Tag Archives: civil society

Beyond Individualism

The European Christian Political Movement is hosting a two day colloquium and conference on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th November 2011.  Entitled ‘Beyond Individualism: Why Civil Society Needs Christian Political Engagement’, the Friday will be a study day aimed at leaders in policy, politics, advocacy and academia, and the Saturday will be a broader conference considering issues facing Europe and how Christian thought might offer a response.

Speakers over the two days include Maurice Glasman (a Fellow of CTC), Philip Blond, Os Guinness, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, and a number of politicians from the continent.

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AV and the Big Society: The Dangers of Introspection

The entrails of the opposing campaigns for the AV referendum last week will be pored over for weeks to come.  The result was a crushing defeat of AV by a margin of almost 2:1.  The cause of electoral reform has been kicked into the long grass, although some surprising dissenting voices to that thesis are worth hearing.

Already criticism is turning to the failure of the YES campaign to engage the electorate.  The failure which stands out for particular consideration is a question of realism.  Liberal Vision is particularly insightful:

The YES campaign was eminently winnable. But it ended up being run by readers of the Guardian for readers of the Guardian … From the outset, the YES campaign was all about the tiny coterie of people who feel strongly about electoral reform.

The point made in the article is that those leading the campaign addressed it to people like themselves.  The often self-congratulatory tone of the campaign material seemed directed more at cheering on existing supporters than seeking new ones.  Prominent people backing the campaign – including a disproportionate number of actors and celebrities who don’t necessarily bring credibility to a campaign – appealed to voters who were already inclined to vote YES.  There was little serious effort to appeal beyond an existing constituency.  As the result proved, that constituency (despite claims ad nauseum that there is a latent ‘progressive majority’ in Britain) was no way near big enough to win the referendum.

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