Governance and political processes has been much discussed lately, no less with Russell Brand and his need to sell his book. Marking the Parliament Week, this is a perfect show to engage with the political process, a chance for the participants to decide what form of government they would like, how the decisions are made and engage in passionate discussion on these subjects. The show is structured around the fictional failed state Dacia and the first decision to make is whether to invite the World Organisation, a form of United Nation, and their troops to regain order in the country. Then the decision progressed to the type of government, anything from a communal, cooperative type set-up to an authoritarian rule. Everyone is able to vote on these issues and progress onto the next phase having to be contend with the decisions we make as a group.
At least that’s the idea of the show. In reality, it is more chaotic. Once the mistrust of the information we were given set in, an anarchist group was formed, outing the “media” which is simply a theatrical device to convey the outcome of our votes and instructions. The debate was certainly passionate, akin to an episode of Question Time. But if one is not a fan of this type of discussion, it is truly torturous to sit through all the pseudo clever snipes and those unable to make their point in two concise sentences. These negatives aside, it gives a good sense of the difficulty involved in the group decision making process, taking into account self interests, private agendas and the prevalence of far fetched and unfounded conspiracy theories. It is sad to admit that the whole show mirrors the real world politics and democratic processes rather well. A lot of credit has to be given to Coney in the design of the format which has the extremely difficult task in providing enough information for the decisions to be made but not so much as to dictate the direction the group should take. The looseness allow it to develop into something unforeseen, much like in the real world. But ultimately, if one has low tolerance of other people’s opinion, this is very much to be avoided.