The ‘Too Difficult Box’: Its Temptations and How to Avoid Them


  • This article is based on a lecture delivered by the author at the University of East Anglia on 24 February 2011.


Within our democratic political system too many of the pressing and serious political, economic and social challenges of our times are delayed or put off, deposited in the ‘Too Difficult Box’. This happens for a variety of reasons which include failure correctly to identify the best solution, failure to understand obstructions in implementing the proposed solution, difficulties in placating or overcoming a range of vested interests, glitches in circumnavigating a range of legal constraints, lack of appreciation of the international dimension of the issue, succumbing to the vicissitudes of the political process and evaporation of the necessary political creativity and energy. It is a responsibility of democratic politics to find ways of dealing with these problems, through more collaborative or consensual politics if necessary. Otherwise citizens will lose confidence in the ability of democracy to solve the problems which concern them.