Towards substantive democracy


Democracy is a big word, and like all big words it is given to controversy and misuse.

Since the magazine’s cover story this month and in April will be about local elections and local governments, it may be suitable to discuss what Democracy is. I have no definite suggestion for what it should be – no one does, I would venture – but a discussion about this most popular political concept of our times is never a waste of time.

Broadly, it is “rule of the people, for the people and by the people”, to quote Abraham Lincoln. But where one lays the stress makes all the difference. 

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