Tony Wright MP "the blogosphere could exchange rant for reason"

I have long admired Tony Wright, an intelligent voice of reason, good temper and integrity.

In a recent lecture which was an exhortation to change the culture of British Politics, instead of the mechanics of are the thoughts of Chairman Wright.

On politicians: "The class of people is intrinsic to the activity"

On the political environment: "There is a permanent election campaign...the impression is that of a triumph of process over product"

On the relationship between structures and cultures in politics:

"culture matters"

The Commons: "an adversarial pantomime...voters yearn for a proper conversation among grown ups"

"The more that the ideological territory on which the parties compete has narrowed, the more vigorously synthetic becomes the battle."

"There now seems to be a complete mis-match between the tribalism of party politics, and what has happened to the world outside"

On specious party dividing lines: "consensus is always elusive...every issue has to be fed into the adversarial mill..belief in consensus is sometimes proclaimed, but only as a drunk proclaims belief in sobriety"

On the sovereignty of Parliament in which Mr Wright argues a case for the strengthening of Parliament over the executive:

"It's a funny kind of legislature, in which the ambition of most members is to join the executive".

"We are in a civic crisis, but it will not be solved by versions of anti-politics..a list of institutional reforms is not the answer...there is always a tendency to think that a problem can be solved by a new piece of machinery..we can do politics differently now, if we want to..politicians could play it straight, journalists could play it fair, parties could resist the rise of a political class, ministers could make sure that cabinet government works, MPs could decide that Parliament matters...the blogosphere could exchange rant for reason..none of this requires a written constitution, a bill of rights, proportional representation or an elected Hous of Lords..but it does require a change of culture...Politics has to be a continuous civic conversation.

The above is lifted from a speech for the 2009 annual Political Quarterly lecture of the 4th March; given by co-editor Tony Wright MP, entitled “Doing Politics Differently”, and is available to view here:

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