British and Irish Politics and Policy

How can we restore trust and integrity into public life?

With citizen distrust of politics steadily rising, bringing ethical concerns into mainstream public life is the most urgent political project, argues Bob Hudson. He writes that a mix of best practice, regulation, and legislation would help institutionalise the principles that ought to be guiding decision-making.

There has probably never been so much talk of mistrust and betrayal in British public […]

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    Flawed data? Why NHS spending on the independent sector may actually be much more than 7%

Flawed data? Why NHS spending on the independent sector may actually be much more than 7%

The presentation of data on NHS expenditure is flawed, writes David Rowland, which prevents policymakers from having a clear understanding of where money within the system is going. He estimates that in 2018/19, the amount spent by NHS England on the independent sector was around 26% of total expenditure, not 7% as widely reported. 

Claims regarding the extent of NHS […]

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    Parents, poverty and the state: reducing pressures on parents and increasing their capabilities

Parents, poverty and the state: reducing pressures on parents and increasing their capabilities

Naomi Eisenstadt and Carey Oppenheim argue that a more joined-up approach is needed to improve outcomes for children: both reducing child poverty and improving parental capacity by providing better support systems.

In the last two decades, political parties have lost their earlier resistance to preaching about family life. For most of the twentieth century, fears of the nanny state and […]

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    Governing without ministers: Northern Ireland power-sharing should be a priority for the UK government

Governing without ministers: Northern Ireland power-sharing should be a priority for the UK government

Northern Ireland has been without a functioning Executive or Assembly since January 2017. Jill Rutter and Jess Sargeant detail the consequences, which would be particularly severe in the case of a no deal Brexit, and set out proposals for reform.

When a local council collapses, the government sends in commissioners to sort it out. But the government has allowed Northern Ireland to near 1000 […]

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    The current constitutional crisis is neither uniquely British nor uniquely about where sovereignty lies

The current constitutional crisis is neither uniquely British nor uniquely about where sovereignty lies

While the Supreme Court has signalled its determination to defend established constitutional principles in the prorogation case, a problem underlying recent crises is the idea of national sovereignty, argues Marinos Diamantides. This idea is at odds with the reality of governing nation-states.

Secular liberal constitutionalism rests on postulates replete with inevitable contradictions and paradoxes. Thus, in the UK the rule […]

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    Supreme Court judgment: in law, reason still matters, facts are relevant, and nonsense doesn’t work

Supreme Court judgment: in law, reason still matters, facts are relevant, and nonsense doesn’t work

The Supreme Court decision is a telling illustration of why all populist authoritarians need to dismantle the independent judiciary, writes Conor Gearty. He discusses the importance of the case.

Without question, the Supreme Court decision on prorogation is the finest moment in the annals of the UK’s judicial history. Building on the work of their Scottish colleagues, the Court has […]

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    R (Miller) v The Prime Minister and the resumption of the Brexit debates

R (Miller) v The Prime Minister and the resumption of the Brexit debates

John Stanton discusses the Supreme Court’s finding that the recent prorogation of Parliament was both justiciable and unlawful. He writes that the decision is rooted in well-established constitutional principle, and considers the Brexit options available to government and opposition.

In R (Miller) v Prime Minister (2019) on the recent prorogation of Parliament, the Supreme Court was faced with two questions. […]

Sharing public wealth: why we need a Charter of the Commons

Guy Standing argues that we need a progressive charter to recover and revive our commons – including natural resources and social amenities – that are currently being privatised and exploited for commercial incursions.

On November 6, 1217, two documents became the foundations of the British constitution, Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest, the latter asserting that everybody had […]