A user's guide to democracy
A fascinating and accessible guide to democracy in the UK: what it means, how it works and why we need to protect it
Politicians have a notoriously bad reputation: one recent survey found people trust them less than used-car salesmen. Voter turn-out in most elections is shockingly low; and episodes like the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009 simply serve to confirm the opinion of many that ‘they’re all as bad as each other’. But deep down, most of us also know we are incredibly lucky to live in a democracy, with freedoms that billions of people across the planet would give anything to enjoy.
So we are lucky – but still, we don’t like our system and we don’t trust our politicians. In the face of growing global unrest, from the Occupy movement and the 2011 summer riots to the Arab Spring, what is the answer?
Part of the cure must be to better understand the disease: to understand how our democracy works, with all its strengths and weaknesses, achievements and archaisms, complexities and flaws.
In Power to the People Dan Jellinek provides a unique and accessible guide to democracy in the UK, investigating how our government and our communities function, and the role that we, the general public, need to play to keep the wheels turning.
If you want to know what it really means to be British, how your small actions can bring about big changes, and how you can improve your life and the lives of others then this book is a must-read. Wake up, stand up and be counted; the power is in your hands.
“An excellent introduction.”
Tam Dalyell, Father of the House, 2001-2005
“The more we know how to change things, the more we know how to make things better. And this book is an important tool in the toolbox.”
Caroline Lucas MP
“A ground-up account of the democratic process in the UK... identifies some of the problems with the dream of digital democracy, arguing that the power is still ours”
Philip Maughan, New Statesman - NS Recommends
“This book is well-informed and clearly written - read it for an accurate and empowering understanding of how our democracy works, or could work.”
Professor Gerry Stoker, Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Globalization and Governance, University of Southampton
“Highly readable and fascinating... an enjoyable narrative... These and many more revelations transform what sounds like an unpromising subject into an unexpected page-turner. Jellinek deserves huge credit for this.”
Chris Moncrieff, Northern Echo
“Not a book for political nerds, although even they may find some new nuggets of information within. Instead he is writing for members of the general public. This a book that I would warmly recommend.”
Mary Reid, Liberal Democrat Voice
“**** Amid the general climate of cynicism about party politics, he sees an appetite for active citizenship, empowered by the internet as well as the ballot box.”
The Law Society Gazette
“A refreshing take on the UK political system and our role in shaping it.”
The Information Daily