Let's not turn up our noses. In my previous letter, I wrote, about the upcoming French presidential elections: "I would love to hear a presidential candidate say, 'I know that I won't change French society in just one term, but if I am able to lay the foundations for a collective movement and help restore France's sense of confidence in itself and in others, which is currently lacking, I will know that I have achieved something.' ” This was indeed the substance of Emmanuel Macron's inaugural speech on 14 May. It's a good start.

His electoral victory reflects French people's weariness of the old political games, and their growing distrust of political figures. Their hopes would soon be quashed if from this victory there did not follow a profound renewal of the way politics are played out.

The upheaval we are witnessing is not the first. In 1981, François Mitterand's electoral victory triggered a “pink wave” - pink being the color of his socialist party. There was a flood of newcomers in Parliament and ministerial offices were full of people from "civil society". All of them quickly fell into the mould. Politics did not change. Today, the situation is more serious. The far-right is only waiting to cash in on a new democratic disappointment.

Whether Emmanuel Macron wins a parliamentary majority or not, he will have to show that politics can be done differently; that it is possible to initiate genuine citizen debate around forward-looking changes. The time for deliberative democracy has come.

Let's talk methodology. For all of society's key challenges - Europe, employment and unemployment, social protection, education, healthcare, transitioning to sustainable societies, etc. - we need to set up local citizens panels and then compare the conclusions and proposals drawn from these panels. Here are the six principles (detailed in the attached extract from my book Sauvons la démocratie, ECLM, 2012):

First principle: a "bottom-up" approach. We must start with territories, cities, regions. There, the different players have a real face. It is at this level that the complexity of our societies becomes concrete.

Second principle: local conversations and debates deserve the best information. Democracy is not a sum of opinions. It is the result of dialogue between informed citizens, who have had the time and the means to understand the issue and to understand each other. In support of each local debate, a website should be created where all the necessary information can be found: the data underlying the problem; the well-argued views of political parties, trade unions, experts with divergent opinions, and of organized civil society.

Third principle: randomly select, within a representative sample of cities and regions, panels of about thirty citizens that reflect society's diversity. Give them the means and the time to talk. That is what investing in democracy means. Make use of the internet so that these panels can exchange among themselves and that everyone can ask the experts, for the benefit of all, the questions he or she wishes. Develop methods of dialogue that allow panel members to visualize the different dimensions of the issues they seek to address. The whole of society will benefit from this.

Fourth principle: collect the most significant experiences. There are innumerable local innovations. The world is big. Other societies face the same problems and come up with their own answers. In political debates, these specific answers are sometimes invoked in support of a particular opinion, without taking the time to study them carefully, looking at their advantages and disadvantages. We must be able to access this diversity. The societies that move forward are those that do not hesitate to draw inspiration from others. Inspiration is not the same thing as copying.

Fifth principle: “platforms of hope”. This beautiful term, coined by États-généraux de l'économie sociale et solidaire in France, is exactly what is needed. Platforms of grievances are not enough. We must project ourselves into the future and dare to make proposals. Some will be utopian. All of them, if they come out of the dialogues mentioned, will be useful. Compare these proposals, and then political debate itself, the expression of the organized social forces, of different political sensitivities, can begin.

Sixth principle: moving from proposals to strategies for change. These involve a vast array of players. Changes in the legal framework will only constitute a small part of it: society is not changed through decrees. Often it is the mental system, the way institutions are conceived, peoples' everyday actions that need to change. And this is not achieved overnight.

All this will be a bit laborious the first few times. But a collective process of learning will be underway, which focusses on mutual respect and dialogue instead of invective. And the immaterial capital of French society will grow.