Tag Archives: professor david runciman

When politics really does take a back seat

Professor David Runciman, writing in the Guardian this week, may be right about a layer of politics being stripped away in this current crisis and, as he describes it, there being “a trade off between personal liberty and collective choice”. Speaking to his nation on the Edison phonograph at the start of World War One, Kaiser Wilhelm II ended his address with the words; “I recognise no parties any more, only Germans”.

Whether we like it or not, what we are now in the middle of is a war; but, as Mr Spock might have said to Captain James Kirk; “not as we know it”. Wilhelm was the head, despite the trappings of democracy, of a basically autocratic regime, which sought to shore up its power by enlisting patriotism, and it worked for a while as it did also in Tsarist Russia, Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Turkey.

I know that there are many people, who suspect the motives of many of those advocating obedience rather than debate; but these are extraordinary times for mankind. As Dr Liam Fox, not someone whose views I generally share, wrote last weekend, we, who have only been around as a species some 200,000 years, are facing an ‘enemy’ that has survived for millions.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 32 Comments

Recent Comments

  • John Littler
    In this day and age, to grab people's attention among the populists you have to be harder hitting. Long detailed policies are not what the public want, even if...
  • Drew Durning
    My initial reaction to Ed's unilateral decision to announce we're not a rejoin party was just to instantly resign. The policy was only agreed at the last confer...
  • Caron LindsayCaron Lindsay
    @Nigel Lindsay - my comment about party strategists was a statement of fact, not an endorsement. Because my view is closer to yours. I think Sturgeon trying to ...
  • David Evans
    Barry, Somethings you have to accept, but others you have to campaign against because they are wrong. And a leader deliberately undermining the party and its m...
  • Katharine Pindar
    @ Peter Martin. Agreed, Peter, that paying out benefits does not take people completely out of poverty. We don't claim that, but merely that benefits should be ...