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Politics: Snapshot

We live in the most opinionated age mankind has ever known. Is the result fair? Or just noisy? How does government manage when everyone wants their share of the action – and shouts and agitates for it? (You may enjoy our archive site,

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All politics is about pressure, in the sense that politicians are greedy for for votes and fear unpopularity. Indeed, democratic politics is the business of reconciling all the competing pressures in society.

By “pressure politics” we mean something a little more specialised. We mean the business of organising pressure and applying it to the political process. In effect, we mean the busisness of campaigning. But that doesn’t just mean ”protest”, at least not as conventionally understood. For instance, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) campaigns on behalf of commercial and industrial interests.

We look at pressure politics with some scepticism. Obviously, campaigning is an important basic freedom.  But too often, the media gives protest an easy ride, not least because campaigners routinely present themselves as the little guy taking a pop against power in the form of governments or corporations.

Almost inevitably, campaigns and protests present their case as strongly as possible. Very often they do so with great emotional force. Too often, they present themselves as the only parties who “care”. They are often cavalier with the facts.

What’s more, it is the business of government to stand up to protest and campaigns. The state has the job of reminding people that most campaigns and protests favour this or that group in society, but the state has an obligation to the whole public good.   

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