Contrary to claims of Britain’s enduring political and constitutional distinctiveness, in the period from 1997 to 2016 the UK in fact modernised its polity by following several strong ‘Europeanisation’ trends. British democracy came to increasingly resemble other European liberal democracies in some fundamental ways. Yet now this meta-narrative may be lost following Brexit. Patrick Dunleavy explores some implications of […]
The UK’s political turmoil has continued with the Conservatives’ disastrous 2017 campaign. But what led to the multiple miscalculations involved? Patrick Dunleavy argues that it forms part of a wider pattern of mis-governing from the centre of Whitehall that has characterised Theresa May’s leadership style from the outset.
Credit: Number 10 / Jay Allen (Crown Copyright)
All British Prime Ministers end […]
The UK’s snap election on 8 June initially looked like being a comfortable victory for Theresa May and the Conservatives, but with the polls tightening in the last few weeks, there is now far more uncertainty about the outcome. We asked some of our contributors for their reflections on the campaign and the key things to watch out for […]
Epitaph for a political chancer: Cameron’s fate examplifies the inability of UK elites to resolve long-run crises
David Cameron’s announcement that he is stepping down as Prime Minister capped a night of unprecedented referendum triumph for the ‘Brexiteers’ on the Conservative right and in UKIP in overthrowing Britain’s 43 year old membership of the European Union. Patrick Dunleavy considers the lessons that Cameron learned too late to save his premiership.
Thirteen months ago I forecast that ‘Cameron returns […]
Confounding the pollsters and the pundits, voters in England have given David Cameron another three years as Prime Minister, collapsed the Liberal Democrats to a shell and dashed the Labour elite’s dream of edging back into power via a minority government. Patrick Dunleavy unravels what was and was not historic in the 2015 general election results.
Expatiating on the historic resonance […]
The United Kingdom general election takes place next week, with current polling predicting no clear majority in the House of Commons for any party. One of the most well-known concepts in political science is Duverger’s Law, which states that two parties will dominate under ‘first past the post’ systems, such as that used in the UK. This concept held […]
Scotland’s ‘No’ vote solves one acute existential threat to the UK, says Patrick Dunleavy, but only for now. The likely narrow results of the May 2015 general election, plus David Cameron’s promise of another referendum on the UK leaving the European Union in 2017, both promise massive constitutional turbulence between now and 2020. For instance, if the UK votes […]
The lasting achievement of Thatcherism as a political project is that Britain now has three political parties of the right, instead of one.
Throughout the twentieth century the Conservative party dominated British politics as an integrated party of the right. Yet since late 1992, the Tories have increasingly struggled to attract the support of a third of voters at elections or in opinion polls. Patrick Dunleavy argues that because of the divisiveness of Thatcherism, the right wing electorate in Britain is now permanently […]
Organizing your personal research library and compiling bibliographies: I was an EndNote refusenik, but now I’m a Mendeley convert
A key aspect of scholarship is how you create a personal research library, find and access your sources when needed, and cite them accurately and comprehensively. Patrick Dunleavy explains how the (relatively new) software Mendeley has transformed his previous time-consuming practice in just a few days, and solved numerous other problems of accessing literature and sources wherever he is. Mendeley […]
Duverger’s Law is a dead parrot. European political scientists need to recognize that plurality or majority voting has no tendency at all to produce two party politics
Political science has very few ‘laws’, perhaps explaining why the European discipline has so stubbornly clung onto its most famous product – Maurice Duverger’s claim that countries using ‘majoritarian’ voting systems will always have two party politics. This ‘Law’ has underpinned numerous completely ineffective efforts by European politicians in PR systems to create party consolidation by changing their voting laws. […]
Book Review: Managing Modernity: Beyond Bureaucracy? Edited by Stewart Clegg, Martin Harris and Harro Höpfl
In this collection of essays Steward Clegg and co-authors envisage the end of bureaucracy, where big corporations and public sector organizations are open and free of constraints. Patrick Dunleavy is intrigued but not convinced, arguing that all forms of ‘beyondism’ and ‘post-x’ social theory are inherently dissatisfying. If the authors really knew what was happening now or next, they’d tell us. Managing Modernity: […]
Five minutes with Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson: “Blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now”.
Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson discuss social scientists’ obligation to spread their research to the wider world and how blogging can help academics break out of restrictive publishing loops. This article was first posted on the LSE’s Impact of Social Sciences blog on 24 February. LSE’s Public Policy Group already run two academic blogs and you are preparing to launch two […]