Douglas Carswell is an optimist. In fact, the more pessimistic the the world seems the more optimistic he becomes. This is not because Carswell celebrates the busted state of western living; instead he believes the quicker the status quo cracks the sooner a better governance system will emerge.
The current version of Western democracy has failed because it has failed to restrict the size of government. Democracy was originally based on limiting the power of the executive, but because the elites have become expert at hiding spending the power of the state has expanded dramatically. This expansion has been pushed by the (sometimes well intentioned) privileged, who believe they know what is best for the masses.
During the debate Carswell explained that he was not trying to win a argument but showcase the inevitable trajectory our society is on. The law of maths means that this system of government is not sustainable. The West can’t continue to live beyond its tax base. The rise of technology will allow a new consumer activist democracy to fill the void left by the this collapse.
It is now easier for people to obtain information and make choices. As democracy becomes more responsive the public will feel more responsibility for the direction of their lives. Thanks to the ease with which reciprocal experiences can be exchanged we will all have a better idea of what ‘good’ looks like.
Douglas Carswell analysis highlights the battle ground in politics – between those who will try everything to recapture the status quo and those who want to go with the grain of change. When in opposition the Conservatives understood that power was going back to the people. The Coalition government seems scared to follow a strategy which helps to facilitate this. (According to Carswell power has been captures by the civil service, who find it impossible to let go of the idea that all problems need to be resolved by a grand design.) If Douglas Carswell is right – and he makes many good points – then our future landscape will be crafted by those who have the courage to embrace the change.
* “The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy” will be published in October.