The Rational Parliament is a unique and experimental debating society open to all.
Each sitting of the parliament features a debate on a single topic (here are some examples). Anyone who attends a sitting is a Member of the Rational Parliament and enjoys equal standing with every other member. Debates open with at least two researchers who have published scientific findings on the chosen topic. The bulk of the sitting is then dedicated to debate between members (including researchers, campaigners, policy specialists and interested individuals). Only the speaker of the house, who curates the debate, sits separately from everyone else.
In line with our house rules, members can question the research evidence and each other, proposing their own ideas on how to use or disregard the research. Anyone can propose a motion or question other members. Members claiming evidence may be requested by others to present this evidence to the house after an internet search. Ballots are called and votes cast. After each sitting the house produces a brief document that summarises the debate and draws parallels or divergence from related debates in Westminster.
The bedrock for the Rational Parliament is free and open deliberation. Members are willing to weigh evidence and values alongside each other, as we do in our normal lives every day. Members listen to the views of others and strive to understand their reasoning.
The Rational Parliament, then, is the space where people can form and revise their views in deliberation with others. This parliament’s rationalism is not ‘evidence as opposed to values’. It is ‘free-thinking as opposed to not-thinking’. This is our rational, sensible and realistic approach to politics and it makes the Rational Parliament unique.
Your ideas on our format and topics are excellent, so please contact us with them.