A blog by Emma Crewe about how democracy depends on scrutiny, both forensic investigation but also detached truth-telling about the bigger picture of politics. Within parliaments, government is scrutinised by the opposition parties, select committees, and civil society, while all politicians are watched and reported on by a free media. In practice, scrutiny is weak in shallow democracies. Less noticeably, scholars have a democratic role to play in uncovering what is going on in parliaments and might contribute to a deepening of democracy. The ones with a particular capacity to combine the close-up with distant scrutiny are ethnographers.