At the end of a recent speech to the Centre for Social Justice, John Cruddas MP made a rightful appeal for extended local democracy, says political theologian Graeme Smith. But he got there by caricaturing John Stuart Mill, mystifying Aristotle and elevating a confused communitarianism over the proper role of a democratic state in embedding social justice. This warmed-over Blue Labourism needs some serious questioning in terms of its historical understanding and political roots, he suggests.
You once described yourself as “the quiet man”. It didn't quite work for you at the time, which is a pity, because quietness implies a capacity for reflection, listening and, in the words of our Quaker 'Advices and Queries', for finding space to “consider it possible you may be mistaken”. These are not qualities which are much in evidence among our noisier politicians.