My book review of 'Why Politics Fails' by Ben Ansell

by Ben Ansell
Why Politics Fails
by Ben Ansell

We may be feeling particularly disillusioned with politics and politicians at present, but Oxford professor Ben Ansell argues that in fact we're the problem - our collective goals result in five political 'traps'.

The blurb succinctly sums these up: "Democracy: we all want a say in how we're governed, but it's impossible to have any true 'will of the people'. Equality: we want to be treated equally, but equal rights and equal outcomes undermine each other. Solidarity: we want a safety net when times are tough, but often we care about solidarity only when we need it ourselves. Security: we want protecting from harm, but not if it undermines our freedoms. Prosperity: we want to be richer tomorrow, but what makes us richer in the short run makes us poorer over the long haul."

It is very readable and he draws on examples from Ancient Greek through to Brexit. It's a complicated and complex issue but I am persevering in the hope of reaching and understanding his ultimate claim that we can escape the political traps of our imperfect world. Join me at Felixstowe in June and we'll be able to quiz Ben further!

Date of this review: May 2023
Book publication date: 30th March 2023