Towards a more enlightened and active democracy..?

I suspect and indeed would hope that NILGA’s new local government awards are inspired by our own critically successful Slugger Awards. They already have 90 nominees for the eight awards on offer. Anything that deepens the quality and committment of representative democracy has to be a good thing. In continuing our spotlight on Councillors we are trying to do the one thing that’s usually relegated to last place in Irish politics north and south: the continuing engagement between citizens and their electorate between elections. Chris Dillow mines the John Sergeant incident for at least one serious piece of insight into that area from Alexis de Tocqueville:

A man of the people, when asked to share the task of governing society, acquires a certain self-esteem…He may not be more virtuous or happier than his forebears, but he is more enlightened and active… Democracy does nor provide a people with the most skilful of governments, but it does that which the most skilful government often cannot do; it spreads throughout the body social a restless activity, superabundant force, and energy never found elsewhere, which, however little favoured by circumstance, can do wonders. Those are its true advantages.

It’s certainly not what Slugger set out to do, but if we help spread “throughout the body social a restless activity, superabundant force, and energy never found elsewhere, which, however little favoured by circumstance, can do wonders” that would fine with me…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty