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The future for democracy: politics in a spectator society - Jack Straw MP speaks at LSE

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The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, leader of the House of Commons, gave a public lecture at LSE on Wednesday 28June. He spoke on The Future for Democracy: politics in a spectator society at the event that was jointly organised by LSE and the Fabian Society.

Jack Straw was appointed leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal in May 2006. Previously, he was secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, serving in that post from June 2001 until May 2006.

He began the lecture by stating that membership of political parties has halved since 1980, while spending by political parties has almost trebled in the same period; that turnouts, at 84 per cent in 1950 now hover at around the 60 per cent level; and that 2001 saw the lowest turnout since 1918, 2005 the second lowest.

'Trust in politicians of all parties, never particularly high, has rarely been lower - despite the fact that Parliament has become more, not less, effective in one of its principal tasks, of holding the executive to account', said Mr Straw. '...In this lecture, I want to set out what I think has happened; offer some reasons why; and then some proposals for the way forward.'

Click here to download a transcript of The Future for Democracy: politics in a spectator society| (PDF)

Press cuttings

The Press & Journal
Political spending  (28 June 06)
Jack Straw delivered a lecture to the Fabian Society at the London School of Economics, in which he is calling for limits to be imposed on the spending by all parties.

The Times
Parliament makes progress in holding ministers to account (28 June 06)
This article highlighting the success of Parliament in holding the Government to account and refers to yesterday's lecture given by Jack Straw at LSE. 

BBC News Website
Straw urges party spending limits (28 June 06)
Commons Leader Jack Straw will warn of the dangers of politics becoming a "spectator" sport, as he calls for limits on spending by all parties. Mr Straw, who lost his job as foreign secretary in last month's Cabinet reshuffle, is set to outline his concerns about the future of party politics in a Fabian Society lecture at the London School of Economics.

The Guardian
Straw to call for spending limits (28 June 06) 

posted 29 June 2006