Party politics and elections

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    Why John Major’s premiership deserves more credit than it is usually given

Why John Major’s premiership deserves more credit than it is usually given

John Major has been a successful former Prime Minister, still making impactful interventions over issues such as the Scottish independence referendum and Brexit. This is unlike other former prime ministers. Drawing on their latest book, Kevin Hickson and Ben Williams explain why we need to reconsider his premiership.

John Major was Prime Minister for six and a half years, one […]

What motivated Conservative MPs to back or oppose Brexit?

The Conservative Party’s divisions over the EU are well known. But what motivated MPs to back Leave or Remain? Luke Moore uses logistic regression analysis to consider three key motivations: seeking office, votes, or that particular policy. He explains why all three affected Conservative MPs’ decision making, but that policy- or office-seeking were more prominent.

The divisions amongst Conservative MPs […]

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    How politicians created, rather than reacted to, negative public opinion on benefits

How politicians created, rather than reacted to, negative public opinion on benefits

Using House of Commons speeches on welfare from the late 1980s to 2015, Tom O’Grady finds that declining support for the benefits system was a top-down phenomenon. Shifts in political rhetoric – especially from Labour – did not occur after public opinion changed, but took place slightly before the public was changing its mind about benefits. 

As Theresa May’s government […]

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    The reluctant role model: why Britain (usually) obeys the European Court of Human Rights

The reluctant role model: why Britain (usually) obeys the European Court of Human Rights

Despite often complaining about the existence of the European Court of Human Rights, the UK has one of the strongest compliance records in the Court’s 47-country system. Zoë Jay explains how the UK’s conceptions of human rights protection shape its willingness to comply with the Court’s rulings.

To say the United Kingdom hasn’t always seen eye to eye with […]

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    The sexual harassment merry-go-round: what we know about Britain’s under-reported problem

The sexual harassment merry-go-round: what we know about Britain’s under-reported problem

In light of the resignation of Michael Fallon, and the various other allegations that have emerged about public figures, Jennifer Brown looks at the evidence and discusses why sexual harassment seems to be a perpetual feature of our culture.

Sir Michael Fallon was the first Parliamentarian to fall on his sword in the wake of the emerging sexual harassment scandal […]

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    The dogged persistence of the British ‘old boy’: how private school alumni reach the elite

The dogged persistence of the British ‘old boy’: how private school alumni reach the elite

The mythical figure of the public-school ‘Old Boy’ has long had a hold on the British cultural imagination. But, as Aaron Reeves and Sam Friedman explain, alumni of elite schools continue to enjoy very real advantages in reaching the elite.

Of the fifty-four Prime Ministers elected to office in Great Britain, a staggering thirty-six (67%) were educated at one of […]

Does protest really work in cosy democracies?

Does protest work? And is it more effective when it takes places in countries ruled by repressive regimes or those with democratically elected governments? Steve Crawshaw writes that if we think nothing will change, as people often do in democracies, that lack of belief becomes self-fulfilling.

For much of my life – first as a journalist, and then as a […]