liberal democracy.  But many claim this principle is under threat.  In Britain, 94% of voters believe their views are not the main influences behind eventual decisions. Donors, corporations, the media, and lobbyists are all seen to have a great deal more influence.   Similar results are found from surveys in other Western democracies.  

Is it time to recognise that democracy is no longer by, or for, the people and act to change this state of affairs?   Do we need to outlaw donations and lobbyists, curtail the influence of corporations and the media?  Should we democratise the civil service and adopt citizen assemblies which are already widely used in the Netherlands?   Or is direct government by the people not only impossible to implement but dangerous requiring complex decisions from an electorate that has little expertise? 

Conservative Party politician Nadhim Zahawi, journalist and speechwriter Philip Collins and moral philosopher and author, Susan Neiman, engage in a pivotal discussion on democracy's future. Mary Ann Sieghart hosts.

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