How times change, no? In 1962 the world had yet to be introduced to the internet, solar panels or Justin Bieber. Over 90% of houses in Britain didn't even have running water. So it was interesting to browse Bernard Crick's famous and hugely influential book In Defence of Politics prior to its re-publication this September, and note all the ways in which the political landscape today is completely, totally, utterly different to how it was almost fifty years ago.

Here are some extracts to remind me you just how different things are these days:

Above all else, however, the conservative wants to appear as the well-bred product of a landed aristocracy. Property is then thought of as outside politics, something which should never be touched by political enactments. He covers himself with a mystique of property; property, meaning primarily landed property, gives a man the experience and responsibility of the care of tenants – it can almost become 'the cure of souls'. And property alone allows a man that leisure which is the condition for knowlege and independence.


If there is a conservative who espects too little, there is a liberal who expects too much. He wishes to enjoy all the fruits of politics without paying the price or noticing the pain. He likes to honour the fruit but not the tree; he wishes to pluck each fruit – liberty,

representative government, honesty in government, economic prosperity, and free or general education, etc. – and then preserve them from further contact with politics. He may treat certain things as natural rights – thus by definition outside politics – or he may think that politics is simply the acts of political parties and politicians – thus narrowing the scope of politics drastically and unrealistically.

And even:

'One cannot make men good,' said Walter Bagehot, 'by Act of Parliament.' No state has the capacity to ensure that men are happy; but all states have the capacity to ensure that men are unhappy. The attempt to politicize everything is the destruction of politics. When everything is seen as relevant to politics, then politics has in turn become totalitarian.

Crick goes on:

The totalitarian may try to turn all art to propaganda, but he cannot then guarantee that there will be art as distinct from propaganda – indeed by his concern to destroy or enslave the abstract speculation of the philosopher or the creativity of the artist, activities apparently quite irrelevant to mere political power, he demonstrates that these irrelevancies are necessary to free life and free society.

See? Politics really is a completely different animal these days. Phew.

Whatever else you do, please - VOTE TOMORROW.

Sam the Copywriter

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Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. If AV wins tomorrow does it mean that we can vote for alternative politicians?

  2. “Over 90% of homes in 1962 didn’t have running water”? Is this a joke? According to Ofwat, “piped water was available to the vast majority of the population” by the late 18th century, and “by the early 20th century most people had piped water supplies and sanitation” (ie sewage connections). So how could this figure drop to below 10% by 1962?
    Does this suggestion come from Crick’s book, or from another source?
    Ofwat link:

  3. I’d say it was indeed a joke.

  4. Hi to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting more from this web page.

  5. Though MS Metro tries to become designer, also Nokia’s advertisements also looks so designeronly most inventive and young persons would appreciate it, some typical people today almost certainly will do but most will be leaning towards safer-looking alternatives.

  6. It’s hard to find experienced people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


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