democracy

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    The process of leaving political office in Britain and its implications for democracy

The process of leaving political office in Britain and its implications for democracy

Drawing on interviews conducted with British politicians, Dame Jane Roberts explains the different impacts of leaving political office. She writes that the process is often made unnecessarily harsh, something that may be preventing some politicians from standing down altogether, with implications for representative democracy.

Losing political office is an integral part of any system of representative democracy. But we don’t […]

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    Making a 21st century constitution: the rules we have established for democracies are now outdated

Making a 21st century constitution: the rules we have established for democracies are now outdated

Democratic constitutions are unfit for purpose, with governments facing increased pressures from populists and distrust from citizens. The only way to truly solve these problems is through reform, argues Frank Vibert. He draws on his new book on the topic and sets out the ways in which constitutions should be revitalised.

Democracies are struggling in many parts of the world. […]

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    A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

Never before has the British political tradition been more contested, write Matthew Hall, David Marsh, and Emma Vines. They explain that British democracy is facing three major challenges – Scottish independence, Brexit, and anti-politics – and these have the potential to force change on an otherwise stale political establishment.

British politics is in a state of flux; yet for all the […]

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    Deliberative forums show that attitudes to welfare turn hostile because of low trust in government

Deliberative forums show that attitudes to welfare turn hostile because of low trust in government

Peter Taylor-Gooby outlines the findings of research that used deliberative forums to examine attitudes towards welfare. He concludes that what lay behind the views expressed was a mistrust in the capacity of the government to address the issues that most people face. It is this lack of trust that turns people against the welfare system rather than an ideological […]

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    How majoritarianism endures in the structures of the UK’s devolved institutions

How majoritarianism endures in the structures of the UK’s devolved institutions

The devolved political institutions were intended to produce a more consensual political culture. However, writes Felicity Matthews, although their electoral rules have increased the proportionality of representation, the structures of the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales have meant that a more consensual approach to policy-making has been more limited than might have been expected.

This year, the Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales […]

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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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    What was wrong with the Brexit referendum and what would be wrong with a second

What was wrong with the Brexit referendum and what would be wrong with a second

Depending on their design, referendums can be bad for democracy, writes Joseph Lacey. He argues that the central problem with the Brexit referendum was its ad hoc nature. Any second referendum would be of a similar sort and so should be avoided. But there is a way of legitimately deciding upon questions of EU membership: through the mandatory referendum.

A […]

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    Saving the local news media: what Matt Hancock’s review needs to know

Saving the local news media: what Matt Hancock’s review needs to know

Local news must be seen as a public good rather than as a profitable commodity, argues Julie Firmstone. It is this idea that must guide the new government review of UK press sustainability, so that the focus is on rethinking the conditions needed to produce local news rather than merely on the profitability of the sector.

The focus of the […]