Current Affairs

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    The Tax Credits dispute illustrates both the need for Lords reform, and why it is unlikely to happen any time soon

The Tax Credits dispute illustrates both the need for Lords reform, and why it is unlikely to happen any time soon

The Government is currently in conflict with the House of Lords over reform of Tax Credits, with at one point the possibility of a Lords ‘shutdown’ being inflicted by the Government. Stephen Barber argues that the conflict shows precisely why the Lords needs reform, but also shows why it is unlikely to happen any time soon.

 

The policy might be […]

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    The total devolution of income tax to Scotland presents a number of important economic issues

The total devolution of income tax to Scotland presents a number of important economic issues

The Smith Commission report advocates an extensive devolution of fiscal powers to Scotland. But is it optimal that all of the tax devolution is concentrated into one tax, namely income tax? Ronnie MacDonald argues that there are many problems with this devolution arrangement, not least its implications for macroeconomic stability. Allowing the Scottish Government to, say, vary corporation tax by 3-4 per cent alongside significant income tax devolution would be much […]

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    The impact of the mass media on the quality of democracy within a state remains a much overlooked area of study

The impact of the mass media on the quality of democracy within a state remains a much overlooked area of study

Media organisations are generally assumed to play an important role in democracies, but how effective are they in performing this function within specific states? Lisa Müller outlines results from an analysis of 47 countries, based on a framework which rates two separate aspects of media performance: the extent to which they perform a ‘watchdog’ role by providing information, and […]

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    Abolishing the monarchy would remove an obstacle to genuine democracy in Britain

Abolishing the monarchy would remove an obstacle to genuine democracy in Britain

The United Kingdom is a democracy, but nonetheless has an unelected and hereditary Head of State in Queen Elizabeth II. Eventually, she will give way to her son, Prince Charles. Richard Ridyard argues that this state of affairs cannot be justified, and that the continuing presence of a monarch – particularly an influential one – is incompatible with democratic maturity.

The spectacle […]

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    The Chancellor’s 2014 Autumn Statement: Missed targets and missed opportunities

The Chancellor’s 2014 Autumn Statement: Missed targets and missed opportunities

George Osborne’s Autumn Statement was a reminder of the government’s missed targets and missed opportunities, writes John Van Reenen. The Chancellor’s promise to eliminate the structural deficit has failed spectacularly and the UK economy is barely above its pre-crisis level, a major cause of which was the the decision to launch a premature austerity programme in 2010. Crucially, Osborne’s plans fall short in addressing Britain’s chronic problem […]

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    What does the Rochester & Strood by-election mean for British politics?

What does the Rochester & Strood by-election mean for British politics?

UKIP’s victory in the Rochester & Strood by-election gives the party national credibility, writes Paul Whiteley, and their recent increase in membership gives them the ability to effectively target key seats in the constituency campaigns in the general election. Electorally speaking, however, the division on the right is much more significant than the division on the left, even if UKIP is winning discontented […]

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    Britain First: More than the mere sum of the parts left over by the BNP and EDL

Britain First: More than the mere sum of the parts left over by the BNP and EDL

Britain First is a new far-right party that has made waves in its confrontational approach and Islamophobia. Here, Chris Allen profiles the group, writing that while in many ways they are a traditional far-right organisation, they are more than the mere sum of the parts left over by the BNP and EDL.

The recent decision to grant planning permission for a […]

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    Rochester and UKIP: We shouldn’t leap to the conclusion that this by-election is a bellwether for 2015

Rochester and UKIP: We shouldn’t leap to the conclusion that this by-election is a bellwether for 2015

UKIP has won another by-election victory, with Conservative defector Mark Reckless reclaiming his Rochester & Strood seat wearing purple. On the face of it, the constituency didn’t seem all that favourable to UKIP. Eric Kaufmann explains why UKIP has done well in Rochester, writing that low ‘social capital’ seems to characterise UKIP voters and Rochester residents. The constituency was actually a very favourable target for UKIP – we […]