The Vitality of Democracy

by Gisela Stuart

There is no such thing as the perfect society. There are no hard and fast rules on how to make it work for everyone. If we don’t want to have things imposed on us, then government by the people and for the people is the best system on offer. We call it democracy.

Democracy is about making difficult choices and if we don’t appreciate what makes the system work we risk losing it. The alternatives of autocracy and mob rule are catastrophic. Elections are a fight. Acknowledging no one has all the answers, we allow power to change hands. We give the other side a chance to see if they can do a better job.

But audience participation is compulsory; democracy requires the people to take part, to be active citizens; to choose between competing ideas; to join political parties. To stand up for things that are important. Democracy has always been challenged, but this time it feels more serious.

GISELA STUART is a British-German politician and life peer. A Labour MP for twenty years, she now sits as a non-affiliated member of the House of Lords. Stuart was appointed as the First Civil Service Commissioner in March 2022.

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