Tom Griffin (London, OK): Introducing his book Britain since 1918 last month, David Marquand suggested that Britain may be ripe for an outbreak of democratic republicanism. At the time, his colleague Kenneth Morgan put in a word for what is, in Marquand's scheme, the rival left-wing tradition of democratic centralism.
Where democratic republicans emphasise citizenship and participation, democratic centralists focus on delivery. They have traditionally seen the state as an instrument which can be taken over and turned to their social goals without worrying too much about how it works.
The credit crunch has vindicated Morgan's warning that there are some things only the state can do, and there are some tentative signs that it is the democratic centralist tradition which is being reinvigorated as a result.
The BBC's Brian Taylor provides one example from Scottish politics:
Labour MSPs in particular are beginning, intuitively, to revisit the assertion that Scotland is too wee and poor to be independent.
They don't quite put it that way. Rather, they stress the advantages of the UK financial rescue package.
However, it may add up to much the same pitch to the voters.
In the short, even the medium, term, it may well be effective. Keep tight hold of nurse - and that sort of thing. Again, it will be expressed rather differently. The argument will be that the Union guarantee has worked.
Meanwhile a grim article in the Observer points to the pressures threatening the strong civil society that democratic republicans value:
With charitable donations falling, even the voluntary sector is also cutting jobs. Oxfam needs to shave its budget by up to 15 per cent because of falling income, while the National Council of Voluntary Organisations expects some smaller charities to go under.
The same story points to a re-ordering of priorities within the Government:
Discussions have already begun over the Queen's Speech, ditching planned legislation that does not address bread-and-butter issues. Ironically, one of the flagship bills was intended to be James Purnell's welfare reforms, bringing in private sector firms to find work for the jobless, details of which will be published in December.
From a democratic republican point of view the danger is that Gordon Brown's constitutional reform agenda will fall victim to this shift. Yet as the state assumes a greater role, the importance of democratic control over it will only increase.