Kennedy, Charles The Future of Politics

ISBN 13: 9780007101313

The Future of Politics

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9780007101313: The Future of Politics

The leader of the Liberal Democrats sets out his personal beliefs and political vision to create a new political language and a new brand of politics.

Politics and government are in danger of going out of business unless politicians adopt a fresh and innovative approach. In The Future of Politics Charles Kennedy sets out his views on the problems and the solutions – he intends to reinvigorate politics by promoting a new agenda and inspiring a new generation of voters.

Until now politicians have been far too slow to react to the challenges created by the forces of globalization, technology, market liberalization, social division, environmental threats, voter disengagement, issues surrounding individual liberty and devolution. They are still tied to the old models of nation states and parliamentary sovereignty.

Only if liberalization, decentralization and deregulation are promoted can our political system adapt. Kennedy also argues that government should promote greater redistribution of wealth within society, though not simply through the ‘tax and spend’ mechanism.

In The Future of Politics Charles Kennedy has created a new political language and a new form of address which provide radical solutions to the unprecedented problems of our society and the world today.

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Review:

In 1999, Charles Kennedy was elected as leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, after a meteoric rise through the party, after becoming the youngest sitting MP of the time following the General Election of 1983. The Future of Politics is intended to define Kennedy's liberal political philosophy, and is a deliberate attempt to bolster perceptions of the Liberal leader as a well-meaning but politically lightweight leader of the nation's third party.

The book stands in a long tradition of books written by political leaders that have a very short shelf life, as they pitch their vision to the party faithful and media pundits in the run-up to the next general election. Nevertheless, Kennedy emerges as a pleasant and principled politician, even if his sentiments, such as "we are in politics to promote the liberty of the individual", lack practical substance. The book ranges across the issues central to Kennedy's leadership of the party--constitutional reform, the environment, Europe and the economy. The tone also veers from the portentous, invoking John Stuart Mill and Aeschylus, to the chatty, as Kennedy encompasses his own Highland upbringing to his views on the current state of the British political system. At times the colloquial style makes Kennedy sound rather naïve, such as when he says that "put simply, my philosophy of government is that it should do less in a few areas, do more in others, and do different in most", but overall this is a sound, sensible and very liberal view of British politics. --Jerry Brotton

From the Back Cover:

In 'The Future of Politics' Charles Kennedy argues that without a fresh and innovative approach politics and government are in danger of going out of business – politics are still ties to old models of nation states and parliamentary sovereignty and have been far too slow to respond to the challenges of the modern world, both nationally and internationally. He intends to reinvigorate politics by promoting a new agenda and inspiring a new generation of voters.

He will look at the state of social justice and individual liberty in this country, the 'democratic deficit' that makes a powerful case for the development of regionalism, the effect of globalisation on the role of government, the extent to which technology and industry are real driving forces in creating social change, the continuing threat to the environment, the growing social disparities in Britain and issues of the political agenda. He will also examine why people currently choose to get more involved in interest groups than political parties and the growing political disengagement and disillusionment of the young.

Politics must rediscover its sense of idealism and purpose. Charles Kennedy's mission is to ensure that politics promotes the freedom of the individual. That means government must do less, do more, and do different. Government must do less in areas such as family policy; it must do more by promoting the redistribution of wealth and by investing in health and education; and it must do different by promoting a genuine democracy n which individual feel that they can make a difference.

Charles Kennedy shows that creative government action to create more equality is consistent with reducing government control over individuals, as both seek to create more freedom. In doing so, this analysis of cutting-edge political issues creates a new political language and a new brand of politics – liberal democracy.

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Kennedy, Charles
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