I agree with Ken Newton. As Chapter 10 demonstrates, my starting point for renewing politics is about making good representative politics. But equally it is important to consider how citizens might be enabled to take on better their role as political amateurs. This chapter is not about to provide moral exhortations about the need for us all to improve our behaviour and get active, or offer romantic visions of how communities can learn to live with one another in harmony. My understanding of how to create a new civic arena is more pragmatic and practical in its focus. There are strong empirical grounds for hope that citizens can extend their political citizenship but equally it is difficult to ignore the cautioning observations of Ken Newton that the task of engaging citizens in politics on a sustained basis is a path strewn with many obstacles. My response is again somewhat pragmatic. The best approach is to throw the kitchen sink at the problem. There are lots options to consider – they all have some strengths and weaknesses – and they all should be on the reformers’ agenda.
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