A few interesting points...
Certainly, I can take good care of my pet goldfish but in the overall cause of animal welfare, the question of whether or not I can influence my local council's meat purchasing policies is far more important. A lifetime of responsible goldfish tending will not begin to equal the influence of the local council. Altering my behaviour may be morally correct, virtuous and even help set a good example to others (which in turn may affect others, which in turn...) but it has major limitations.I agree. What is interesting is how little this seems to have impacted on environmental politics. We don't seem to recognise somehow the near irrelevance of whether a single person flies, drives a tank, holds weekly bonfires or whatever it is. Instead there is a tendency to condemn someone who advocates the right policies if they don't meet a certain checklist of largely symbolic personal sacrifices.
the petitions on the 10 Downing Street website are - currently - an unfortunately good example of drive-by democracy ... the system essentially allows only just this very brief and superficial engagement with the issue.Not to mention that the petitions themselves are mostly banal, bonkers or both. I sign a few myself from time to time, although I am not sure why. Pack contrasts this with the suggestion that councils might operate web forums to achieve better consultation and to make it easier for like minded people to find each other and form community groups. While I can only begin to imagine the pitfalls that might thwart such an initiative, the principle is breathtaking, exploding the quantity of public conversation, and the near invisibility of local politics.
While I don't appreciate everything Pack says; his dismissal of the importance of discussing the relative merits of the Meek and ERS forms of STV is particularly hurtful, I can only endorse this chapter of the book.