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Ancient and modern

Is government wise to follow the will of the people?

20 January 2024

9:00 AM

20 January 2024

9:00 AM

Given the failure of all political parties to deal with the Post Office’s wrongful conviction of so many postmasters, ITV’s re-enaction of the story has been a triumph for democracy (Greek demo-kratia ‘people-power’) in rousing the people to force parliament to act. But will justice be done by the popular demand that parliament overrides past legal process by mass exoneration?

Classical Athens (5th-4th century bc) saw the invention of the world’s first and last democracy, in which all citizens (defined as registered Athenian males over 18) met almost weekly to take every decision in the sovereign Assembly about how their city...

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