The Last Vote: The threats to Western democracy
Speaker(s): Philip Coggan
Chair: Professor Paul Kelly
Recorded on 9 September 2013 in Old Theatre, Old Building.
In The Last Vote, Philip Coggan shows how democracy today faces threats that we ignore at our own risk. Amid the turmoil of the financial crisis, high debt levels, and an ever-growing gap between the richest and the rest, it is easy to forget that the ultimate victim could be our democracy itself. Tracing democracy's history and development, from the classical world through the revolution of the Enlightenment and on to today, Coggan revisits the assumptions on which it is founded. What exactly is democracy? Why should we value it? What are its flaws? And could we do any better? The Last Vote is a wake-up call, and an illuminating defence of a system, which, in Churchill's words, is the worst possible form of government, except for all the others. He proposes ideas for change and improvement to the system itself so the next vote we cast will not be the last.
Philip Coggan was a Financial Times journalist for over twenty years, and is now the Buttonwood columnist for the Economist. In 2009 he was named Senior Financial Journalist in the Harold Wincott awards and was voted Best Communicator at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards. He is the author of The Money Machine, and Paper Promises, winner of the Spears Business Book of the Year Award and longlisted for the Financial Times Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.