The Responsibilities of Democracy

John Major and Nick Clegg 

‘It is not too late to reverse the seemingly headlong rush to the populist bottom – let this excellent pamphlet be one of the main reasons for furthering that necessary reversal and inspiring a democratic renewal.’
Paul Cartledge, University of Cambridge


Democracy depends on consent. That means politicians have to argue their causes and win consensus. But democracy has its flaws, not least in the lack of efficiency in the decision-making process.

In this book, two leading figures of the British political establishment share their thoughts on where democracy is heading and how it can survive in the 21st century. John Major outlines the qualities on which a healthy democracy depends, as he deplores the current trends in political exchange. Nick Clegg writes of the ways in which political language has always involved trading insults, and he argues that compromise is not betrayal but the very substance of our politics and our democracy.

Based on contributions they made to the Westminster Abbey Institute’s democracy series, this authoritative analysis of the state of democracy in the UK is a clarion call to the electorate and politicians to nurture and protect the values on which that democracy depends.

JOHN MAJOR was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990 to 1997.

NICK CLEGG was Leader of the Liberal Democrats for eight years from 2007 and Deputy Prime Minister from 2010 to 2015. He is currently Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook.

Find Nick on Twitter @nick_clegg

CLAIRE FOSTER-GILBET is the founder director of the Westminster Abbey Institute. A current and former member of numerous ethic committees, Dr Foster-Gilbert has played an instrumental role in the medical research ethics field, and has led efforts to shift the Church’s thinking on environmental issues.

Published with Westminster Abbey Institute

Additional information



Published Date