Dave Richards

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    ‘Things were better in the past’: Brexit and the Westminster fallacy of democratic nostalgia

‘Things were better in the past’: Brexit and the Westminster fallacy of democratic nostalgia

Dave Richards and Martin Smith examine why Brexiteers want to ‘take back control’ and how this desire is not only paradoxical but part of a ‘democratic nostalgia’ which could further exacerbate political disengagement.

Explanations of Britain’s vote to Leave the EU have tended to focus on how it is a response to, and a potential resolution for, a series […]

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    ‘Back to the Future?’ Brexit, elitism, and the British Political Tradition

‘Back to the Future?’ Brexit, elitism, and the British Political Tradition

Following the referendum, British politics is about to enter into a process of de-Europeanisation. Danny Fitzpatrick and Dave Richards warn that Brexit – an outcome unanticipated and perhaps even unwanted by many on the Leave campaign – should not be used as a justification for preserving the elitism that has characterised the British Political Tradition.

With a record national turnout […]

The strange resurrection of the British Political Tradition

There is an urgent need to move beyond a nineteenth century set of ideas about democracy and governance – the so-called British Political Tradition – that should by now have long been consigned to history, write Dave Richards and Martin Smith. The Conservatives, however, may use their slim majority and narrow electoral base to veto any real changes. 

The 2015 general […]

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    How to address the pathologies of the British political tradition in an age of disengagement and distrust

How to address the pathologies of the British political tradition in an age of disengagement and distrust

There is undoubtedly a major issue of political disengagement between voters and Westminster’s system of government. However, the Westminster political class appears to regard the solution to the current maladies as finding ways to reinforce the existing system, rather than embracing the need to re-think the current nature of politics. It is clear that many of the recommendations offered by […]

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    The programme of post-referendum constitutional reform must not be by the elites for the elites

The programme of post-referendum constitutional reform must not be by the elites for the elites

The approach to UK constitutional reform, in response to what has in part been a bottom-up, sizeable anti-Westminster outpouring in the Scottish referendum, is one that is wholly top-down, argue Martin Smith, Sandra Léon and David Richards. The two largest Westminster parties are attempting to shape constitutional reform to suit their own interest, they write, and that constitutional reform without engagement will further alienate the electorate and continue constitutional instability.
The constitutional debate unleashed by the Scottish independence referendum has revealed many of the contradictions and problems of the British political […]

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    Institutions and the banality of evil: Learning from Rotherham and Savile

Institutions and the banality of evil: Learning from Rotherham and Savile

The similarities between the Rotherham child abuse scandal and the abuses of Jimmy Savile are striking, argue Dave Richards and Martin Smith. Sustained abuse was allowed to continue with the knowledge of people in key positions of authority, showing that closed institutions can normalise appalling, abusive behaviour. They argue that we need to move towards a new tradition of openness and real accountable in […]

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    Only greater openness and transparency can defeat the UK’s institutional malaise

Only greater openness and transparency can defeat the UK’s institutional malaise

A new book edited by Dave Richards, Martin Smith and Colin Hay situates the rise of UKIP within the context of institutional malaise. A growing distrust of the major institutions in the UK are linked to wider political and social disengagement. For a long period, citizens have not been privy to the actions and decisions of institutions and the result has been the perpetuation […]

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    ‘Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word’: The Politics of the Apology

‘Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word’: The Politics of the Apology

It is a recurrent theme that bubbles away under the day-to-day cut and thrust of politics: when should political actors apologise; how frequently should they apologise without corroding all political capital; and what degree of contrition should be expressed. It is hard to imagine how a space to do politics with a greater honesty and openness can be achieved. […]