Unsurprisingly their answer was no he wasn’t. However the key point for me in the article is to point out opposition parties love decentralisation, mutualisation, citizen power and all the rest of it, but as soon as they get in they either want to retain the control they’ve just won – or in the case of the current government they want to sell it off to big private corporations.
The relational state is an appealing idea but how would a government that genuinely wants to implement some kind of real devolution of power encourage people to engage with it?
Because for it to work then we need two things to happen.
1. The government makes every effort to involve the maximum number of people in decision making.
2. People need to believe that it is worth their effort engaging in decison making.
Also lets be honest about it. Democracy or power or whatever you want to call it will be meaningless without economic democracy.
And that means workers gaining a lot more freedom to organise around work related issues. It means stronger protection for unions and their members, it means workers participation at board level, or the formation of works councils which have genuine power.
I would suggest it also means specific legislation to support the formation of credit unions and worker and consumer coops.
Lastly the cooperative and mutual movement works best in a society with a robust state sector, the NHS, welfare, and locally controlled and accountable services via reinvigorated and dynamic local councils.