'this is a gimmick', 'the government won't listen', 'policy is for parliament to decide', 'people will be manipulated', 'people will not get to debate what they want', 'who has the contracts?'.Some of these things are contradictory. Surely if this is a gimmick and the government doesn't listen or does listen, depending on your criticism, then are not the government setting themselves up for a fall if they ignore (or follow) a jury's findings?
It really wouldn't make sense for the government to do that, which makes me think this isn't a gimmick. Indeed I have long been a fan of citizen's juries.
They can be relatively expensive for making small local decisions, but in terms of the 'big issues' and informing debate they are priceless.
The truth is, the opposition are scared - Labour can afford to trust the people with the facts - because basically Labour wants what the vast majority want. It is the Tories and Lib Dems who feed on ignorance and want to look after a selfish wealthy few by scrapping inheritance taxes, tuition fees etc. As Mark Oaten points out - the Lib Dems and Tories vote together on quite a few things - they both want more regressive taxation on energy and their policies are geared to help middle income earners rather than the poor.