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From New Labour to the Big Society
Author: Hugh Atkinson

There is a widespread view that local democracy in Britain is in deep trouble and that people face a crisis of civic engagement and political participation. This book counterweighs the many negative accounts that seek to dominate the political discourse with talks on political apathy and selfish individualism. It commences with an examination of theoretical debates as to the meaning of local democracy and related concepts. The book looks at the policy agenda around local democracy in the context of the developing nature of central/local relations since 1979. It considers the available evidence on level of political participation and civic engagement by looking at eight themes. These include the state of formal politics, forms of civic engagement, community identity and the emerging world of the internet/world wide web. The book also looks at nine key aspects of the reform of local democracy over the last fifteen years, including local democracy and the New Labour reform agenda; the constitutional position of local government; and double devolution. It focuses on the so-called 'crisis of formal democracy' at the local level. The book ascertains the recent developments beyond the realm of elections, political parties and formal political institutions. It then concentrates on local services and policy attempts to widen public participation in the shaping and delivery of such services. Finally, the book discusses the concept of sustainability and regeneration strategies to build sustainable communities, both physical and social.

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Hugh Atkinson

Introduction This is a book about local democracy, about community and civic engagement in Britain. It was conceived as a counterweight to the many negative accounts that seek to dominate our political discourse with their talk of political apathy and selfish individualism. Barack Obama made the point effectively in the American context long before his successful bid for the Presidency. In an interview given to the Chicago Reader newspaper on 8 December 1995 he set out his now wellrehearsed argument about the need for change in the way the USA does its politics

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
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Conservatism confounded
Arthur Aughey

, argued that the DUP is not right of centre when it comes to ‘issues of how the market should operate’ or ‘in terms of how society should work’ (Eaton 2015). Those words echoed the sentiments outlined in the Conservative manifesto (2017: 11): ‘We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality’. Though there was evidence that a small majority of DUP members ‘feel closer to the Conservative Party’ than they do to any other party (Tonge et al. 2014: 178–9) – and there

in The Conservative Party and the nation
Aeron Davis

, collective interests. Selfish individualism and survival of the fittest are not a good basis for holding any group together, including the elite. Lunatics running the free market asylum If the current manifestation of the Establishment is no longer tied together by either shared class or collective interests, how does it maintain coherence? For Owen Jones, Anthony Sampson and other recent Establishment accounts, the answer is to be located in the ideas of neoliberalism: that is, everything to do with promoting the

in Reckless opportunists
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Being reasonable?
Stacey Gutkowski

people as an imagined community is their strong sense of the very real, present, other Jewish people around them in their everyday lives: families, friends, neighbours, colleagues, for whom they feel connection and responsibility. 21 This is not selfish individualism. 22 It is a neo-republican conception of being a good citizen. Millennial hilonim across the political spectrum see themselves as the most reasonable among reasonable citizens, fulcrum citizens balancing their Jewish-Israeli political competitors: for rising number of centrists, balancing the

in Religion, war and Israel’s secular millennials
Valerie Bryson

between the sexes were also based on freedom and equality rather than ownership and dependency, and that conventional family life was a source of selfish individualism that was incompatible with socialist co-operation and would therefore have to be transformed. Conversely, they also argued that this transformation of personal and family life would be possible only in a more equal society, in which relationships could be freely chosen, rather than based on dependency and possession. By the beginning of the twentieth century, related ideas were being developed by some

in The futures of feminism
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Persuasion and the value of a concept to mainstreaming co-operation
Philip Grant

-operatives, particularly producer co-operatives, is that they challenge this instrumentalisation through their radically different practices. In the John Lewis case, this promise has been betrayed. Mapping agencies and agents thus achieves the following: assessment of the relative strengths of the forces involved, illumination of the moral contours of the controversy (selfish individualism versus mutuality), highlighting of its gender dynamics, analysis of why the justifications of the doubters of co-operation seem inevitable, and how this seeming inevitability might be countered. This

in Mainstreaming co-operation
A resource for a journey of hope?
Stephen Yeo

History of Co-operation (1908 edition, ‘revised and completed’) when I remembered that this book, like many of his others, is as much a collection of essays in social ethics or morality as it is a conventional history. As such, it is at least as useful for the future as for the past, reminding us, as Philip Grant does in his chapter 3 of this volume, of the ‘moral contours’ of the movement: ‘selfish individualism versus mutuality’. Holyoake: a resource for a journey of hope? 47 Beyond his part in the Owenite socialist and then the co-operative movement, Holyoake is

in Mainstreaming co-operation
Sarah Hale

primarily towards capitalism and tradition, and generally towards those forces which suppress the individual human impulse. Communitarian politics is often presented as an antidote to the selfish individualism perceived to have been engendered under Thatcherism. For Macmurray, however, individualism – which he perceived in his own time – was not the cause

in The Third Way and beyond