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Immature democrats

Politics has been unable to withstand the assault of naive individualism

By Gerry Stoker   January 2006

David Cameron, like Tony Blair before him, may briefly revive his own party and even British party politics. But he will not reverse the decline in political participation, whether measured through party membership or voter turnout (in the 2005 election, just over a third of 18 to 24 year olds voted). This decline is usually seen as an expression of discontent with the political process, and gloomy think tank reports routinely talk about an emerging crisis of democracy in Britain—and much of the rich world.

Discontent expresses itself in two main forms: disengagement from politics and frustrated activism. There are…

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