Chapter 6: Citizenship After the Death of the Public Sphere
Stefan Skrimshire INTRODUCTION: THE GREAT PERSUADER AND THE VULGAR MASSES A Prince should take great care, therefore, that nothing issues from his mouth which is not imbued with the ﬁve aforementioned qualities. To see him and hear him, he should seem all-merciful, all-trustworthy, all-integrity, all-humanity, allreligion. Nothing is more important to seem to have than this last quality. Generally speaking, men judge more by the eyes than by the hands, because everybody can see, but only a few can feel. Everyone sees what you seem, few feel what you are like . . . for the common people are always impressed by how things seem and by the way things turn out, and in the world there is nothing but common people. When the many are comfortably settled, the few will ﬁnd no way in. (Machiavelli, 1995, p. 98 used by Edwards, 2003b)1 The day after Tony Blair delivered his impassioned speech to parliament calling for MPs to endorse an Anglo-American war on Iraq in March 2003, Britain’s newspapers were unanimous in describing the speech as a deﬁning moment in restoring the credibility and integrity of the prime minister and democracy. The Daily Mirror, for example, despite being in full swing of its anti-war ‘phase’, wrote: [W]e do not question [Blair’s] belief in the rightness of what he is doing. It is one thing to have principles others disagree with, another altogether to have no principles . . . Mr Blair and Robin Cook have helped to restore the integrity of parliament at...
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