Party politics and elections

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    Elections rather than public opinion determine the broad direction of government policy

Elections rather than public opinion determine the broad direction of government policy

Does UK public policy respond to changes in public preferences? If so, is this the result of the government adjusting its agenda, or of unpopular governments being voted out and replaced by those more in line with public opinion? New research by John Bartle, Sebastian Dellepiane-Avellaneda, and Anthony McGann finds that voters’ signals broadly work to guide parties to […]

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    The EU Withdrawal Bill raises questions about the role of smaller opposition parties in the legislative process

The EU Withdrawal Bill raises questions about the role of smaller opposition parties in the legislative process

The EU Withdrawal Bill’s return to the Commons saw SNP MPs protest about their voices having been excluded from the debate. Louise Thompson explains how parliamentary procedures can indeed restrict debate for smaller opposition parties, and considers whether something ought to be done about it.

Following the first session of the EU Withdrawal Bill’s return to the Commons, most newspaper […]

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    How to have a serious referendum on Brexit and avoid a rerun of the original

How to have a serious referendum on Brexit and avoid a rerun of the original

A number of things were wrong with the 2016 referendum, including the  disenfranchisement of key stakeholders and the extent of misinformation by both sides. Given that referendums should be informed exercises in democratic decision-making, Bruce Ackerman and Sir Julian Le Grand explain how a referendum on the deal should look like.

We are moving to a world where the decisions […]

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    General election polling goes geographical: the accuracy and value of constituency-level estimates

General election polling goes geographical: the accuracy and value of constituency-level estimates

The 2017 general election saw a largely unremarked geographical extension to opinion polling, with three analysts publishing estimates of which party was likely to win in each of the country’s constituencies. Ron Johnston, Kelvyn Jones, David Manley, Charles Pattie, Todd Hartman, and David Rossiter have analysed their accuracy and considered the implications of that development for the conduct of […]

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    Labour’s manifesto-making process and why it is a source of organisational grief for the party

Labour’s manifesto-making process and why it is a source of organisational grief for the party

Throughout Labour’s history, there has been a lack of consensus over who has a say in manifestos, explains Robin Pettitt. On the one hand are those who favour parliamentary independence when it comes to agreeing on policies, and on the other are those who favour the involvement of grassroots members, rendering the manifesto-making process an ongoing organisational struggle.

Party manifestos […]

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    The many roles of manifestos at the subnational level in British general elections

The many roles of manifestos at the subnational level in British general elections

Alistair Clark and Lynn Bennie assess the roles of national party manifestos across Britain, Scotland, and Wales in UK-wide general elections, and illustrate the multiple functions these documents perform in complex multilevel systems of government.

The devolution of powers to new institutions in Scotland and Wales from 1999 has had consequences for the programmes and manifestos that parties campaign on […]

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    The LibDems’ 2018 performance was underwhelming – but these were not the elections to judge the party on

The LibDems’ 2018 performance was underwhelming – but these were not the elections to judge the party on

Despite media headlines to the contrary, the Liberal Democrats’ performance in the recent local elections was pretty underwhelming, explains David Cutts. But it is the 2019 local elections that will tell us more about the long-term viability of the party, since those will concern a larger number of English districts where the LibDems will be seeking to reclaim ground […]

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    Secretively open: identifying patterns in Theresa May’s approach to secrecy

Secretively open: identifying patterns in Theresa May’s approach to secrecy

Theresa May presides over one of the leakiest governments in British history, with claims from ministers often undermined by a leak saying the exact opposite. Ben Worthy reads the runes of May’s approach to secrecy and attempts to find a common pattern from her Home Office years and into her premiership.

Most prime ministers have an awkward relationship with the […]