British and Irish Politics and Policy

How benefit sanctions push single parents further from work

Benefit sanctions encourage job-seeking behaviour, successive governments have claimed. Yet in the case of single parents, sanctions actually move parents further from work, write Sumi Rabindrakumar and Laura Dewar. They draw on Gingerbread’s research to show how parents are often penalised despite seeking work, caught out by unrealistic expectations from jobcentres and poor administration.

The government argues that benefit sanctions […]

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    What determines how much an MP spends on communicating with their constituents?

What determines how much an MP spends on communicating with their constituents?

Why do some MPs invest more in constituency communication than others? Using data from the Communications Allowance between 2007 and 2010, Katrin Auel and Resul Umit identify key incentives that explain this puzzle.

Everyone agrees that parliamentarians should keep in touch with the people they represent: constituents demand more of their representatives’ attention, while parties encourage their members to reach […]

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    ‘Rivers of Blood’ fifty years on: Enoch Powell’s rhetoric of blame and exclusion

‘Rivers of Blood’ fifty years on: Enoch Powell’s rhetoric of blame and exclusion

It is five decades since Enoch Powell told a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham that soon “the black man will have the whip hand over the white man”. Judi Atkins analyses the rhetoric of that speech and concludes that, although Powell’s notorious prediction of a race war has not materialised, his rhetoric of division and blame still forms part […]

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    How should the UK respond to the attacks in Syria? For a weakened PM, there are no easy options

How should the UK respond to the attacks in Syria? For a weakened PM, there are no easy options

Following the suspected chemical attacks in Syria, the question of whether Britain should join any missile strike action in the region alongside the US and France has been raised. Daniel Kenealy considers whether parliament would support such action if asked, and how Theresa May could avoid domestic political fallout if the matter is not put to a vote after […]

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    Understanding the UK’s soft power: more than Shakespeare and the Royal Family

Understanding the UK’s soft power: more than Shakespeare and the Royal Family

Do we understand enough about what soft power is? Gary Rawnsley explains that although the focus has so far been on cultural icons and stories, there is another important aspect to soft power: the actions of the British government. These are seen as a reflection of the values the UK upholds, and so influence opinions overseas. He argues that […]

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    Don’t call me a customer, treat me like a human: rethinking relationships in public services

Don’t call me a customer, treat me like a human: rethinking relationships in public services

The pressures of competition, together with the growth in the use of performance data, keep service providers on their toes: if they want to keep customers and their money, they need to keep them happy. But this is not good news in a public services context, writes Catherine Needham and outlines four key problems created by the customer language.

Once […]

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    Public attitudes to Brexit: the referendum was more a vote for re-regulation than for de-regulation

Public attitudes to Brexit: the referendum was more a vote for re-regulation than for de-regulation

Drawing on new polling of attitudes to Brexit, Marley Morris explores the public’s preference for different trade scenarios when faced with a number of difficult trade-offs. He concludes that, if the government wants public support for its negotiating position, it must negotiate a deal that keeps the European model close – and rejects the deregulation agenda.

The strange irony of […]

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    Fraud unravels everything: Brexit is voidable and Article 50 can be revoked

Fraud unravels everything: Brexit is voidable and Article 50 can be revoked

The allegations of overspending and corruption surrounding Vote Leave’s campaign are a good enough reason to declare the 2016 referendum void, argues Ewan McGaughey and explains the relevant law. He concludes that the greater a vote’s impact, the greater must be its integrity; but there is a bigger question to consider: whether we want to redo the referendum, until […]