British and Irish Politics and Policy

How not to recruit postal voters in the UK

Joshua Townsley and Stuart Turnbull-Dugarte tested the ability of parties to recruit postal voters in a field experiment carried out during the 2018 local elections in London. The result? Sending personal letters persuading voters to become postal voters is not an effective recruitment technique.

Postal voting, in line with other forms of early or ‘absentee’ voting, is a growing phenomenon […]

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    Are UK politicians ‘local’? General elections and the trend towards greater English regionalism

Are UK politicians ‘local’? General elections and the trend towards greater English regionalism

Updating previous research comparing MPs’ constituencies with their place of birth, Rob Gandy analyses the composition of Parliament as it emerged in the 2017 general election. The new analysis continues to support the argument that localism is on the rise.

I previously discussed on this blog the degree to which UK politicians were ‘local’, using a high-level proxy of the […]

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    How putting A-level results in context can improve access to the UK’s best universities

How putting A-level results in context can improve access to the UK’s best universities

Carl Cullinane and Laura Bruce explain how and why universities should step up the use of contextual admissions in order to meaningfully achieve fair access to leading higher education institutions.

The problem of unequal access to university is one of the most high-profile issues in British education. It is also a stubborn one. Despite substantial media attention and investment in […]

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    Will she, won’t she? The evasive communicative style of Theresa May

Will she, won’t she? The evasive communicative style of Theresa May

Based on the 23 sessions of PMQs held during Theresa May’s first term of office, Peter Bull finds that her mean reply rate to questions from Jeremy Corbyn was just 11%. He also explains that her equivocation style was covert, characterised by ignoring or modifying questions, stating or implying that she had already answered questions, and acknowledging questions without […]

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    Austerity in English local government: why collaboration was not the answer after all

Austerity in English local government: why collaboration was not the answer after all

To cope with austerity, local councils were encouraged to pool resources and share back-office administration (e.g. legal counsel and internal audit). Was this type of collaboration worth it? Thomas Elston and Ruth Dixon find no evidence that sharing administration or tax services has helped councils manage budget cuts.

Whether by historical standards, or compared with other parts of the public sector, […]

Gender over Race? Equity and inclusion in higher education

While universities are focusing on addressing gender inequality, Kalwant Bhopal and Holly Henderson find that there is little imperative to also address race and racism in the academy. They summarise the findings of a new study on the experiences of higher education staff working towards the Athena SWAN Charter and the Race Equality Charter.

Current scholarship on race in the […]

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    Gender pay gap reporting: the agenda for change needs to be broadened and deepened

Gender pay gap reporting: the agenda for change needs to be broadened and deepened

While the mandatory pay gap reporting regulations introduced in 2016 have led to some shocking revelations, their scope needs to be broadened as well as deepened, argues Susan Milner. She writes that the pace of change is slow, while labour market changes mean that more and more women remain trapped in low-paid, low-hours employment.

On 4 April, the second round […]

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    Breaking the mould: British social democrats need an improved method for doing politics

Breaking the mould: British social democrats need an improved method for doing politics

Social democratic politics in Britain requires compelling answers to three questions that Roy Jenkins posed in 1979, writes Patrick Diamond. He revisits Jenkins’s words by considering the prospects for ‘breaking the mould’ of UK politics in the time of Brexit and permanent austerity.

The year 2019 marks the fortieth anniversary of Roy Jenkins’ Dimbleby lecture, Home Thoughts from Abroad, which […]