The Vitality of Democracy

Gisela Stuart

‘A bemusing, short read.’
House Magazine


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, autocracy and mob rule, are catastrophic. 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 was the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston from 1997 to 2017 and a minister in Tony Blair’s government. She chaired Vote Leave in the 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union. In 2020 she joined the House of Lords as a crossbench peer, and in 2022 she was appointed as the First Civil Service Commissioner.

Follow Gisela on Twitter @GiselaStuart

Additional information




Published Date