Millions of people are now angry about the outcome of the referendum – and a change to more positive attitudes and prospects can be achieved by applying a new form of democracy called Live Forum TV.
The Live Forum TV (LFTV) process, developed by the Live Forum Foundation in Geneva, is designed to involve the public in reaching a consensus on issues of national and international importance. The TV format, based on 35 years of work on international disputes and conflicts, is illustrated in a video at LiveForumTV.com. It can be used to involve the public in a constructive and practical review of what is wanted and what is possible.
The first step will be an LFTV event involving people who voted to leave the EU and others who voted to remain. It will consider possible changes to Britain’s relationship with the EU and measure public opinion on specific options.
The event will start with three technical/legal experts presenting different views of what is possible, based on professional knowledge of the structure of the EU. There will be no input from campaigners who dominated the referendum. The format then invites people in the LFTV studio, with no political attachments, to comment on the options. The studio audience and people watching on TV can vote by telephone to support ideas, speakers and practical options. This process helps the public to identify and support realistic options.
The design of the process requires a complete change from behaviours and arguments used in the referendum.
This can be followed by debates in other EU countries, to provide the leaders of all Member States with public reactions to changes proposed in the UK.
The process is designed to replace years of uncertainty with an early consensus on realistic objectives.
The results will be presented directly to political leaders in the UK and the EU. It will then take time for politicians and officials to work out how the desired steps might be implemented – but meanwhile the new understanding of public opinion and the desired direction of change will start to restore confidence and stability.
Some elements that are causing deep concern throughout Europe may be resolved quickly, for example with a confirmation that few people want or expect EU citizens to be repatriated. There may also be a majority acceptance that the present scale of migration is causing unprecedented pressures, so that States may need some measure of migration management. This has been strongly opposed by many EU leaders but it may be regarded by a majority of the public across all of Europe as necessary in present circumstances to hold the EU together.
Might there be surprises in the LFTV debates? Yes, and with organisers who are skilled and experienced in managing human relations, they will add to the vibrancy and appeal to viewers.