Beyond the glittering facade
in The search for democratic renewal
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This chapter reflects more broadly on Labour's agenda for democratic renewal. It compares the case studies, focusing on the principles of representativeness and responsiveness. Responsiveness is derived from the concept of popular control, while representativeness derives from the notion of political equality. A key theme which connects all of the case studies is the inherent difficulty in institutionalising forms of consultation and community engagement, and then sustaining dialogue with civil society. The chapter examines the emergence of the 'Big Society' agenda and its links with Labour's approach to democratic renewal. The Big Society being the flagship policy agenda of David Cameron's Conservative Coalition government in the UK, by which localism and civic engagement are to be reinvigorated. While governments of all hues have shown an interest in finding new mechanisms to enhance the citizen 'voice', in Australia and Britain this has largely been an agenda driven by Labour.

The search for democratic renewal

The politics of consultation in Britain and Australia

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