If you really want ‘new politics’, step forward
Arvamus 15 May 2010  EWR
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The shake-up of Britain’s political system represents an opportunity for pushing new, exciting ideas into the public realm
Brendan O’Neill, Spiked

Many people experienced the post-election deal-making as passive observers. Millions of us voted last Thursday because we take seriously our role as active, engaged citizens and we want to make an impact on the political make-up of Britain. Yet after the election we were frustratingly reduced to audience members at a piece of political theatre, trying to catch glimpses of Nick Clegg’s notepad or waiting for announcements from Lib Dem officials we had never heard of before in order to find out what was going on.

The disparity between the enthusiasm with which many people voted in what was described as ‘the most important election in a generation’ and the passive roles we were assigned after the election is a striking one. It points to a tension – a potentially fruitful, rewarding, game-changing tension – between many people’s desire to be politically engaged and a political elite which tends to regard us as the mere providers of bargaining chips for its behind-the-scenes power-broking. This tension makes today’s increasingly fluid political era not simply disorientating, but also more open, more unpredictable, and more susceptible to being shaped and changed by new ideas.

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