If democracy looks doomed, Extinction Rebellion may have an answer | John Harris

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Panorama of a city business district with office buildings and skyscrapers and superimposed data, charts and diagrams related to stock market, currency exchange and global finance. Blue line graphs with numbers and exchange rates, candlestick charts and financial figures fill the image with a glowing light. Sunset light.

At the heart of a new climate emergency bill lies a simple idea to cut through Westminster groupthink: a citizens’ assembly

The timing is impeccable. In the midst of political ferment across the world, and with anxiety about the coming winter hardening into dread, Extinction Rebellion is back. Over the weekend it has made its presence felt in towns and cities around the country; now, in the wake of several of its organisers being arrested, its activists and supporters are preparing to arrive on Tuesday at Parliament Square, outside the Welsh parliament in Cardiff, and in the centre of Manchester.

As usual, those involved will presumably be portrayed as eccentric and dangerous merchants of despair. But whatever the sense of millenarian doom that sometimes hangs over its actions, plenty of the people at the heart of the movement are admirably practical, and focused on overcoming the daunting political challenges that climate change still presents. And in among the protests, there will be an example of what this means in practice: the climate and ecological emergency bill, partly conceived by people with close links to XR, and due to be formally launched on Wednesday.

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