All opinions are equal, but some are more equal than others
Sharon O'Dea

Nice piece.

My view is that different policy questions require different approaches. Those approaches might vary from direct democracy (e.g. an vote only open to members on the leader), through deliberative (e.g. debate open to anyone on the defence policy) and on to representative (e.g. responding to a minister in the house). All three approaches, and others, are used in current policy development by Labour. Online/digital can improve them (make them more efficient, faster, and with input from more people whether inside or outside the membership) but all of these approaches are still valid.

Labour needs to articulate and transparently publish these different approaches and some general principles for when each will be used. That shouldn’t be difficult to do. Other parties could do the same, I’d expect different parties to have different engagement principles. They come from different political places. Then when each policy is up for review those principles can be checked and an appropriate process can be quickly designed and acted on. The design can cater for/understand the bias.

Unfortunately the current approach from Labour appears to be one of using the tool that will get “the wanted answer”. It’s just another form of centralised control. It won’t necessarily create any greater engagement or better answers.