Two more books for the RSA top ten list:
David’s fascinating book draws the vital distinction between politicians’ personal hypocrisy (not living up to their stated values in their private life) and political hypocrisy (not living up to their stated values in the policy decisions they make). He shows how important hypocrisy is as a concept, both now and throughout the modern history of democracy, and bemoans the way we seem to take personal inconsistency and humbug so much more seriously than its political equivalents. It’s one of those books that make you want to pick an argument so you can rehearse all its powerful points.
Perhaps the highpoint of our Thursday series in 2008 was the discussion of Volume Two of Lord Donoughue’s diaries. I got a shiver down my spine being in the same room as Shirley Williams, David Marquand and Peter Riddell. As the economy spirals downwards, public sector trade unions become more restive and a Labour Government ponders its own mortality – the parallels between now and the late 70s are legion. For a sharp, honest and witty insight into a Government in crisis, Donoughue’s book cannot be beaten.
Both are available from the RSA Bookshop.
We shouldn’t underestimate how far our societies have pulled apart. Yet there is hope for renewal, says Anthony Painter. The question is not whether we come together – but how.