I sat down with author and broadcaster Yasmin Khan, where she asked me multiple questions about my career and life in politics.
Yasmin asked me if I think politics is broken, and if I do, how can we fix it? This is what I told her:
Politics isn’t broken. Capitalism is. That’s what is affecting all our politics, as it has throughout history and in a particularly adverse way at present.
The way through that is to renew democracy. The last 50 years has seen our democracy, which was never perfect to begin with, eroded and undermined. This means that today our political institutions are no longer fit for purpose — partly because things have changed and they haven’t evolved with the times — but also because they’ve undermined themselves as well.
What I would like to see is more democratic engagement and by that I mean people at a grassroots level having a real say over the things that affect their lives. I’m talking about workplace democracy, community democracy, educational democracy. Democracy in all its forms. When most politicians talk about democracy, they talk about putting a cross in a box every five years and then handing over power to the political class and technocrats to run society. And that, ultimately, is part of what’s going wrong with the political system. It’s currently about the shifting of musical chairs between a few small groups of people who get captured by various feted powerful interests. Changing the voting system to introduce proportional representation would be a good place to start. Essentially we need to give more power to the people.