EDITOR'S LETTERMerryn Somerset Webb
Time for a new revolution?
There are only 97 days until the Scottish independence referendum. You might not care much, but I think you will still find my interview with Angus Tulloch on the matter worth reading. The points he touches on to make his case go far beyond Scotland’s borders.
He mentions rising demands from voters for local accountability and responsibility – that’s something people are calling for all over Europe. But he also mentions that it is time to step away from our current political systems before we are crushed beneath the weight of our bloated welfare states. That’s something he reckons will be a lot easier to do in a small state than in a larger one.
It is a theme picked up in The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State, a new book from John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. The authors argue that the Western state has been through “three and a half great revolutions” in modern times.
The first came in the 17th century as Europe’s princes created centralised states that turned into trading empires. The second began with the French and American revolutions, and replaced “regal patronage systems with more meritocratic and accountable government”.
Next came “the invention of the modern welfare state”, which, in the West at least, has ruled unchallenged since World War II, bar the half-revolution of the Thatcher and Reagan attempts to limit its growth.
The result of all this revolution?…
• Read the full editor’s letter here: Time for a new revolution?