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Model Citizens’ Assembly on TPNW

Sunday 10th January 2021 – “Should the UK Join the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)?”

  1. Registration process for the event?  Excellent = 21;  Good = 18;  Difficult = 1;
  2. Background information prior to the event?   About Right = 25;  Excellent = 11; Too much information = 2; To little information = 2; 
  1. Use of Zoom Webinar Platform?    Excellent = 20;  Good = 19;  Difficult = 1;
  1. How did you find Dr Rebecca Johnson’s Statement?    Good – informative = 25; Excellent – compelling = 7;    Poor – Not compelling = 4;  Prefer not to say= 4;
  1. How did you find James McCormick’s Statement?    Good – informative = 18; Excellent – compelling = 15;    Poor – Not compelling = 4;  Prefer not to say= 3;
  1. What were your impressions of the Q&A section?    Satisfactory = 18; Balanced and Interesting = 18;   Confusing = 4;  Prefer not to say= 3;
  1. Were you satisfied with the Deliberation section?    Satisfactory = 17; Balanced and Interesting = 17;   Confusing = 5;  Biased = 1;
  1. Were you satisfied with the Polling process?  Yes = 35;  No = 5;
  2. Were you satisfied with the Next Steps section? Satisfactory = 22; Balanced and Interesting = 12;   Confusing = 4;  Biased = 3;
  3. Timing [The whole Assembly]  About right = 24;  Too long = 12;  Needed more time = 3;
  4. Timing [Witness Statements]  About right = 28;  Too long = 6;  Needed more time = 4;
  5. Timing [Q&A] About right = 27;  Needed more time = 6;  Too long = 1; 
  6. Timing [Deliberation by jury]   About right = 31;  Too long = 5;  Needed more time = 1; 
  7. Timing [Next Steps]  About right = 31; Too long = 5;   Needed more time = 1; 

15.  Were you satisfied with the question chosen?         YES  –  36;   NO  –  4

16.  If “No” please suggest an alternative question?
·   It’s a leading question! Better to have a neutral question
·   The discussion focused on security and deterrence instead of humanitarian consequences of n.w. so the jury didn’t know why the TPNW came about.
·   There was no early explanation of what the initials stand for
·   Not in the light of how it was subsequently handled. Should have been a “middle” position. You ended up with an audience massively opposed to the jury conclusion. You then adopted the Jury conclusion. As the UN is seeking to consult the “grass roots” this looked like a rejection of the “popular” vote in favour of the jury vote – hardly a good start. [Neither the UN, nor the organisers “adopted” any conclusions. We simply pointed out the results of the poll which revealed the following:
JuryPoll Vote                 5 (33%) YES – the UK should join the TPNW;            10 (76%) NO – the UK should NOT join the TPNW;
JuryApplication              9 Don’t Know;                                       3 x No;             3 x Yes;

Audience:  Poll Vote       72% YES – the UK should join the TPNW;                        29%  NO – the UK should NOT join the TPNW;
Audience:  Application    35 = 18% x Don’t Know;                      15 = 7% x No;       154 = 79% x Yes;
Given that the audience NO vote rose from 7% before the event to 29% after the result, like this survey, suggests that a clear majority found the NO argument more compelling than the YES argument. As was stated several times, PCI has no position on the issue.]

17.  Would you have liked to have a break / Interval?        NO  –  25;   YES  –  15;

18.  Any additional Comments?
·   This was a first trial of a process and I congratulate you for doing it. A lot of thought went into the planning. In retrospect, I’m not very keen on the jury/audience division because it feels artificial. It might be helpful to have a panel to fill in the gaps in what is presented. I wonder about having a “white board” summary of points made by each speaker to allow a bit more thought by the audience.  I think the question of what did you find strong or weak about each speaker polarizes around personalities and doesn’t advance the understanding of the issue. I suggest the speakers be advised that their microphones will turn off at the end of their time so that the moderator is not put in that uncomfortable position of interrupting a speaker. It is uncomfortable for the audience to wonder if the moderator is in charge.
·   Thank you for an excellent event. It was informative and interesting; I learnt a great deal from this experience and will certainly be joining all future events!
·   Were other groups–UNA— CND–Pax Christi—MAW etc etc involved? [Not in the organization of the event. Their members were invited as were many other groups.]
·   Rebecca found it difficult to keep to time. The Jury deliberation was not very smooth. The graphs were great, please can they be left on screen for longer to allow time to digest. Thank you.
·   Several political contexts of HMG’s position and policy were not approached
·   The event itself was an interesting introduction to Citizen’s Assemblies. Two points though:
1)   excessive emails and reminders;
2)   perhaps 2 witnesses a side.
This depended on 2 witnesses; message reliant on a single person for each side. Too much riding on one delivery. Even if a bit longer, I think it would be worth it.
·   Overall, I think this was a brilliant event and a good way to gauge the opinions of people on the TPNW. Although, I was surprised by the outcome it goes to show the amount of work that needs to be done for a mutual understanding on how to eradicate nuclear weapons. Thank you.