The Case For Doing Nothing



From the biggest of issues to the most trivial, there are huge pressures on governments to act, to initiate and to modernise. But might it sometimes be better for politicians to simply 'do nothing'?

In an age of 24 hour news and social media, politicians need to be seen to be 'doing something'. Newly elected governments want to fulfill pledges, while older administrations have to prove they haven't run out of ideas. There is competition between ministers for parliamentary time and financial resources, which fuels political action. The result is permanent change, increasing complexity in law, projects which never conclude and government involvement in areas which shouldn't concern them.

Professor Stephen Barber asks whether the time has come to celebrate politicians who choose, deliberately, to do nothing.

Contributors include: Baroness Tessa Jowell, Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Sir Richard Mottram, Peter Lilley MP, Trevor Kavanagh and Lord Francis Maude.

Producer: Adam Bowen.

Stephen Barber calls on politicians to resist the urge to act and instead do nothing.