Alex Massie

Swine Flu and Decentralisation

Text settings

Actually, Tuesdays are now the best day for the NYT's op-ed page since in addition to Ross there's David Brooks. His column today is a good one, making the point that the response to the swine flu outbreak offers a fresh example of the debate Brooks frames as:

Do we build centralized global institutions that are strong enough to respond to transnational threats? Or do we rely on diverse and decentralized communities and nation-states?

The world is a big and complicated place and, as Brooks suggests, the divide between the Centralisers and the Diffusers is one of the key questions of the moment. The Tories talk a very good game on this, but is their eart really in it? The Idea of a Post-Bureacratic Age is very appealling, but it's not clear the conservatives fully appreciate how radical a notion that could be, nor how much they would have to give up themselves (and prise from the cold, dead hands of civil servants) if they were to achieve what this notion promises they could. But it's  start...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articlePoliticsnewspaperstories