Nancy Platts Takes a Dangerous Populist Turn

Nancy Platts helps no-one by over-stepping the line from vigorous campaigning to populist attacks on officials.

Last week, current Brighton and Hove City Council Leader Nancy Platts wrote a piece on opposition to the forced academisation of Moulsecoomb Primary School.  Carried in both Brighton & Hove News and Brighton & Hove Independent,  she mixes a laudable concern that the voice of the local community be heard with a nasty populist attack on the civil servants involved in the process.  This is a dangerous path to venture down, especially in our current toxically populist political environment in which the Institute for Government has found ‘an unprecedented rise in the number of political attacks on civil servants’.

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Review: Why We Get the Wrong Politicians – Isabel Hardman (2018)

Isabel Hardman’s Why We Get the Wrong Politicians offers a clear and lively explanation of the parliamentary system’s working in both theory, and in practice. I recommend it for all those with an interest in why our system seems to be mired in crisis, regardless of existing levels of knowledge: she offers clear explanation of the systems workings for those unfamiliar with the detail of our parliament, along with insider knowledge and accounts of how it actually works, and why.

The Peterborough by-election depressed me.  The top two candidates were so patently unfit for public office that it really made inescapable the growing feeling I’ve had that our political system is in crisis. 

I turned to Isabel Hardman’s well received 2018 account of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians.   This had been sitting on my shelf for a few months, seemingly awaiting just such a moment of total loss of confidence in the system from me, so I note here I have the first edition hardback.  It has since been updated and issued as a paperback, with an updated Brexit section and preface on ‘how it’s just got worse’, and I would like to read these further thoughts from Hardman.

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