Why allow representatives to serve only one office term?
For most politicians, politics is their livelihood, it should therefore not be a surprise that politicians in general will compromise and profile themselves in view of the best chance for re-election. Whether on the perceived right or left, politicians will always have in mind the expectations of their audience. Hence the audience defines the final policy directions. But we know from popular debates that you can not expect the general public to be fully informed on many of todays complex policy issues. Political debates often become polarised, simplified, emotional to theatrical and far away from well reasoned and fact based argumentation. So how to avoid all this? By providing representatives full independence and a limited term of office only, policy decisions become decoupled from personal political career prospects. The representatives are well aware and accept to fully devote themselves for the entire office term only and out of duty of care to society.
For most policy areas, the underlying facts are known and held by knowledgeable people on all continents. Whether it is on socio-economic matters, migration, biodiversity or climate change there is a wealth of research and data . While some of this information is used during policy drafting, at the time of policy decisions the debate reverts back to emotionally charged arguments which are easiest to sell, however often far away from the facts. This hampers societal progress as policies are delayed and often remain inadequate and compromised.
Many politicians are also not equipped to deal with these complex issues. Most politicians have a law or political science degree and are born orators. Very few politicians however have learned the tools to understand the pitfalls of data analysis and few politicians have experience and understand the scientific method, selection bias….. Arguably would you not expect the policy maker, who has the power to define society, to be equipped to understand the facts and data that should define policies?
Why scientists or academically trained representatives?
Science is neutral. Science is transnational. Science is the glue between people of different cultures. Science drives societal growth. However, scientific developments also require specific governance that is particularly relevant in the fields of biology (scientific biology, crispr, gene driving etc..), computer science (neural networks, …) which are areas that are changing our society dramatically with many opportunities but also new existential questions. Policy making in these areas requires the latest scientific input and in depth understanding. We need a critical number of policy makers that are equipped for these challenges. At present there are far too few scientists or academically trained people taking policy decisions. Similarly for one of the main challenges of our society; climate change, while many scientists are tireless working to convince policy makers, very few scientists have a final policy decision role. With impartial scientists in key decision positions, society will be able to make much swifter policy changes.
But how to ensure that this person is competent and trust wordy?
A call of interest in national papers and social media should invite candidatures of people with scientific background, who are willing and out of duty of care to serve society for one legislature period of policy making. Citizens who are willing to take part and help shaping society at the highest level. These potential candidates will first be thoroughly vetted by the support organisation on criteria of verifiable track record, independence and integrity. The best candidates will be offered to stand at the upcoming election. So what type of person might be ready and would be suitable? This may be a University professor in sociology who would be allowed an extended sabbatical or a scientific employee from the R&D department in a pharmaceutical company. Essentially highly skilled professionals in which the general public can put its faith for honest and fair representation.
The objective is competent representation and not representatives as a mirror of society.
In particular universities can become central in delivering competent representatives that are allowed to take “time-off” for policy making. Universities are the powerhouses of our society, let them also deliver decision makers.
How to select the candidates?
The current group of people in political power are lacking expertise and understanding of data analysis and fact finding. Almost all policy areas, whether on social or economic matters or more scientific issues have a wealth of research and data available. Fact finding and interpretation requires specific knowledge and experience. In addition many of the new and global policy fields, e.g. climate change, synthetic biology, data sciences (e.g. neural network based technologies or distributed ledgers) require a wide understanding of science. In general, a good understanding of statistics and probability theory, (selection and, population bias, randomness, law of large numbers, regression to the mean, confounding, independence of observations, decision theory… ) are necessary to allow reaching sound policy decisions. People with a scientific background are more likely to have such a skill set and experience.
Secondly the process for selection must ensure integrity checking of potential candidates. Direct interviews can give an idea about a persons skills set and intentions and a thorough selection process shall take place. However, interview based selection is notoriously unreliable. Therefore an important element for the selection shall include reference checking of people indicated by the candidates themselves as well as checking directly with researched colleagues in the candidates work environment and field of expertise.
Importantly, candidates shall have no political affiliation. Their participation and motivation shall be to serve Europe out of duty of care and for a single governing period only hereby recognising the importance of limiting the term of office in the interest of Europe. Being selected as a DOC P candidate shall be thorough and perceived as an honour!
Will DOC P candidates be perceived on the left or right of the political spectrum?
The main elements in the decision process on policy matters will be fact finding and options and evidence testing, in mind general societal progress. DOC P candidates will be deciding fully independently and their decisions will be perceived in the centre, left or right of the political spectrum. The selection of the DOC P candidates shall not try to identify their potential political orientation however through reference checking any risk for extremist world views shall be uncovered and such candidates shall be excluded. The stratification of the political spectrum is in any case arbitrary and an unfortunate inheritance that only serves traditional political parties and is a hindrance to progress. A DOC P representative is not bound by any party views, he/she operates fully independently.
What is the political manifesto/ political program of DOC P?
A DOC P representative is not bound by a political manifesto. However the DOC P is expected to drive the political agenda away from any people centred politics and help focusing and identifying policy matters of urgency as well as providing input on long term policies. His/her input will be instrumental to progress and develop balanced, realistic but at the same time ambitious policies. Policies that allow Europe and make Europe as an example towards an open but law based society respecting the basic human rights principles (UN) and providing opportunities for personal development for all EU citizens. Making Europe able to absorb and benefit from continuous change and at the same time creating stable conditions of a law based society that allows all people to prosper and live life the fullest!