UK Leadership Contest: Open Letter to the Members of the Conservative Party

Dear Members of the Conservative Party,

The fate of the nation now again is in your hands.

Britain is at a crossroads, between a direly needed turn towards a rational politics serving the nation and its citizens or towards ever more irrationality, government blunders, and scandals harming and weakening the nation further.

People want a politics of integrity they can trust. People will trust in a politics of transparent and convincing rationality. Continuing a politics of irrationality will not only continue to harm the nation. It will undermine trust in both, politics and the Conservative Party.

The Conservative Party wants to win elections. Initiating a sound politics of rationality in which people can trust will win elections for the Conservative Party, not the cheap and populist look to what people might think and feel about personalities.

What can and should the members of the Conservative Party do to ensure the direly needed turn to rationality in British politics?

Two steps appear necessary:

  1. Implement in as much as possible at this stage a rational method for electing the new Prime Minister

A nation which wants a qualified leader must necessarily start with choosing a rational method to selecting its leader. Otherwise, the selection process may lead to results which ultimately nobody wants and which harms the nation. The  approach implemented by the 1922 Committee, however, is highly unprofessional and ineffective. It points to huge deficits in the know-how of systemic and rational methods of problem solving and decision making in the political system which urgently need to be corrected. Already the near to four-year paralysis of the political system through the Brexit decision making process highlighted these shortcomings, independently of the result of the decision.

The professional method of choice for deciding between various options for action is the “Analytic Hierarchy Process”. In selecting the candidate for a job, it relies on a logically necessary sequence of steps, starting with identifying the precise demands of the tasks and the qualification criteria to be applied. In a second step it weighs the decision criteria against each other and determines the most important ones. As a final step it selects the candidate who best fits the overall set of qualification criteria required.

The current selection process appears so superficial and chaotic (and does not help you in making your decision), because it does not take these rationally necessary steps, it neither identifies the qualities and qualifications required from a future Prime Minister precisely, nor does it determine the most important ones, nor does it take suitable steps to measure in how fare each candidate fulfils these criteria. It embarks instead on an endless discussion of individual policy proposals which due to the complexity of each issue and our own inability to judge what is right and wrong on such complex issues is largely unsuited to identifying the relevant qualities of the candidates.

To mend those fundamental deficits in the application process, the Conservative Party at this point basically has two options: To stop the botched selection process completely and start all over in a properly structured way, or to incorporate as many elements as possible of the rational decision-making process in the remaining phases of the selection process under way.  Given that the nation needs a functioning government I suggest turning to the second alternative.  

Ultimately the complete list of criteria to be applied in selecting the leader of a nation must be discussed and created in a thorough consultation process. Some of the main criteria appear to be:

This third qualification criterion is necessary because in our complex world no person is smart enough to determine effective policies on their own. In a world facing huge challenges, any head of government must lean on the government system for their policy making and, therefore, must ensure it operates optimally.

An abbreviated application of the Analytic Hierarchy Process would probably suggest that “intelligence” and “integrity” are the decisive criteria.

Rishi Sunak clearly seems to beat Liz Truss on the criterion of intelligence (his appearance and way of talking, his credentials, his training at Stanford University etc.)

In assessing candidates, debates can be misleading. One must rely to some degree on references.

What do people who know her, say about Liz Truss?

These quotes from the Guardian appear to be largely reliable and indicative:

“Her critics (state) – She fails to display intellectual gravitas, they say, relying instead upon cheap slogans, and struggles to make convincing speeches, another facet of her character that could be quickly exposed under the intense scrutiny of Downing Street.

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser, told the online magazine UnHerd in May that Truss was “as close to properly crackers as anybody I have met in parliament” and would be an “even worse” prime minister than Johnson.”

Even if one were to harvest reservations against Dominic Cummings, the statement appears independent and worth consideration. More important even appear these observations:

“Others doubt if Truss really believes anything she says, and relies upon a gut instinct to fulfil her own ambitions. Anna Soubry, the former MP who served as a minister alongside Truss, said many had questioned whether she had the skills necessary to lead the UK.

“She was the most ambitious person many people had encountered. I honestly believe she was given jobs – ministerial promotions – just to shut her up. Her ambition is, undoubtedly, considerably greater than her ability,” said Soubry.” (‘Ambition greater than ability’: Liz Truss’s rise from teen Lib Dem to would-be PM | Liz Truss | The Guardian)

In summary:

  • She fails to display intellectual gravitas (i.e. intellectual ability) and relies on cheap slogans
  • Her ambition is undoubtedly greater than her ability
  • She would be an even worse Prime Minister than Boris Johnson

These three statements from people who know her have enough substance to exclude any applicant as a candidate for the office of Prime Minister and as the leader of a nation in the first round of a properly implemented selection process. Not only the degree of her intelligence is questioned in these observations. Also the integrity of a person who relies on “cheap slogans”, a statement affirmed by the debates, must be in doubt.

For the sake of rationality and trust in politics, for the sake of the nation and given the state of the current selection process as it is, it appears that the members of the Conservative Party must choose the most intelligent and capable among the remaining candidates, they must choose Rishi Sunak as the Prime Minister. Nothing stops the party from using the two years to the next election to review the selection process for their leader.

2. Ensuring a fundamental turn to rational politics in the UK

Both candidates do not fulfil the third crucial criterion, necessary for the well-being of the nation: The competency and willingness to ensure the highest effectiveness and efficiency of the government system. (We do not hear them say that this is what they will do as the first step in office and they probably do not have the competencies for it.)

Ultimately ensuring this criterion for the choice of the Prime Minister requires that we, society and everyone in politics, rethink our approach to politics. We must ensure that the entire political system uses professional and rational methods in the way it operates. Our entire world, our societies and our governments are “systems of systems”. The fundamental approach to government it appears must be interconnected thinking, “Systems Thinking”. To ensure rationality and trust of the people in politics the political system must, furthermore, apply rational problem-solving and decision-making methods.

Such an approach to politics informs us that in order to ensure rationality in politics a new Prime Minister must start his or her work with a fundamental inquiry into what rational government means at all. He or she must also investigate in a public consultation process how to optimise government policy making and verify the above suggestions on the foundations for effective government. Otherwise, a Prime Minister cannot govern effectively.

Systems Thinking tells us that everything in our world is interdependent. In government this insight reveals the logic that there cannot be effective government without an effective Government Performance Management System and that there cannot be an effective Government Performance Management System without incorporating all know-how available in society and the world on the matter in a constant and open consultation process.

In the Conservative Party there is some discontent about the ousting of Boris Johnson. What these considerations tells us, however, is that Boris Johnson, even if he is in many ways an extraordinary and highly admirable personality, unfortunately one might say, was not suited as a Prime Minister and that he probably should not be in politics at all, but perhaps in entertainment (unless he completely changes his approach to politics). He is a person to whom, as already his headmaster stated, “rules do not apply”, he appears to consider government a sport, rather than a task which requires a thorough, analytical approach, his government, as a consequence, was a government of chaos not rationality. The infinite series of scandals during his government, furthermore, put his integrity in question and harm the trust of the people in the political system. The UK needs a more rational approach to policy making. Rishi Sunak did the right thing in helping to end Johnson’s time in power and should be supported not criticised for it. 


The British people want and urgently need a government they can trust in.

To ensure rationality and the trust of the people in politics the Conservative Party must select the clearly most intelligent and most capable candidate, a person of integrity as the Prime Minister.

As regards the qualities of the candidates the fact that someone happens to be rich should not

rule him or her out as a candidate, if he or she otherwise happens to be the most suited candidate for the position as PM.

But one core requirement related to integrity is the commitment of the PM to serving society as a whole. The fact that together with his wife he owns more than three quarters of a billion pounds might actually put Rishi Sunak in a conflict of interest with his duty to serve the nation.

In 2016, the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, a man of the highest degree of intelligence, suggested in simple and powerful words that for rescuing our nations and the planet “with resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present.” In practical terms this suggestion might necessitate to tax the rich in our nations and the world to a higher degree. Many people in the world, even rich ones themselves, advocate this thinking. If we want to protect our world and societies, we will have to examine our approach to this issue.

In this context it seems important to consider society an organism in which every part is responsible for the health and resilience of the organism. If we manage to make society healthy and resilient, it has the greatest chance to overcome the challenges, we are facing, to attract investment, and to generate adequate well-being for everyone. A rational government must initiate a debate on the suggestion by Hawking. But this is only one aspect of relevance for an effective government. Given the state of the application process we are in, I suggest giving Sunak a chance at least until the next election and to see how he handles this matter and policy making in general. Ultimately, whoever is in office, it is also the effectiveness of political control which decides over the quality of policy making, not the person alone.

Finally, also the skin colour of the applicant appears to, in fact, play an unstated role in the decision-making process. It should not have any relevance.

If we want our societies to flourish, we all must embrace reality, ideally as quickly as possible. Not embracing reality harms and weakens our nations. The reality of our world is that the composition of the population of nations has always changed in the course of history and that today also western nations have become multiracial. We should appreciate the richness this racial diversity brings to our nations. For the sake of our societies, we should choose the most able person to lead our governments.

Next to selecting the most suitable candidate for the job as PM the Conservatives must start now a fundamental rethinking in politics on how to establish rationality and trust in government. Concretely they must ensure that the new Prime Minister takes the steps required to ensure the highest effectiveness and efficiency in government.

After years of blunders and scandals in government, the UK now needs a government of rationality. The Conservatives have the choice to initiate this change. Not doing so might for years to come set the UK on course of further ineffective governments. It would seriously compromise the ability of the nation to cope with the severe challenges it is facing and harm and weaken the nation further.


July 2022: How does Britain now get a proper government?

Are we now getting more of the same? Do we really think that Britain will now get a proper government with another Conservative Party beauty pageant, just like the one it conducted in 2019?

British politics has been a chaotic disaster at least for six years now. The convoluted four-year Brexit decision making process was a political nightmare paralysing government and exhausting the nation. It was caused by faulty policy making conducted by David Cameron, a Prime Minister known for his blunder proneness, and through a referendum process which left many crucial questions unanswered.  “Omnishambles”, a term describing his leadership, was dubbed the word of the year by Oxford University Press in 2012[1].

After him came Theresa May, a lady of integrity one tends to believe, who got between the millstones of the intractable Brexit process. Then the Conservative Party members, about 150,000 citizens at an average age of between 65 and 75 years at the time[2], with a curious horse-race-style selection process, eliminated one after another out of a gathering of ten candidates to select their new party leader and the new Prime Minister. Despite the well-known deficits of Boris Johnson in terms of his integrity, they chose him. The aim to keep the party in power appeared to trump what was good for the country. As a result, the selection process haunted the country for nearly three years now. As a crucial part of the picture in the December 2019 parliamentary snap election 43.6% of the voters (less than half) confirmed Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister, falling for his chutzpa and charisma, and through the election system gave him 56.2 % of the seats, a huge majority in parliament.

The decisive question posing itself for the nation now is: How will Britain finally get a Prime Minister of integrity and capability after the botched leadership of Cameron and the incessant daily government soap opera conducted under Boris Johnson? How is the selection process for the head of government to continue? Instead of just going ahead with the same old procedures, it appears useful to look into the pre-conditions for a successful selection process.

Only a sound decision-making process generates a sound government  

As regards the selection process for the new Prime Minister one first insight appears crucial: Only a  sound selection process will ensure that Britain gets a sound government.

To generate the government, we require, it needs to include two steps: First, we need to define clearly and transparently which personal and professional qualities we precisely expect from a candidate and second, we need to ensure he or she actually possesses these qualifications. Without effective processes dealing with these two objectives, defining which qualities and qualifications the leader of our governments needs and without an effective process ensuring that he or she actually has the qualities required, we will not get the government of the quality the nation needs.

The problem with the beauty pageant style selection process which the Conservative Party is about to arrange for the second time in three years is that it clearly fails on these two counts, it neither defines the required capacities clearly and transparently, nor does it ensure that candidates have these qualifications. It leaves the selection of the new leader of the nation up to a untransparent mix of personal assessments, preferences, sympathies, antipathies, and expected benefits for the party.

As regards the specific qualifications we must be looking for in the leader of a nation, integrity and capability indeed appear the two top requirements. In the 18th century Thomas Jefferson and James Hamilton already agreed on this point when they discussed which kind of leaders the newly founded United States needed. But what do we mean exactly with these two terms?

In the end we need to discuss these questions and come to a joint result. One key requirement concerning integrity, however, evidently means that the new leader takes his or her job seriously and serves the country and all citizens equally whatever their station in life. Ultimately, selecting a leader of integrity appears to be  a matter of honesty towards the nation, of commitment to find the best leader for the sake of the country and not the party, of proper checks on the candidate, and transparency. What indications are there that a candidate puts indeed the country, and not himself nor the party first? As one sometimes hears, the best solution supposedly may even be to select a person which does not really vie for the  job.

Regarding the second criterion, the capability of a leader, we also must realise that we will not get a leader of the quality we require, if we do not put an effective process in place to define which qualifications he or she exactly needs and if we do not ensure that the candidate actually possesses these qualifications. Which abilities does a head of government require exactly?

Know-how in Government Performance Management crucial

In aiming to answer this question, we will of course be looking for some standard requirements such as intelligence, analytical capability, leadership, the ability to get things done. I personally would add training in problem solving methodologies as an indispensable criterion.

One recognition, however, appears crucial in answering the question what the requirement of “capability” entails: It is the fact that a person can by no means run a nation by him- or herself, but that they need a highly effective government machinery, or as a more technical term, “government system”, to do the job. Unwittingly, when he says, that no person is remotely irreplaceable Boris Johnson is correct. One fundamental problem in selecting a head of government is that we pin far too much hope on the leader him- or herself and neglect the key role of an effective government system in the task of running a nation.  

In the end, we cannot use another Prime Minister who thinks the fate of the nation depends on him or her alone. What we rather need is a leader who acknowledges the importance of a government system of the highest degree of effectiveness and efficiency, we need a leader who knows how to build such a system and understands how to operate it.

Concretely, a Prime Minister who wants to run an effective government must know how to build an  effective Government Performance Management System as a tool to form an effective government system. What we must realise is that there cannot be an effective government system without effective Government Performance Management, just as we cannot have an effective power plant without an effective steering system. An effective Government Performance Management System is  a causal precondition to effective government. If we want a government which is less blunder prone, and effective, we need to select a leader who understands the role of effective an Government Performance Management System and knows how to implement it.  

In the present line up there  may indeed be a couple of suitable candidates for the role of Prime Minister. But selecting one of them will not make a decisive difference. To ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the new British government an effective Government Performance System is essential.

Open consultation process with society

But what are the preconditions for effective Government Performance Management itself? As a general rule, a Prime Minister will only then be able to establish an effective Government Performance Management System, if he or she incorporates all know-how in society and the world on the matter and installs a completely open consultation process to identify this know-how. One of the consistent problems which makes our governments so blunder prone is that they operate as closed shops, a small club of buddies determining what they consider good policy making. The  precondition for a successful government is open consultation with society, especially on the fundamentals of how to organise a successful government.

In this context it is of the utmost relevance that already in 2012 a parliamentary inquiry concluded that government strategy making was, I paraphrase, completely unprofessional and would possibly cause serious harm to the nation. This happened now ten years ago. Yet, despite such a grave warning this fundamental problem at the heart of government has not been fixed so far, an incomprehensible oversight by the political system. The fate of the nation depends on a proper Government Performance Management System, ensuring among other things that the central strategy making system in government is effective.

The next steps: Parliament and House of Lords must get involved

The observations seem to be correct: Without  proper processes for ensuring the politicians have the qualifications required for their tasks we will not get effective and efficient governments. Without an effective Government Performance Management System and a government operating on the basis of the principles developed by it there will not be an effective government either.

If we want to ensure that Britain gets governments of the quality the nation requires, then we need to create a process which incorporates these insights in the selection process for future Prime Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries.

For now, the nation seems stuck with the Conservative Party selecting another leader. How can we make sure their selection process contains the necessary steps to ensure Britain gets a capable government at least for the next two years until the next election? Obviously, the traditional selection processes are not working. They are not producing leadership of the quality the nation requires. We, therefore, need some fresh and out of the box approaches to solve the conundrum.

Since the fate of the nation is at stake, it appears that the representatives of the people both in Parliament and in the House of  Lords should get involved in making sure the selection process for the new government fulfils the requirements of the nation. As a concrete step I suggest the formation of a cross-party working group of the elders in both chambers who set up a committee which draws up a list of the core criteria a candidate needs to fulfil. The working group then engages with the Conservative Party and ensures that their selection process is transparent, employs these criteria, and makes sure the candidate selected as the new Prime Minister possesses these qualifications.

It can be expected that the selection process then generates a new Prime Minister with a decent set of qualities to lead the nation. To ensure that future policy making is less erratic, more structured, and more effective than what we have seen in the past, it is crucial, however, that the Cross-Party Working Group charges the new Prime Minister with instantly setting up a proper Government Performance Management System and makes sure that he or she governs on the basis of the principles designed by the system.

For those used to the standards and practices of British policy making these proposals might sound unusual. Yet, the suggested procedure is not so extraordinary as it may appear.

Ultimately it is the task of Parliament and the House of Lords to ensure that government performs optimally and at the highest degree of effectiveness and efficiency conceivable. One problem of our political system is that both control chambers operate on the basis of standard procedures without ever investigating systematically, how they can fulfil this task effectively. Endeavours for a wholesale review of the British Constitution have been ongoing for a number of years with the overall aim to make the British policy making system work better. So far, they have not produced any results. Such a process might, however, well be necessary.

For the sake of the wellbeing of the nation, the focus of our efforts must be on making the British government as effective and efficient as possible. The two measures discussed here, ensuring that the leader of the nation just as the politicians working with him or her have the personal qualities and professional qualifications required for the task and making sure the Prime Minister governs with an effective Government Performance Management System, are key preconditions in achieving this aim. The citizens will certainly welcome any measure contributing to ensuring that their government performs  as effectively as conceivable.


[2] Bow Group, Statement on average age and analysis of Conservative Party Membership (2019),

Breaking the deadlock in our fight against the Climate Crisis

The film “Don’t Look Up” (USA 2021), just as already the movie ”The Age of Stupid” (Britain 2009) and the global protests against the Climate Crisis are desperate calls to action to protect our world.

The critical questions are: What action exactly is required and by whom?

Summary of Proposals: The Climate Crisis appears the most complex and gigantic problem humanity has ever faced, a problem of the greatest urgency and, as it appears, of existential relevance for humanity. Presently our endeavours to stop the Climate Crisis appear not sufficient to protect our world, our nations and civilisation. As the global climate protests show they are in a deadlock.

The most basic step forward in moving our effort forward appears to be the organisation of a global conference by global civil society organisations on the very question of how to break the deadlock in our fight against the Climate Crisis.

More concretely, in the light of the enormous complexity and urgency of the problem, if we, humanity want to stand a chance to stop the Climate Crisis at all, we require governments, and more generally,  problem-solving mechanisms in our societies of the greatest capacity and performance. As we experience regularly, presently we do not have them. Our governments fail in many respects. We must investigate how to optimise the capacity and performance of our government and, more generally, how to establish effective problem-solving systems in society.

The instant responsibility in this respect falls to our politicians in charge. As the world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking states, “ the world’s leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many”. Our politicians in charge must now without delay set up commissions to look into ways and means on how to make climate policies effective and how to generally optimise the capacity and performance of the strategy and policy making systems in their governments. Parliamentarians in their control function over government are responsible for ensuring that governments take the necessary measures for optimising their capacity and performance.

But ultimately, democracy is government by the people. It is our own, personal responsibility to ensure the effectiveness of the systems and processes with which we govern our societies and tackle public problems. It is us who must make sure that the problem-solving processes in our societies and our governments operate optimally. As a concrete measure to shore up comprehensive support across the world for the fight against the Climate Crisis the international climate organisations should set up an effective system informing global society concisely about the Climate Crisis and the measures necessary for stopping it.

Is humanity too stupid to save itself? This is what the film “Don’t look up” (USA 2021) seems to suggest.

In the movie a comet is racing towards the world and for all kinds of reasons society and its government fail to take the necessary measures to stop it hitting earth and extinguishing all existence. Humanity – as an entity, an organism – simply does not seem smart enough to avert the catastrophe. The movie comes along as a high-class satire, studded with film stars and brilliant acting, as it appears to me, yet it addresses a real concern of existential relevance to humanity. Director Adam McKay made the movie as a metaphor for our desperately futile handling of the Climate Crisis. During the time of its production the COVID pandemic arose, and the movie suddenly alludes to the general patterns with which our society handles crises.

Reviews in the international press scold the movie for ridiculing the inaction and inability of society. Yet, such critique misunderstands its purpose. Ultimately the film, like already the 2009 movie “The Age of Stupid” by Franny Armstrong and the ongoing protests by Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion, is a desperate call for action to stop the destruction of the planet, as we know it, through the Climate Crisis. It is a call to prevent the collapse of our nations and of civilisation which, as we are increasingly warned by experts, is likely to result, if we let global warming advance significantly.

Those who see “Don’t Look Up” will wonder in how far the full-scale destruction of the planet shown in the movie is a realistic projection as concerns the Climate Crisis. To mention a few key data on our present situation: After decades of research and negotiation the international community of nations now widely agrees that 1.5° Celsius above preindustrial times is the maximum temperature increase humanity should allow, due to the devastating impacts of even higher levels.[1] Presently (by the beginning of 2022) the increase is already 1.2° C. An assessment of the latest commitments of nations around the world and their policies after the 2021 Glasgow Climate Conference concluded, however, that current commitments of reduction in CO2 emissions up to 2030 will probably generate an increase to 2.4° C by the end of the century, nearly one degree higher than the 1.5°C Limit considered just acceptable. Current policies in place, however, will even generate an increase by 2.7°C. Further commitments beyond 2030 will possibly reduce this value to 2.1°C by the year 2100, still more than the limit of 1.5°C. [2] Modelling global climate developments is extremely difficult though, the predictions are highly insecure, values can end up higher than predicted, some carry a fifty-fifty percent chance of realisation only, the ongoing rise in global temperature might also surpass trigger points beyond which further increases spiral into a self-propelling heating process. Temperature increases will make parts of the world inhabitable, large areas of the earth will become arid, food production in these areas will become impossible, other urban areas will be flooded due to rising sea levels. These developments will lead to huge migration streams, to conflicts, and to the predictions of the destruction of civilisation we are hearing. Ultimately, it seems, we, humanity, are gambling with the future of our world and ignoring the existential risks and the harm we are causing. The safe thing for humanity to do would be to stop emitting CO2 now. Yet, as Climate Policy Analysts write: ”Even with all new Glasgow pledges for 2030, we will emit roughly twice as much in 2030 as required for 1.5°”, and: “No single country that we analyse has sufficient short-term policies in place to put itself on track to its net zero target.”[3]

But while in the light of such threatening developments movies like “Don’t Look Up”, “The Age of Stupid”, as well as the international climate protests call us to action, they confront us with two decisive questions: What exactly is required and who must act?

The unprecedented dimensions and complexity of the problem

To answer these questions, we need to take a closer look at our problem situation. Why are our endeavours for stopping global warming clearly insufficient? Why are they stuck?

One reason appears to be the unprecedented nature of the problem we are dealing with.

Climate Change appears to be a problem of such gigantic dimensions, complexity, and urgency as humanity has never experienced it before. Already in 2016, the late, world-famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, by many considered the second most intelligent person in humanity after Einstein, spoke of our present situation as the “most dangerous time for the planet”, in the light of not only the Climate Crisis, but also the other grave challenges humanity is facing, from the decimation of other species to poverty and global inequality, hunger and lacking food production, overpopulation, epidemic disease and the acidification of the oceans. [4]

As regards its dimensions the Climate Crisis appears to be the first major problem of existential relevance which concerns entire humanity simultaneously. The threatening destruction of the planet “as we know it” (Al Gore) and the probably ensuing collapse of civilisation, as experts now warns us, will leave no nation unscathed. Some nations may hope they fare better than others. To which extent this is true we may need to investigate further. But generally, such thoughts  appear to be misguided. Today everything on the planet is more or less connected. If we destroy the planet as we know it and if all nations and civilisation break down, all people on earth will suffer. (The movie “Don’t look up” identifies the idea of a rich elite escaping destruction as stupid.)

While we may not have a complete picture yet about how humanity can stop the Crisis exactly, it  appears to be clear that measures with far-reaching implications will be necessary:

  1. We, i.e., the currently eight billion people on earth, must stop emitting CO2 (and maybe even clean already emitted CO2 back out of the air).
  2. To stop emitting CO2 we must change the way we produce things, from energy to steel, concrete, and any other material, to food.  We must also change the way we live, the way we build, heat, cool, and insulate our homes. We must change the way we commute and transport things in our nations and across the globe.
  3. To achieve these changes we must make huge investments in research, technology, and infrastructure to make the necessary adaptations possible.

In the eyes of observers, the Climate Crisis poses a problem of such overwhelming dimensions to global population that overcoming it requires the mobilisation of all available resources on earth. The Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration Melbourne, Australia writes in 2019: “To reduce such risks and to sustain human civilisation, it is essential to build a zeroemissions industrial system very quickly. This requires the global mobilisation of resources on an emergency basis, akin to a wartime level of response.”[5] Likewise, economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz formulates also already in 2019: “The climate crisis is our third world war…almost surely there will have to be a redeployment of resources to fight this war just as with the second world war…” [6]

Hawking emphasises the urgency of international co-operation: “Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it. To do that, we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations”. He also underlines the need for sharing and moderation: “…with resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present”, and that we had “to learn above all a measure of humility”. [7]

If all resources on the world are required for stopping the Climate Crisis, the need for sharing becomes obvious. Those who possess the necessary resources must pitch them in and pay for the necessary adjustments in order to save the planet, as we know it, and to protect civilisation. This is valid both for individual persons as well as nations. To stop the Climate Crisis especially those of us who are better off may also have to be more modest in their demands and reduce their consumption.

The major problem to be overcome probably is that those demands for sharing and modesty stand against ingrained human behaviour. On an individual level they contradict the free market-based idea that we can keep everything which we have gained for our personal benefits. As regards nations, the need for sharing stands against the natural competition between nations for resources, for economic and ensuing military and power advantages in order to protect or enhance the freedom and the well-being of their citizens. To overcome these obstacles we, humanity as a whole, need to shift the focus of our philosophies from individual and national advantages in wealth and power to considering humanity as an organism of which we are a part and which we jointly need to protect. For nations to give up economic and power advantages and share their wealth would require the creation of a new balanced global political architecture which protects the interests of nations in a more equal world.

The need for an effective system to solve the problem.  

A next perspective onto reality concerns the instruments we have for coping with a global crisis of the enormous scope and complexity of the Climate Crisis.

It appears obvious that we, the people around the world, only then can handle a problem of such dimensions and urgency effectively, if we possess national and international problem-solving systems and processes of the highest capacity and performance.  In the light of the planet and civilisation being at stake, settling for less-than-optimal problem-solving mechanisms in our nations and the world would seem utterly irresponsible.

What exactly do these problem-solving processes need to do?

Problem-solving methodologies tell us the following key steps are required in the process of solving a problem such as also the Climate Crisis. They appear imminently clear:

  1. Information and Communication: The generation of a joint understanding of the nature of the problem and the entire problem situation among the people concerned. As a first condition, people will only then be ready to agree on the necessary steps, if they have a similar understanding on what the problem at hand is. Since the Climate Crisis concerns eight billion people, we somehow need to have a system in place which makes sure that eight billion people – especially those whose behaviour has an impact on the problem, those who emit most of the CO2 – understand what the problem is.
  2. The setting of joint goals.
  3. The identification and analysis of parameters influencing the achievement of the goals and affecting the potential solution of the problem.
  4. Based on that analysis: The design of potential strategies or strategy packages to stop the problem.
  5. The implementation of the strategies.
  6. The assessment of their success and the identification of potentially necessary improvements in the strategy, taking us back in a loop to step 1.

The failing of our governments

As the protests by Friday for Future, Extinction Rebellion, and movies like “Don’t look up” or already “The Age of Stupid” by Franny Armstrong emphasise, we are so far failing in taking the necessary steps to stop the heating of the planet and to protect our planet and civilisation. Evidently, we do not have suitable systems and processes in place which are capable (or willing) to take us through the necessary steps described above and to solve the problem of the Climate Crisis.

Stephen Hawking is crystal clear about the performance of our governments so far. He suggested already in 2016 that if we want to have a chance of stopping the Climate Crisis, “ the world’s leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many.”[8] As Hawking confirms, if the Climate Crisis indeed destroys the planet as we know it and civilisation with it, then our leaders so far carry a major part of the responsibility.

Polls show that our governments are failing already in the first step required to generate the necessary action against the Climate Crisis, in creating a joint understanding of the problem situation in our societies and across the people of the world. Too many people still either do not have a clue what is going on, or they doubt that the Climate Crisis is a real threat and man-made. The quality of the information provided by our governments on the Climate Crisis clearly is insufficient and faulty. Because of these deficits a first demand of the climate organisation “Extinction Rebellion” is for governments to “tell the truth”.[9] Despite this demand, they don’t. One interesting aspect as regards the lack of information on the Climate Crisis appears to be that the majority of the people around the world has not seen the movies “The Age of Stupid” or “Don’t Look Up”, even if they illustrate the severity of our situation in an enlightening way. Clearly, we do not want to create a panic with providing information on the seriousness of the situation the world is in, but we need to enhance the readiness of everyone to take action against the Climate Crisis and to share their resources.

Governments are also not informing people on what is necessary to stop the Climate Crisis, they do not inform the people of the need to share due to the existential threats to humanity. They also fail with the perhaps greatest challenge, the implementation of an international system of burden sharing between nations together with a new system for maintaining a balance of power, peace, and stability in the world.

Our political leaders might suggest that such thoughts are unrealistic, that the problems simply are too difficult to solve and that the competition between nations for economic and power advantages presents an insurmountable obstacle to implementing a suitable system for burden sharing. They might also contend that they cannot put too high demands for sharing and restraints on consumption on their citizens, because this would endanger the stability of our nations. Any instability in nations arising over objections against burden sharing must indeed be counterproductive to the fight against the Climate Crisis itself.

All these arguments present without any doubt obstacles of the greatest difficulty which need to be overcome if we want to stop the Climate Crisis. Many people and politicians may in fact have concluded already in secret that overcoming the competition between people and nations and arriving at a suitable system for sharing and co-operation is impossible. They may have given in to the idea that the Climate Crisis leads to absolute mayhem, Armageddon, the survival of the fittest.

A consistent pattern in human history, however, is the fact that regions which used to battle for competitive advantages have later formed political unions and nations when it made sense to pool resources and power for protecting society. Now it is the Climate Crisis which calls for such a combination of resources and energy among humanity as a whole.

Shortcomings in strategy and policy making in our governments

For some people solving a task, such as moving a big rock, is impossible. Others invent a better tool, a better system, a better process to arrive at a solution, and it works. If governments suggest that the problems we are facing are to complex and that they cannot be overcome, then this may have to do with their lack of capacity and performance.

From our daily observation we know that our governments do not function as well as they ought to. They fail in many policy areas, the term of “government failure” is in frequent use. Paul C. Light analyses forty-one major government failures in the United States in the time frame from 2001 to 2014 including the handling of the Hurricane Katrina in 2004, of the financial crisis in 2008, and the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010.[10]  In a comprehensive review Anthony King and Ivor Crewe analyse the many “blunders” committed by British governments over several decades from Margaret Thatcher in the 1970s to the Blair/Brown and David Cameron governments ending in the year 2016. [11]

Such blunders do not happen by chance. A 2012 report by UK parliamentarians on the strategy making capacity in government is scathing about the underlaying, unprofessional way in which the government executes its strategy making function.

The report states: “We have little confidence that Government policies are informed by a clear, coherent strategic approach, itself informed by a coherent assessment of the public’s aspirations and their perceptions of the national interest. The Cabinet and its committees are made accountable for decisions, but there remains a critical unfulfilled role at the centre of Government in coordinating and reconciling priorities, to ensure that long-term and short-term goals are coherent across departments…” [12]

“Little confidence” in polite political parlance in truth means the greatest doubts in the systems and processes in government. A government which executes its strategy and policy making in such a dismal fashion simply cannot succeed in fighting the Climate Crisis successfully. The problem is that the parliamentary report is from 2012. By 2022, ten years later, the deficits in strategy making in government have not been fixed! Governments in other nations operate in comparable ways, they will suffer from similar performance deficits.

If we want to stand a chance to deal with such a gigantic problem as the Climate Crisis our leaders must not only “fix”, but they rather must optimise the performance of the strategy and policy making systems in government. Politicians often operate in a bubble. They are hooked in their own thinking about politics and government and do not know how to mend deficits in strategy making processes and in the policy-making capacity of government. To optimise the capacity and performance of government they must incorporate all know-how available in society on this matter. If they miss out on any relevant knowledge, they must fail. Organisations in several nations have already been suing politicians for their failure to take adequate action against the Climate Crisis.

Optimally performing strategy and policy making systems are a precondition for our ability to handle the Climate Crisis. Politicians in charge who do not optimise the performance of their policy making systems are guilty if the consequences of the Climate Crisis destroy our planet, as we know it, and civilisation.

The failure of governments to preserve peace

One specific failure by governments around the world which impedes the fight against the Climate Crisis and which we should mention is their failure to preserve peace. Governments all over the world threaten other nations and lead wars, for all kinds of irrational and egotistical reasons. Such wars distract from the prime problem at hand for humanity, the threating destruction of the planet as we know it.

As we said above, stopping the Climate Crisis requires co-operation of exceptional quality between people and nations and the joint mobilisation of all global resources. Yet, such conflicts and wars tie down and destroy millions, if not billions of resources.

Our global leaders need to know: Who wages war instead of fostering peace and co-operation, allows the Climate Crisis to proceed and destroys humanity. We cannot afford conflicts between nations anymore, all people in the world must focus on fighting the Climate Crisis as a joint threat to humanity. Certainly, in a world threatened by the Climate Crisis, we also cannot afford people diverting millions or billions of resources through corruption.

Civil Society – Our own failures

But not only our governments fail in the fight against the Climate Crisis. We ourselves including all global organisations active in the fight against the Climate Crisis are failing so far.

The issue we, humanity around the world and especially those presently involved in the fight against the Climate Crisis, very obviously fail in, is putting a viable and effective problem-solving process in place for stopping the Climate Crisis.

We realise that the steering and government processes around the world are not working properly, and that they do not deliver the results we require, we protest against our governments and demand that they take effective action. Yet, since our governments are either not capable or not willing – or a combination of both – to conduct an effective problem-solving process for the Climate Crisis, our protests lead to nothing, they do not generate the effective problem-solving processes we require.

As we know, democratic governments do not want to lose elections. They are restrained by the limited readiness of people to carry additional financial burdens in connection with most any policy issue, including so far also the Climate Crisis. As sort of a fix, Extinction Rebellion asks for “Citizens’ Assemblies” to be called in,  conventions of perhaps one or two hundred more or less randomly selected citizens who get together over a limited period of time, to get adequate problem solutions moving[13]. Such assemblies might indeed help, anything moving a solution for the Climate Crisis forward must be considered beneficial.

Above we have described, however, the entire problem-solving process necessary for solving the Climate Crisis, from creating a joint perception on the problem, ideally around the world, to the setting of joint goals, the design and implementation of strategies and their evaluation. For each of these steps we need systems and processes of the highest degree of capacity, research systems, information and communication systems, systems for involving all citizens, strategy making systems, co-ordination and implementation systems.  Citizens Assemblies may be suitable as a part of the entire problem-solving process, they may be able to generate some basic concepts for the problem solution, they will, however, not be able to manage and co-ordinate it, they will also not have the detailed modelling and strategy making capacity at hand to design the thousands of strategic building blocks required to stop the Climate Crisis.

As the Climate Crisis touches on our entire lives, coping with it will require systems capable to co-ordinate all policy making in a nation and the world. A crucial problem is that governments may not feel bound at all by the suggestions arrived at by Citizens’ Assemblies, the measures proposed by them may not go forward.

The most fundamental problem with Citizens’ Assemblies so far appears to be that the demand for  their creation does not get enough support by the citizens and that governments refuse to call them in. To the contrary, rather than engaging and communicating with people concerned about the Climate Crisis and its probable existential consequences for humanity, even in an established democracy like the UK, the government in 2021 introduced a new “Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill” whose adoption appears to have made protests demanding effective climate policies largely impossible. In 2022 the House of Lords fortunately stopped the bill. Also in Germany a heated debate on the appropriateness and legality of disruptions to public life by climate protesters has begun. Here a government minister offered to enter into a constructive debate with the protesters on how to solve one specific problematic issue, the climate effects of food waste.[14]  If the planet as we know it is at stake, the protesters have a case. Effective communication between governments and society on how to address the issue is required.

The necessary actions

As the film “Don’t Look Up” and the ongoing protests for more effective climate policies reveal, our policies against the Climate Crisis in essence are in a dangerous deadlock. Global governments so far do not manage to put policies into place which ensure with certainty, not with some sort of questionable probability only, the preservation of the planet in a habitable state.

What is necessary to break the deadlock in our endeavours to stop the Climate Crisis?

  1. International Civil Society Organisations: A conference on “Breaking the Climate Deadlock”

As the most basic but necessary step forward in breaking the deadlock in the fight against the Climate Crisis I would suggest for the international organisations engaged in the fight against the Climate Crisis to as soon as only possible organise a joint conference on the very subject of how to break the deadlock in the fight against the Climate Crisis.  Such a conference appears indispensable as a step for identifying the way forward.

One element appears of central relevance for generating an effective way forward in such a conference, the inclusion of people familiar with problem solving methodologies. If we want to be successful in our fight against the Climate Crisis, we need to identify our goals and the crucial parameters for success clearly and make sure they are “in place”.

Our overall goal is to stop the Climate Crisis. If we think through the general parameters necessary to achieve that goal, building zero emission societies, huge investments, burden sharing, the fact that all aspects of our societies will be affected by stopping the Climate Crisis, it becomes obvious that optimising our problem-solving processes is the central precondition to achieving our goal.

  • Optimising government processes: The prime responsibility of our politicians

The urgency of the Climate Crisis does not allow for any delay in ensuring the greatest effectiveness of our problem solving and policy making systems. The first responsibility to create such high performing problem-solving systems falls on those currently in positions of power and responsibility, our politicians in government and our members of parliament. Governments must accept Hawking’s critique that they have failed and must investigate how they can fulfil their obligations towards their societies and humanity.

The politicians in charge in our governments need to see that government failures and blunders consistently harm and weaken society. When the world is at stake, we cannot afford such underperforming government systems at all and the waste of resources and opportunities ineffectiveness causes. It is the obligation of politicians in government to make their policy making systems perform optimally.

As mentioned, governments often operate in bubbles. To ensure their policy making systems work optimally, any endeavours to this respect must involve all know-how distributed in society and the world on the matter.

  • The responsibility of parliamentarians

In their control function over government much of the responsibility in making governments work at the highest degree of capacity and performance falls to the members of our parliaments.

It does not suffice for parliaments to identify deficits in government strategy making, as happened in the UK in 2012, and to note that such deficits have led to “mistakes which are becoming evident in such areas as the Strategic Defence and Security Review (carrier policy), energy (electricity generation and renewables) and climate change…”[15]

Parliamentarians must ascertain that the politicians in government take the necessary steps to ensure the optimal performance of the strategy and policy making systems and processes.

  • Our responsibility: Optimising problem-solving processes in society

In a democracy we, the people, govern. This means that the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the problem-solving processes in our societies work properly and are capable to handle the Climate Crisis falls on us, the people.

If our governments fail in the fight against the Climate Crisis this, lastly, is our own fault.

What the deadlock in the fight against the Climate Crisis highlights, is that demonstrating against governments is not enough. We must rather analyse why exactly they do not provide effective solutions for a problem especially such as the Climate Crisis and take effective action to make sure that the necessary public problem-solving processes in our societies function properly, or in the light of such an existential and urgent problem as the Climate Crisis, even optimally.

Systems Thinking tells us that every project needs a driver taking action to ensure its success. This means, that in order to ensure the optimal performance of our government systems, we, as society, need to join and form an initiative for making sure that our “normal” problem-solving system, our government, works optimally. We need, what one might call a “Citizens’ Initiative for Effective Government” or “Effective Democracy”.  

While we naturally look to our governments for identifying and coordinating the necessary measures to stop the Climate Crisis, it is necessary, however, for us to recognise that the need for “problem-solving processes” does not necessarily have to be tied down to “government processes” only. If our governments do not function effectively, we may have to examine other potential options for establishing effective democratic problem-solving processes regarding the Climate Crisis. We, the people and the organisations concerned about the Climate Crisis, may have to create processes which operate parallel to or in combination with government processes to move the necessary solutions forward.  

  • Creating the necessary global information system: A task for global civil society

As our problem-solving methodology tells us, the starting point for all action must be the creation of a joint understanding of a problem situation though effective information and consultation processes.

If our governments fail in creating a joint understanding of the problem situation regarding the Climate Crisis, then the international civil society organisations involved in the fight against the Climate Crisis can fill this gap. They can create a global information system on the Climate Crisis which enhances the understanding in the public for the threats caused by the Climate Crisis and which generates the support for necessary measures to avert its consequences.

Presently, we appear to have all kinds of websites hosted by governments, international organisations, and climate initiatives around the world with their individual approaches and individual recommendations. While we basically need all people on earth to get involved, especially those who contribute primarily to the global CO2 emissions, the present websites reach only thousands, perhaps a couple of million people. What seems to be missing is a central website and information system informing the global population about the nature, implications, and urgency of the Climate Crisis, and, moreover, about a feasible way forward for stopping the destruction of the planet as we know it through the Climate Crisis. People need to know how what they need to do in order to contribute effectively to solving the Climate Crisis.

  • The obligation of those who have the time and capacity to get involved

Finally, it needs to be highlighted that, if civilisation is at stake, generally each and every one of us needs to engage and should have a chance to do so.

Yet, many people in our world are busy with simply making a living or with making ends meet. As long as this is the case, the obligation to get involved, therefore, falls primarily on those with the necessary resources, capacity, and time available. So far, we all seem to be busy with all kinds of things of greater or lesser importance. But when the planet as we know it and civilisation is at stake, we must change our habits and, if only possible, make the necessary time available to get involved. Why not, when this is “the most dangerous time for our planet”, as Hawking puts it, take one day a week, if we can afford to, to educate ourselves about the problems we are facing and the necessary systems, processes, and parameters for solving these problems?

Do we stand a chance at all to succeed in the fight against the Climate Crisis?

The greatest problem to be overcome in the fight against the Climate Crisis may well be the competition in humanity over limited resources, in the case of the Climate Crisis the limited ability to emit CO2. It may be the competition of nations in economic, military and political power. Many people appear to already be cynical and to have given in to the idea that humanity will fail to overcome these obstacles and consider it doomed. They will suggest that human nature stands in the way of the sharing required for solving the Climate Crisis.

Yet, in the course of history people have always fought over resources and for comparative advantages in their power. Often prompted by external circumstances societies realised that co-operation was better than competition and fights, they formed states and political unions in order to join their forces and capabilities and to protect themselves.

When humanity understands that personal and national egotism in handling the Climate Crisis will lead to existential catastrophe for everyone, then nations and people will hopefully realise that co-operation and sharing is better for everyone.

Ultimately the choice seems to be co-operation or destruction. Co-operation appears the right choice. 

[1] Cf. Somini Sengupta and Jason Horowitz, G20 leaders send a symbolic message on a key climate target, New York Times, 31 October, 2021,

[2] Data from: Climate Action Tracker, Glasgow’s 2030 Credibility Gap, net zero’s lip service to climate action, Warming Projections Global Update, November 2021,

[3] Climate Tracker, November 2021

[4] Stephen Hawking This is the most dangerous time for our planet, The Guardian, 1 December 2016,

[5] David Spratt & Ian Dunlop, Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach, MAY 2019,  Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration,

[6] Joseph Stiglitz, The climate crisis is our third world war. It needs a bold response, The Guardian, 4 June 2019,

[7] Hawking, The Guardian,  2016

[8] Hawking, The Guardian, 2016

[9] Cf.

[10] Paul C. Light,  A Cascade of Failures: Why Government Fails, and How to Stop It, Brookings Institute, Centre for Effective Public Management, July 2014

[11] Anthony King and Ivor Crewe, The Blunders of Our Governments, London 2013

[12] From the Summary of: House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee, Strategic thinking in Government: without National Strategy, can viable Government strategy emerge?, Twenty Fourth Report of Session 2010–12 Volume,  House of Commons, 24 April 2012

[13] Cf.

[14] “Aufstand der letzten Generation”, Kritik an Blockaden durch Klimaaktivisten (“Upheaval of the Last Generation”, Critique of Blockages through Climate Activists, Tagesschau News, 15 February 2022,

[15] House of Commons, Public Administration Select Committee, 2012

Biden – The Savior of Democracy?

So far, half the job done.

To complete it Biden needs a highly effective Government Performance Management System without delay.

What a world of a difference in the entire conduct of the inauguration ceremony, the decent and measured speech of Biden, the thoughtful and classy poem by Amanda Gorman, and in the deep prayers spoken at the inauguration in comparison to the swampy culture of lies and indecencies of the Trump years which increasingly threatened to devour the US.  What a relief not only in Washington, but around the world. In a time when democracy globally is under extreme strain, the health of the leading democracy in the world is of crucial importance for human freedom and dignity.

Nobody except Biden could have ousted Trump, state many voices in Washington. So, must we consider Biden the savior of US and perhaps of global democracy?

One thing is undeniable: We owe the greatest admiration and respect to Joe Biden who at 78 years takes on the gigantic challenges the US and the world are presently facing.

Yet, by ousting Trump the job of saving US democracy is only half done. Biden and his excellent team face an extremely difficult mix of policy tasks from overcoming the pandemic, getting the economy back on track, creating jobs and an economically more balanced nation with equal chances for everyone and fighting racism. Furthermore, they only have around two to three years – even less, if one takes the mid-term elections in two years into account – to unify the nation and to stabilize democracy to ensure that a populist politician like Trump will not be elected again. How can Biden achieve success in handling this wide array of extremely difficult and urgent policy tasks?

Practically all democratic leaders in the world believe that running a government optimally is a matter of personal judgement, be it their own or the advisers around them. Yet, if Biden wants to succeed, it is crucial that he and his associates do not fall into this trap. Prevailing over all these challenges in the short time available is only possible with a government system of the highest degree of effectiveness and efficiency. To get it Biden needs a government performance management system which itself operates extremely effectively.

This idea is not new. Ten years ago, the Obama administration in fact already recognized the need for government performance management to make government as effective as possible. It appeared to be a frontrunner among global governments on the matter. But a quick look shows that the approach the Obama administration pursued was inadequate. A presentation from the year 2011 by Shelley H. Metzenbaum, from the Obama administration, and A. Alfred Taubman from the Brookings Institution, lists the three “key elements” of its government performance management concept:

 a) Leaders set clear, ambitious, outcome-focused goals for a limited number of priorities,

 b) Agencies measure, analyze, and communicate performance information to drive progress on their priorities,

 c) Leaders frequently review progress on their priority goals.

These key elements appear fuzzy. What is the “limited number of priorities” supposed to be and of which benefit are “frequent” reviews of progress on priority goals? The approach to performance management by the Obama government evidently misses out completely on a systemically indispensable first step for making any system effective, the need to confirm and agree on its exact goals.

As Hélène Landemore from Yale University writes in her book “Democratic Reason”, the fundamental key to optimal policy making is optimal deliberation, the inclusion of all know-how available in society and the world on a policy problem. It is also the indispensable prerequisite for ensuring effective government performance management. The fuzziness of the approach to performance management by the Obama administration shows that the first step required in creating an effective government performance system through such public consultation is the identification of a suitable methodology.

One concrete suggestion at this point will be: For Biden and his team to ensure the success of the government in unifying US society and stabilizing US democracy and in coping with all the other difficult policy issues it is facing, they must base their approach to making government work on sound systemic thinking. The methodology requires the thorough verification of the precise goals and purposes of the democratic policy making system and of each process in the system. It then entails the exact determination of each and every factor affecting the achievement of the goals identified and ensuring that these factors are in place. If the Biden government does not work diligently through these steps in making government effective, it will not operate as effectively as it must.

While the combined experience of the Biden team is a great asset, given that many of its members were in government, when the increasing discontent with the political system allowed Trump to get into office, it also entails the risk for government to continue exactly as before. “How do we do government?” “What must we improve?” In the light of what is at stake for the Biden government and the nation, a structured independent assessment of the overall quality of the policy making process which investigates these questions appears indispensable.

In the current situation it would be a dangerous mistake for the government to believe that it will achieve the critical goal of stabilizing US democracy simply by solid and effective policy making in the wide array of areas which it is facing. Given the complexity of the tasks, chances are that government success over the next two years or so will not be far-reaching enough to convince the great majority of the citizens of the merits of a decent democratic government.

Effective systemic government performance management will highlight that the goal of stabilizing US democracy rather must be treated as a distinct policy area on its own. It will emphasize that, next to aiming to deliver on the expectations of the people in such areas as jobs, healthcare, and equal rights, the Biden government must involve the people in the process of policy making so they see how it works and can trust in it. The aim of making democracy more resilient at the same time calls for the implementation of a high quality citizenship education program which conveys to the people what a functioning democracy needs to look like, what the preconditions for effective democracy are, what the personal and professional requirements concerning its leaders must be, and, finally, how the people themselves can engage with their government in a constructive fashion to ensure that their concerns are being heard and taken into account.

Biden will be able to handle the extremely difficult combination of challenges he is facing in the narrow timeframe available only with a government of the highest degree of effectiveness and efficiency conceivable. To ensure his government operates at such level of quality he must open it for new thinking on how to run government effectively. He and his team must install an effective government performance management system without delay.

Year in, year out the same political theatre

Government and parliament in the UK are not doing their duty and consistently weaken the nation. They must be overhauled without delay.

Both government and parliament in Britain are negligent in the execution of their duties towards society. As a result, they consistently weaken the nation. Government has ignored substantial calls for a fundamental overhaul of its operations for nearly a decade. And parliament in its function as control institution over government on behalf of the people fails to ensure the effectiveness of government operations.

Take a look at the following three incidents:

Already more than eight years ago by now, in 2012, at the time of the Cameron government parliament found that the strategy making process in government was, let me call it, “completely unprofessional”, and would harm the nation seriously in all kinds of policy areas including, as parliament wrote in its report, “strategic defence and security review, energy and climate change, child poverty targets and economic policy”. We can take this enumeration of examples to mean all policy making.

One has to take in practically every word of the observations by parliament to realise the severity of the warning: “We have little confidence that Government policies are informed by a clear, coherent strategic approach… there remains a critical unfulfilled role at the centre of Government in coordinating and reconciling priorities, to ensure that long-term and short-term goals are coherent across departments… Policy decisions are made for short-term reasons, little reflecting the longer-term interests of the nation.” [1] A shattering verdict on the quality of government operations and their effects on the UK.

Even if such a stark warning on substantial deficits in central policy making processes in government would have warranted an immediate major review and correction of the observed deficits, over the years nothing has happened, neither government nor parliament in its supervisory role since took the responsibility to fix the operational deficits identified at the heart of policy making. Now the Johnson government appears to function even more irrationally and erratically than the Cameron government. It, moreover, is repeatedly accused of operating in an ethically questionable way, to say the least, more sharply, in a sleazy, if not corrupt fashion.

In the year 2013, by now also already seven years ago, two UK professors, Anthony King and Ivor Crewe,  published a substantial book with the title “The Blunders of our Governments”, describing major failures by UK governments and their causes over several decades. One example is the poll tax under Margaret Thatcher.

In an article on the book with the pointed title, “Why is Britain badly governed?”, a title which in a way warrants a closer look at the operations of the British political system by itself, Igor Crewe writes in 2014: “Almost all of the blunders were gestated largely in-house, within the executive branch… Government did not engage in serious deliberation.” On the work of parliament he observes: “Parliament turned out to be an irrelevant spectator in the policy blunders we examined…On all essential points the members of the governing party in the Commons did little more than support their ministers’ legislative proposals.”

Crewe recommends as a solution “Institutional reforms should be designed to inject a larger measure of formal policy deliberation outside the executive, including pre-legislative scrutiny in Parliament and formal public consultation of organised interests and expert individuals.”

In other words, also King and Crewe in 2013 and 2014 recommended a major overhaul of processes in government, and implicitly, moreover, in parliament. Parliament, Crewe writes, was an “irrelevant spectator” in the policy blunders they examined. Guess what government and parliament did over the last seven years in terms of the requested restructuring.

Example three: Concerned about low voter turnout in recent UK elections – from a high of 83.9% in 1950 to a low of 59.4% in 2001 and around 65% in the 2010 election –  in 2014 parliament conducted an inquiry into how to improve the situation. In an evidence of exceptional frankness professors Martin J. Smith from the University of York and David Richards from Manchester University pointed out that the problem had far less to do with political apathy on the side of the voters largely assumed as a given by the authorities than with the traditional, elitist, disconnected, and unengaging style of policy making by the political system.

They suggested a fundamental approach was required to fix the problem. They wrote: “There is a need to rethink both the nature of institutions and the mechanisms of political participation,” and further, “The emphasis has to be on building structures and mechanisms capable of harnessing the energy and enterprise of the civic arena, or else the sense of drift in the public’s dislocation and alienation from traditional forms of politics will continue.”[2]

Again, an utterly sincere and urgent call for a significant overhaul of government operations was issued. Guess what happened over the last six years, since 2014. You are right, again nothing.

Interestingly, parliament in its report on voter engagement went as far as even venting the idea of a “Commission for Democracy”. If the independence of the organisation is assured, it could well provide the best way forward to ensure the highest degree of professionality and effectiveness in the political system and to ensure satisfactory involvement of the public in political processes. Yet, ever heard of the commission? Also to call on parties, as parliament did in the report, to develop plans for improved voter engagement and to suggest it was ultimately up to voters to “dictate” their preferred approach to the parties at the ballot box appears more than unrealistic, especially taking into consideration that the very problem to be addressed by the inquiry was the fact that 40% of the people did not vote. It is the government which must design effective ways and means to reach out to the people and implement them.

The failure both of government and of parliament to initiate a comprehensive review of government systems and operations on all three occasions in a timeframe of nearly a decade can only be called appalling and irresponsible. Who, in government or parliament, one wonders, does their duty to the nation?

Present government operations appear to be worse than ever before, determined by personal whims and ambitions, they involve bullying, sleaze, if not corruption (questionable consulting and purchasing contracts on health sector equipment, unlawful granting of a development permit in East London). Can Britain really afford to have governments of such quality?

In the light of the infighting and chaos we just witnessed surrounding the departure of Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings and the communications director Lee Cain, MPs are now calling for “order” in government operations. That call appears faint and fuzzy, in comparison to the rather precise demand for a fundamental overhaul of government operations issued by parliament itself already in 2012 and subsequently by others as well. What is “order” in government operations supposed to mean precisely?

What we seem to witness over the years is always the same political theatre, without any improvement in the way things work. Government conducts policy making on the hoof, according to the headlines in the newspapers, as parliament commented in 2012, without any recognisable structure, while parliament complains, without, however, ensuring any substantial and lasting improvements in the way government operates.

But then, yes, one would like to suggest, that the nation, the people, and the world finally after nearly a decade of calls for it, desperately require sincere leadership and a comprehensive systemic overhaul of government operations in Britain. At the same time, however, one wonders in how far the present government is at all interested in doing its duty and in taking the necessary steps to ensure the utmost quality of its operations. Zero chance, one might assume witnessing the erratic way in which the present government conducts its business. Does the UK, like the US, need as a first step to sound policy making a shift to a government of high integrity? Does the Johnson government fit the bill at all?

Clearly, this is the test:

If the Prime Minister truly wants to serve the nation and wants to create trust in his operations, he must now without delay install the fundamental review of government operations demanded  over and over from different angles since 2012. If he does not do it, he fails the nation and cannot be in office. To make the process effective, he must keep it absolutely open for public deliberation and include the widest scope of perspectives, as also King and Crewe demand for the process of policy making.

And evidently, if parliament as the supervisory institution over government acting on behalf of the people does not ensure that Boris Johnson now initiates this review and adopts its findings in the way he runs government, it lets down the nation and its people profoundly. It also does not do its duty.

Looking at the way government operates and the urgency of the matter, parliament as the supervisory body over government should probably take matters in its own hand. It should initiate a parliamentary inquiry on the subject of how to ensure optimal government operations and also on the question of how to optimise citizen involvement in political processes. Ultimately, as the control institution over government, parliament itself must have a well-grounded foundation on which to judge and ensure the soundness of government operations, a foundation which the inquiry will provide.  

One fundamental question which also needs to be clarified is, why, over the last decade or so, parliament failed to ensure that government conducts its business in an effective way serving the nation. One factor appears to be that parliament does not have a clear idea at all on how to control government operations effectively. It deeply engages in the debate on select individual policy issues, but neglects ascertaining the overall performance of government. A second reason for the ineffectiveness of its control over government is likely to be the lacking independence of parliament from government. With the majority of parliamentarians being in the same party as government, parliament is reluctant to fire a government which does not perform. Issues like these need to be addressed as well. Society needs an effective control organisation over government.

Presently the world is facing the most complex problems it has ever faced, even of an existential nature to humanity. In such a situation a democratic nation like the UK by any means requires a government which employs optimal systems and processes in the way it runs the nation. If the two key elements of the political system in the UK, government and parliament, do not do their duty and do not operate at the highest levels of performance conceivable, the nation is in serious trouble. Then it is time for society as the ultimate stakeholder and the highest sovereign in democracy to take action on its own, to form a suitable initiative, to overhaul the operations of its political system and to ensure its optimal performance on its own.  If parliament does not establish a “Commission for Democracy” the public itself must do it.

In any case, democracy cannot mean a free hand for an elected government to operate as it pleases. Being elected still entails the obligation towards the nation to ensure the optimal performance of government operations. Parliament as the control organisation over government must ensure that government employs optimal systems and processes in its policy making.

[1] House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee Strategic thinking in Government: without National Strategy, can viable Government strategy emerge? Twenty Fourth Report of Session 2010–12 Volume I: Report, together with formal minutes, oral and written evidence, HC 1625 Published on 24 April 2012 by authority of the House of Commons London: The Stationery Office Limited file:///D:/Documents/JOB/A%20%20%20Democracy%20Book%20%20Back%20Up%20Information/Z%20%20%20Countries/UK%20Back%20Up%20Gov%20Eff/UK%20gov%20Strategy%20Making/strategy%20making%20report%202012.pdf

[2] House of Commons, Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Voter engagement in the UK, Fourth Report of Session 2014–15 Report, together with formal minutes relating to the report, Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 10 November 2014, Published Written evidence submitted by Professor Martin J. Smith and Professor David Richards, Item 39 [1](VUK 42)

The US – Renewal of Society – Renewal of Democracy

A proposal

This morning I got a phone call from a friend in Asia: Hans Peter, there is a great need for ideas on democracy in the US. What do you do about it?

Basically, I am in the process of writing a book about democracy. But work on it is not going forward as planned. It might take months or years before the book is ready for publication.

Since the US is very evidently in dire need of a renewal of society and democracy (more so than any other western nation presently), I decide to put my suggestions forward in a short statement. The call for concrete support instead of “love” texts by a black writer addressed to his white friends in the New York Times a couple of days ago provides an additional impulse.

So here my attempt for constructive support:

  1. The US evidently with the highest degree of urgency needs a democracy which serves the well-being of all people in the US.
  2. Solving highly complex problems such as “renewing democracy” requires a suitable problem-solving methodology. I suggest “Systems Thinking” as a foundation.
  3. It tells us that no system works effectively without effective control by the stakeholder, in the case of democracy, the people.
  4. The US will not get a functioning democracy serving all people without a powerful and  effective driver, a “Society for Effective Democracy”.
  5. To make sure it serves all people, each and every person interested in renewing US society must join in and support the work of this Society.
  6. Democracy is an extremely complicated system. Renewing US democracy, therefore, requires know-how of ultimate quality. The Society must collect this know-how.
  7. On the basis of this know-how, the Society must prepare optimal concepts for the renewal of the US democracy.
  8. With the right money by donors the Society can be up and running in three months’ time.
  9. It can have first major proposals on the table a year later.
  10. It can have a more comprehensive concept for a renewal of the main pillars of US democracy on the table in three years’ time.
  11. Involving the people in such a powerful and credible drive to renew US democracy will enhance confidence in society for the future and create stability.  
  12. Voting for suited politicians is a first step. Yet, individual politicians simply cannot renew democracy and society. It takes a powerful driver.
  13. It takes a Society for Effective Democracy driven and carried jointly by all decent citizens in the US.
  14. Start now.

What is the Prime Task of a Prime Minister?

An essay competition on the subject between the candidates

The British democratic policy making system is in shambles. Britain and the Tory party specifically are looking for a leader able to sort out the mess and to get the nation back on track. As an intriguing new element in the three-year spectacle, now eight or so candidates have entered the stage and are jockeying for the top job. The show could go on for ever.

By now, however, the British public have enough of the spectacle. We need rationality to re-enter. The nation urgently needs a capable leader to clarify what happens on Brexit and to address the many other challenges the nation is facing.

To select the best candidate and to see whether the candidates understand at all what the job is about I suggest starting with an essay competition. The question to be discussed by all candidates is: What is the prime task of a Prime Minister? The candidates have half a page, at most one page to answer the question.

The plain truth is, no one can be the Prime Minister of a country, if they do not understand what the prime task of a Prime Minister is … and how to fulfil that specific task.

So the Conservative Party should really hold that essay competition. I offer to be on the panel of experts to evaluate the essays. This is no joke. A process which does not establish objectively – and transparently – whether a candidate is at all qualified for the job and who ultimately is the best candidate lets the nation down again.

Ultimately all of the UK ought to be discussing these questions: What is the prime task of a Prime Minister? And: Which qualifications does a Prime Minister actually need? If the nation does not answer these questions and does not select the best candidate accordingly, the play is set to continue.

Do I now have to glue myself to the doors of Extinction Rebellion?

I just received a mail from XR rejoicing that MPs will on Wednesday vote on the declaration of a Climate Emergency…and now another one informing me of upcoming meetings with government officials.

Hi there“, states the first mail,

This Wednesday MPs will vote on whether to declare a national climate emergency.

After months of grassroots actions across the country from school students striking to Extinction Rebellion mobilising thousands across London, politicians have now begun to react to the urgency of the climate and ecological crisis…

Again, such a vote appears to be a folly, like much of what we have seen in Brexit. On which basis are the MPs to decide?

One leading MP and former Secretary in the UK government ( I will not mention the name) confided to me in a personal conversation that he had read “a couple of books on climate change”, an that he did “not believe in it”. (It is one of the candidates who vied for the job as PM, can you believe it?). Before going into a vote on the declaration of a “Climate Emergency”, wouldn’t it make sense even for Extinction Rebellion to re-confirm what the data are and to create a “joint understanding of the problem situation” in Parliament? We cannot afford another chaotic policy making process, certainly not on an issue of existential relevance for humanity.

So here now, is my sort of protest against Extinction Rebellion, in the form of an open letter. (Unfortunately they neither reacted to my three mails sent to them nor to the two suggestions for a “constructive approach” published on this website – are they any better than the government they criticise?)


Hey guys,

The key appears to be negligence. “My generation has done terrible things”, says David Attenborough. Michael Gove now admits: “We (i.e. the government including himself in the first place) “have not done nearly enough” to stop Climate Change.

You will agree, we all and our governments have been negligent by not putting effective processes in place to stopping Climate Change. Yes, you accuse the government of negligence and incompetence in dealing with Climate Change. It is clearly necessary for us to look into where the deficits are and how to fix them.

But the question I am asking me now is:

How negligent is Extinction Rebellion? How negligent are you?

Do I now have to sit down with my lonely placard opposite of the headquarters of extinction Rebellion and protest against the negligence of Extinction Rebellion, the very same negligence you accuse the government of?

Or are you going to listen and engage in a constructive discussion? Perhaps before you go into a meeting with the government officials?

Are you going to act responsibly?

Some questions:

  • Is Extinction Rebellion even less effective and efficient in their approach than the government they criticise for being negligent?
  • What is effectiveness and efficiency in policy making at all? 
  • How do we ensure the utmost degree of effectiveness and efficiency in policy making?
  • How to choose the very best problem solving approaches? 
  • Which role does analytical competency play in solving the greatest problem humanity has ever faced? 
  • Which role does know-how in problem solving methodologies play in this respect?  

You accuse the government of negligence (rightly so, in my understanding).  

  • Is Extinction Rebellion negligent as well?
  • Don’t you have to examine the foundations necessary for an effective problem solving process before you design one? 
  • Or ask people, who might have relevant know-how is such areas? (such as experts in problem-solving methodologies at universities?)

I sincerely and honestly praise you for bringing the issue of Global Warming on top of the agenda. People have complained about the protests. Yet, they clearly have been necessary, just as the protests of the young people following the example of Greta Thunberg.

But there is a difference between “raising attention to a problem” and “solving a problem”. You very effectively and with perseverance managed to raise attention to the problem of Climate Change. But is this sufficient to also solve the problem effectively?

Stopping climate change is a gigantic task, larger than anything the world has ever seen. Solving the task appears, if not impossible, so at least, close to impossible.

What we need to do now is to create “the most effective and efficient process only conceivable” to address and solve the problem.

The first step in problem solving is “the creation of a joint understanding of the problem situation” …in the beginning at least among the policy making institutions, then also in the entire population. If I am not mistaken, this is actually what Extinction Rebellion rightly suggested as the first necessary step.

So, why not follow through with this proposal and now take step two ahead of step one???? – Again, many people will not understand, why we should declare a Climate Emergency now. But we must create their understanding and support.

Yes, maybe your demand to create a Climate Emergency now serves as a further impulse for re-assessing the facts and for making people recognise and admit that Climate Change truly is a problem of “existential relevance” we are facing.

Still, in order to solve the problem we won’t get by the first necessary step: Creating a joint understanding of the problem situation.

What would be the sensible thing to do now? ( yes, it is my opinion, but it appears to be your obligation to engage in a constructive debate on it)

  1. Meet with the government officials.
  2. Agree to put a work group together which determines the most effective and efficient way forward (open the process up to the public to be sure the path chosen for coping with the problem is the most effective process conceivable – we sort of need to find the very best path through the Himalaya to get across, it is a significant loss of energy to go into the wrong  direction first and then having to see one must return)
  3. That work group must, in my opinion, use the systemic problem solving steps I suggested on my website and in my other letters to you.
  4. As mentioned that work group would as a first step create a joint understanding of the problem situation in government and society (as XR also rightly suggested – sorry if I repeat myself – just to present the necessary sequence).
  5. The first consequence of this joint understanding might then be: The declaration of a Climate Emergency.
  6. The other consequence will probably be that the UK (re-) establishes an independent Government Department For Climate Change Policy.
  7. The new Secretary for Climate Change Policy then develops the most suitable strategy together with all parties interested and concerned (complete transparency and involvement of the public – that is what you rightly request.)
  8. Is a Citizens’ Assembly truly the most effective and efficient way for moving forward – or is it a waste of valuable time and funds, and even worse, does it put the process for addressing Climate Change into an ineffective direction, will we eventually have to turn back and select another strategy?
  9. To insist on a Citizens’ Assembly without making sure what the most effective and efficient approach might be appears not diligent and, therefore, negligent as well. (am I right or wrong – we are obliged to examine a fundamental “hypothesis” of such critical relevance – are there better processes to involve the public, is a crucial question ).
  10. And generally: Is it negligence or not to not include someone in the problem solving process who has a website called “optimizingdemocracy”, has twenty years of experience in thinking about the effectiveness and efficiency of policy making and has even studied Operational Research and Systemic Problem Solving Methodologies? (yes, I am obliged to suggest I have highly relevant qualifications – check it out, verify, you are obliged to check the veracity of this “hypothesis” as well, you ar obliged to listen (one failure of government is that it does not listen and does not examine relevant proposals on how to make government effective.)
  11. I am also trying to get the government to understand this. So far they failed.

The fundamental starting point we must agree on is this one in my opinion:

We must agree on the crucial need to find “the most effective and efficient way forward”.

 That is a question of methodology.

Do you think it would be necessary to include someone who has substantial knowledge on such issues and has spent twenty years tackling such questions in your work group and in the talks with government?

What must I do, to convince you that focusing on “maximum effectiveness and efficiency” is of decisive relevance now.

You want to declare a “Climate Emergency”. If the problem is of existential relevance for humanity then not focusing on “absolute effectiveness and efficiency” is absolutely negligent.

Do I have to glue myself now to the doors of XR to bring this message home, or are we going to talk?

In 2016 protesters suggested: “Climate change department closed by Theresa May in ‘plain stupid’ and ‘deeply worrying’ move” (The Independent). They were right. It was wrong. The fault is connected with fundamental deficits in government strategy making detected by Parliament already in 2012 (!!) and which have not been fixed by now (Another matter of substantial negligence in government – and Parliament? Of relevance for all of policy making including Climate Change – the Parliamentarians themselves mentioned it in 2012, but did not fix the problem! We must now.)

XR is going to talk with a government which appears “not capable” of effective policy making (to use a more neutral word than “stupid” – analytical competency is crucial in government – how do we make sure we have analytically competent leaders – see also the horribly chaotic Brexit process)

The crucial question is: How do we make sure the policy making process is as effective and efficient as only conceivable?

Should we include people with know-how in the creation of effective processes or not?

With kind regards, from a supporter and member of XR,

Hans Peter Ulrich


P.S.: Sorry the letter is a bit long. But it took you also a couple of days to get the government  to communicate.

It might, as a final point, be of interest to you that I also wrote a nine page letter and a two page letter to Theresa May on the issue, and a letter to Michael Gove. (Yes, you are right, persistence is necessary.) Both have not replied, even if the issue I discuss in the letter are of central concern, the effectiveness and efficiency in policy making. In Ireland observers  blame the tense situation there on the “complacent stupidity” of some parties involved (The Week, April 27th). In America, a public report identified a “culture of complacency” as the key reason behind the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. If we are to solve the Climate Crisis at all, we need to establish the highest analytical competency in government and we all need to act with he highest degree of diligence and commitment. Otherwise, overcoming the problem of Climate Change will not be possible.

What Extinction Rebellion should do next – a proposal

  1. The starting point: We need effective political systems to solve complex tasks.
  2. Climate Change is the largest and most complex challenge humanity has ever faced. Our efforts to stop Climate Change will have to involve all people on earth, all areas of life, and all areas of policy making. To solve the problem of Climate Change we need the most effective national and global policy making systems conceivable.
  3. The UK government system is by no means effective. It does not set its priorities right; it does not create effective strategies. Government fails in many ways (Brexit – over three years not able to present a convincing solution, Climate Change, other areas – many democratic governments suffer from such deficits in policy making which we need to fix.)
  4. Already in 2012 (!) the UK Parliament raised the issue: They said that they had “little confidence” that government policies are informed by a clear, coherent strategic approach”. In other words, they said: Government strategy making was completely faulty and ineffective (or “rubbish”, if you like!).
  5. They starkly concluded: Failing to fix the deficits in strategic thinking in government could have “catastrophic consequences”, also in Climate Change! Parliament itself failed, however, as a control institution to make sure the deficit was fixed. (Here the people/XR needs to come in: The people need to make sure that Government does its job properly and that there is an effective control system over Government.)  
  6. In its reactions to the Climate Protests the Government confirms that its strategy making is completely ineffective:
  7. Rather than engaging with the Climate Protesters the Prime Minster so far has said nothing about the protests. She rather acts as a marshal in a local run! (that appears to be blatantly wrong priority setting – considering that the world is at stake).
  8. The reactions of other high government officials to the climate protests were completely inadequate: They suggested for example that the protesters were “clowns” and protesting “against public transport”. They are protesting against the potentially threatening destruction of the planet “as we know it” (Al Gore) and of human civilisation. The first thing the want us to do is to engage in a constructive discussion on the future of the planet and on the strategy in coping with Climate Change. The protests would stop, if the government would enter into such constructive talks. 
  9. As we said we need a political system of the greatest degree of effectiveness to solve Climate Change.
  10. Extension Rebellion theoretically has two options to make sure we have such a system:

a) to set up such an effective system on its own

b) to demand and ensure that the present political system operates as effectively as it must to handle climate change.

  1. Option one is completely unrealistic and nonsensical. The UK Government System and Civil service currently employ around 450000 persons. If we declare a Climate Emergency, this means that all these 450000 persons (plus the entire population of the UK) must somehow be involved in policy making and implementation against  Climate Change. There is no use in wanting to replicate such a system.
  2. XR can only pursue option 2: It must ensure that the existing Climate Change policy making system with the (any) Prime Minister at the top works as effectively and efficiently as only possible – and is possibly restructured and enhanced to ensure that is the case.  
  3. We have zero time to lose in making sure that the Climate Policy System is effective and capable to design and implement an effective strategy against Climate Change.
  4. XR should therefore as a next step put the Prime Minister on the spot. The Prime Minister as the Head of Government is responsible for ensuring policy effectiveness.
  5. It should demand that the Prime Minister immediately names an able Secretary for Climate Change Policy (as a key contact for XR – with adequate qualifications in the structuring of complex problems).
  6. XR must then clarify together with this new Secretary for Climate Change Policy what the most suitable strategy against Climate Change is.
  7. XR must then make sure that the new Secretary for Climate Change (with  the support of the Prime Minister) implements the required strategy.
  8. There is no effective system without effective control.     
  9. XR actually must function as the control system of the people in making sure that government works effectively regarding Climate Change. XR can only then create an effective UK and global Climate Change policy, if it learns how to act effectively as a “Citizens’ Control System” over Climate Change Policy. (By protesting it takes a first step in exerting such a control function.)
  10. Protesting appears necessary to get the attention of government and of wider society. But it is by no means enough. XR must take constructive action to ensure that there is an effective climate change policy system. 
  11. XR demands a Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change. Also a Citizens’ Assembly, if it is effective, will have to come to the conclusion that an effective fight against Climate Change demands a highly effective policy making system. 
  12. So why not start now? Why not set up an effective process to ensure the effectiveness of national Climate Change Policy now? 
  1. My concrete proposals:
  2. Put the Prime Minister on the spot. Concentrate the protests around Downing Street.
  3. Demand that the Prime Minister establishes an effective system and process to implement an effective Climate Change Policy
  4. Concretely: Demand that the Prime Minister establishes a separate Department for Climate Change (perhaps together with Environment – if the planet is at stake “as we know it” then we need a specific department to deal with such an issue and emergency.)
  5. Demand that the government names a capable Secretary for Climate Change Policy as a main contact for XR
  6. Demand that this secretary for Climate Change works closely with XR on developing an effective UK and International Strategy to stop Climate Change.
  7. If the Prime Minister does not understand: Solicit also the support from Parliament (Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, responsible for Report on Government strategy making deficits.
  8. If that does not help: Tell the British public clearly that the Prime Minister needs to act and install an effective system to combat climate Change and restart frequent traffic disruptions in London – until the Prime Minister install a new department and secretary for Climate Change Policy.
  9. One must convey clearly to the British public and the people affected by traffic disruptions that the Prime Minister can stop the disruptions immediately by doing what is required: By installing a new Secretary for Climate Change Policy with whom XR can work together.

Hans Peter Ulrich             22 April 2019

The Climate Protests: A Constructive Way Forward

The Situation

We do not have any more time to lose.

We urgently need an effective process to get us started.

The Scope of The Task

The situation is more complex than anything the world has ever seen before.

We need something like the war effort in WWII, involving all people in society, only this time on an even far bigger scale: We must join with all other initiatives against global warming in the world.

We can only succeed, if we start now and use all resources available in our societies in the most effective and efficient manner conceivable.

The Demands on The Process for Stopping Global Warming

An effective fight against global warming will have to integrate all aspects of life on earth.

It will require substantial changes in the way we live, what we eat, which products we use, how we generate energy.

Maintaining the planet in such a way will cost each of us money.

It is likely to generate fundamental changes in economic structures. Many people might lose their jobs, other jobs will be necessary and created.

We need to pursue not only one, but two goals:

  1. To stop global warming
  2. To maintain society sound and stable, while it undergoes these changes.

There is no use in creating an effective climate policy, if it destabilises and destroys society.

We need a system capable to implement and co-ordinate all measures across all areas of society and of politics: housing, transport, manufacturing, agriculture, research, education, nutrition, international co-operation, international development, international population control and so on.

The consequence: In each country and for the world as a whole we must create the most effective systems and processes conceivable to handle the problem.

 The Necessary Problem-Solving Steps

Solving a complex problem like global warming requires the following steps:

  1. Creating a joint understanding of the problem situation. So far, too many people do not realise the dangers we are in or even deny them. We have to as soon as possible confirm the data and communicate them effectively to society.
  2. Creating a joint understanding of the goals, so everyone can pitch in.
  3. Identifying all factors which affect the goals.
  4. Designing different strategic options.
  5. Deciding on the most effective ones or on the best combination of measures and strategies.
  6. Implementing the chosen strategies or strategy packages.

We can only then generate an effective UK and global strategy to stop Climate Change, if we create the most effective systems and processes conceivable to handle each and every one of these tasks. 


All of these steps require the highest capacities in problem solving methodologies and quantitative decision-making processes. They must combine the required expert knowledge into feasible strategies.

We need to identify the very best methodologies.

We need to teach people working on Climate Change Policy Making these methods.

We need to select the most qualified people in all these methods for working on climate change policies.

Involvement of the People

All people in society and in the world need to support and co-operate on these efforts.

All people in society need to be involved and understand what is required.

We need to create a highly effective Communication Hub to ensure that is the case.

Protests generate the required attention. But they do not actually stop global warming.

We must come to the most effective concrete measures conceivable.

Everyone can participate in a practical way in stopping climate change:

  • by planting trees in our cities and all over the world,
  • by educating people about alternative ways of nutrition,
  • by doing research on new ways of generating and conserving energy,
  • by advising people on environmentally friendly living and on how to energy protect their homes,
  • by becoming a builder and helping in replacing energy inefficient windows,
  • by helping communities to build better bicycle tracks,
  • by working for a more effective development policy,
  • by advising people in Africa on birth control,
  • or by becoming an expert in solving complex policy issues through studying systemic problem solving methods.

There is an enormous amount of work which needs to be co-ordinated effectively.

A Citizens’ Assembly?

As we said: We need to create the most effective systems and processes conceivable to handle each and every one of the problem-solving tasks.

And that as soon as possible. We have no time to lose.

The question is: Which function in the problem-solving process is a Citizens’ Assembly supposed to fulfil?

Does it have the necessary capacities?

The drawback appears to be: Randomly selected people will not have the necessary methodological know-how. Citizens’ Assemblies also are usually limited in time. Effective strategy design is an ongoing task. Government still needs a highly effective process to check and implement any proposals made by the Citizens’ Assembly.

It may be a start. But it is also a waste of time. Doubling the policy making processes of government is a waste of scarce resources. We rather need to make government climate policy effective.

Proposals for Solution

  1. We install an effective permanent process for citizen involvement co-ordinating all necessary measures to stop climate change.
  2. We demand that the Prime Minister installs now without delay a new specific Secretary for Climate Change Policy in the UK government with the required know-how in methods for solving complex problems.
  3. This Secretary with our support and under the control of the people must immediately put the sketched problem-solving process into place to get us started.

For us it is important to realise:

Without adequate know-how in problem solving methodologies we cannot establish effective measures against global warming.

Best of luck and success    Hans Peter Ulrich         20 April 2019