Politicians must work collaboratively in order to secure progress on issues like social care and to restore trust between citizens and the institutions that serve them, a think tank has urged.
A report by Demos makes the case for a more deliberative politics, where politicians spend more time talking about those issues that unite us, and not those that divide us.
“If parties continue to be unable to secure a workable majority in the House of Commons, they will need to find ways to work more collaboratively with other parties in order to secure progress,” the report states.
“Whether it is encouraging pension saving, social care, NHS funding, housing reform, or climate change, long-term policy making on a cross-party basis will be far more effective than the short term cycle of decision-making that fits with our current electoral cycle. Where ministers change role every year, long term consensus is far more important than individual brilliance when it comes to effective delivery.”
Demos said the new government should establish a cross-party committee to agree the contents of a White Paper setting out plans for government policy over the next 10 to 20 years.
It argues that as the 2019 General Election takes place, there seems to be an “added level of toxicity” to the debate, and a new “sense of recklessness” about the relationships between political campaigns and the facts.
“On the brink of this, our fourth nation-wide vote in five years, a fragile democracy has become a nation in crisis,” the report says.
“If we are to have a hope of restoring trust between citizens and the institutions which should serve them, and so renew our democracy’s defences against populism, we need a new politics of consensus not division.”
Boris Johnson has previously called for cross-party agreement to overhaul the social care system, but the founder and data director of LaingBuisson, William Laing has said the prospect of this is “highly unlikely” as each party takes its own view on how social care should be funded.