The right climate?

Andrew Collinge has a really good post over on the LGIU blog. He’s picking up on an also-good post by Matthew Taylor of the RSA. 

I don’t have anything to say that engages with it directly, only to add something that I mentioned in a post a while ago over on the Liberal Conspiracy site about civic energy. It probably breaks every rule about humility and blogging (is it wrong to quote yourself writing elsewhere?), but here are the relevant paras:

Paraphrasing Tim Garton-Ash a while ago, when politicians were able to win elections and start the process of government, they often exhibited what Machiavelli called virtù – the capacity for collective action and historical vitality. It is politics – the whole reviled shebang – strong yet fractious political parties, that are the engine of that vitality.

Referendums remove that capacity at a stroke. If you are looking for an explanation for illiberalism – for the promotion of a bureaucratic / policing agenda – look no further than a Parliament along with local and regional assemblies that have had the virtùsucked out of them by the constant imperative to consult with stakeholders, negotiate with veto-wielding vested interests, disruptive agenda-led newspapers, opinion-polls, well-heeled pressure groups, bureaucrats and managerialists.

The nature of democracy makes a huge difference to the options that policymakers can exercise.


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