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The politics of consultation in Britain and Australia
Author: Rob Manwaring

This book attempts to understand how two sister centre-left parties, the British Labour Party and the Australian Labor Party (ALP), have sought to adapt to the modern era and effect changes. It identifies and examines a range of drivers for Labour's desire to experiment and find new forms of citizen engagement. Linked to the influence of the New Social Democracy (NSD) is the lingering legacy of the new public management (NPM) reforms implemented in the public sectors in both countries. For Labour, democratic renewal is an attempt to secure wider legitimacy in neoliberal settings; similarly, the NSD is also linked to the debates about the perceived shift from government to governance. The NSD has attempted to respond to these debates and in Britain a concerted effort has been made to reformulate the role of the state and, by extension, civil society. The book examines how far the NSD has influenced Labour governments in Britain and Australia. It establishes Labour's interest in democratic renewal, specifically, the role of political participation and civic engagement in the wider context of democratic theory. Given that the NSD calls for an 'active citizenry', this is important. A central motif of democratic theory is an ambivalence about the role of political participation in a modern liberal democratic polity. The book explores how far New Social Democratic governments in Britain and Australia have been successful in seeking to link new forms of public dialogue to existing democratic decision-making processes in the modern western world.

Rob Manwaring

2 Labour, democratic renewal and the New Social Democracy In Britain and Australia, Labour governments have been ­experimenting with democratic renewal. Democratic renewal includes a range of diverse activities, processes and mechanisms and can include constitutional reform, increasing the transparency of government d ­ ecision-making, activating new forms of civic engagement and introducing new spaces for public debate. This book looks at one strand of this search for democratic renewal: a growing willingness by Labour ­ governments to introduce new mechanisms

in The search for democratic renewal
Abstract only
Rob Manwaring

whom they represented and what they stood for – in 2 The search for democratic renewal stark contrast to modern times, where the Labour1 parties in Britain and Australia confront the prospect of becoming hollowed-out and lifeless entities. Membership has fallen to record low levels, with an ageing and largely inactive membership, and in Australia swathes of local branches have closed down. The wider labour ‘movement’ is not in an overly healthy state either, with declining levels of trade union density. The modern Labour parties are professionally run, highly

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

8 Beyond the glittering facade Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho, 1983 The New Social Democracy and democratic renewal Centre-left politics, as ever, is undergoing change and renewal. The New Social Democracy is perhaps the most coherent attempt to reinvigorate and modernise social democratic politics in recent times. As outlined in Chapter 2, what was originally termed the Third Way has evolved into a wider set of ideas that have been adopted, to varying degrees, by Labour governments in

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

links between the British and Australian Labour ­parties. An aim of the book is to help bring Australian Labor back into wider d ­iscussions about the varieties of social democracy. The chapter then focuses on four cases of Labour governments directly influenced by the NSD, beginning with the ‘chemically pure’ case ­ of New Labour (1997–2010). This chapter also addresses two key areas neglected in the g­ rowing ­literature on New Labour: the links between its ­ external  ­ programme  for  democratic renewal and the ­internal reforms that sought to embed the party more

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

7 Engagement at the regional level The fallacy of expertise bedevils public policy. Mark Bevir, 2010 ‘Strategic Labor government’ at the regional level National-level Labour governments in both Britain and Australia are amongst a number of centre-left governments rediscovering an interest in democratic renewal. As we saw in the previous chapter, both parties remain formally committed to this agenda of democratic innovation, and their own consultative experiments, despite a number of significant flaws, reveal an appetite for engagement and renewal. The search

in The search for democratic renewal
Abstract only
Mussolini’s policemen and the transition to the Republic
Jonathan Dunnage

7 Conclusion: Mussolini’s policemen and the transition to the Republic Mussolini’s policemen Conclusion The evolution of post-war police culture The inhibiting effects of twenty years of dictatorship on processes of democratic renewal in post-war Italy are clearly visible in the police. They were highly suspicious of the new era of freedom which the defeat of fascism hailed and of the risks to public order which it posed. Such suspicions were reinforced by their experiences of the War of Liberation which had been fought against them and by the re-emergence of

in Mussolini’s policemen
Experimenting with ways to change citizen behaviour

How can governments persuade their citizens to act in socially beneficial ways? This ground-breaking book builds on the idea of 'light touch interventions' or 'nudges' proposed in Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein's highly influential Nudge (2008). While recognizing the power of this approach, the book argues that an alternative also needs to be considered: a 'think' strategy, which calls on citizens to decide their own priorities as part of a process of civic and democratic renewal. As well as setting out these divergent approaches in theory, the book provides evidence from a number of experiments to show how using 'nudge' or 'think' techniques works in practice. This second edition includes a substantial prologue by Cass Sunstein and an epilogue by Peter John, reflecting on recent developments in nudge theory and practice and introducing his radical new version of nudge, 'nudge plus'.

Rob Manwaring

6 National conversations Today we are throwing open the window on our democracy, to let a little fresh air in … What we are looking for from this summit are new ideas for our nation’s future … And if we succeed, a new way of governing our nation. Kevin Rudd, 2008b As we have seen, a feature of the New Social Democracy is a ­commitment to democratic renewal, and seeking to find new ways of involving c­ itizens in policy-making processes, and in both Britain and Australia there have been a number of initiatives that have attempted to achieve this – through

in The search for democratic renewal
Rob Manwaring

extending democracy, relates to the degree to which democratic control is substantive rather than symbolic. All three criteria are linked and, as Dryzek notes, while movement on any might indicate a further deepening of democracy, this is not always the case. He argues that the ‘experience of referenda 32 The search for democratic renewal in a number of US states is sobering’: they did not lead to a substantive revival of democratic practice (1996, p. 7). The underpinning issue is that democracy itself is contested, open-ended and elusive – what has been called the

in The search for democratic renewal