Not that you would know it if you follow the British media but there has been a political crisis in Belgium for almost exactly six months. There is no Belgian government, parties from the French and Flemish regions need to form a coalition but they cannot form an agreement. Stalemate is now the status quo! I was in Belgium on Friday, comments among academics there indicate that there is are questions being asked about why a government is needed at all when the country seems to be running the same as ever.
The problem is that, theoretically, there is no-one in Belgium who is working on behalf of the Belgian people. While the bureaucracy may do what they feel to be best, they have no reason whatsoever to follow public opinion; this does not mean the civil service will not manage the country effectively just that there is the danger that they will do what they think best.
While it may be the case that no-one desires a government driven by opinion polls or focus groups, it may also be the case that we would prefer a government that does worry about what the people think to one that does not have to listen. It would be incredible to imagine not having a government in Britain, there is maybe a belief that everything would stop but it would not, there may be no change at all as many believe governments rarely ever do what the public want. But just taking the inheritance tax as one issue, governments and opposition parties do now and again listen, hence it does matter that we do have a government that represents the people.