August 9, 2010


The Extraordinary Realignment of the Centre Right (David Marquand, 8 August 2010, Open Democracy)

To me, the single most important feature of the last election, shockingly ignored by the Westminster-centred commentariat, is that it saw what may well turn out to be the death throes of the statist, top-down democratic collectivism which has been Labour's default position ever since it became a serious contender for government after the First World War. The Coalition is, in a way, an alliance between the two great non-statist political traditions of this country: the whig tradition, with its emphasis on Edmund Burke's 'little platoons', now exemplified by David Cameron, and the essentially republican tradition with its emphasis on civic engagement and bottom up democracy, partially exemplified by Nick Clegg. It's much too soon to tell how this will work out. It may all come apart under the stress of actually governing, and there are plenty of ambiguities about it. So I certainly don't advocate blanket endorsement of Level Two of the Coalition project. But I do think it should be given a fair wind, unless and until the Coalition shows unmistakably that it is trying to deceive us all.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 9, 2010 5:17 AM
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