Saturday, 17 January 2015


I have little time for the view that politicians should bury their differences and "just sort things out." It ignores the reality that there are genuine differences in approach to solving problems - even over whether a matter is a problem or not. The whole idea of democratic institutions is that they are places for genuine differences to be talked through (Parliament - comes from the word "to talk"). Genuine disagreement lies at the very heart of democracy.

But that doesn't mean that there need be lack of civility - or even a "two tribes" approach. I'm now a "retired" politician - and have had many 'vigorous' debates with those I disagree with - but that doesn't mean I regard Tories or Republicans as "the enemy". The enemy are those who would destroy democracy and replace it with a system where those who take decisions are wholly unaccountable; who would deny me (and others) our hard fought for right to think & speak & live freely. I have good friends who are Tories and Republicans.

And so the increasing partisanship in Congress does distress me. Not only is it unnecessary - it puts the people we serve off politics.

I shall be buying the book that the following C-SPAN programme discusses

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