Party politics and elections

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    Groupthink did not see the Leave victory coming. So where could it go wrong for Johnson?

Groupthink did not see the Leave victory coming. So where could it go wrong for Johnson?

With speculation rife that there will be a general election in the autumn, Matthew Goodwin assesses the new government’s likely popularity, and which groups of the electorate Boris Johnson will have most problems appealing to.

With a new Prime Minister, a divided parliament, a looming Brexit deadline and rumours of a general election it might be time to put the […]

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    Understanding Boris Johnson’s appeal: performative rebelliousness, impishness, and indiscipline

Understanding Boris Johnson’s appeal: performative rebelliousness, impishness, and indiscipline

While Boris Johnson does not meet the definitional elements of populism, he deploys some of its rhetoric and style, explains Ben Margulies.

Many leaders who are described as being ‘populist’ have messy personal lives or outlandish public personae. Donald Trump’s affairs and rhetorical outlandishness are the most prominent example; before his rise, Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi sought a similar public performance. […]

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    Cabinet reconstruction: the calculations and risks behind Johnson’s ‘second-chance’ government

Cabinet reconstruction: the calculations and risks behind Johnson’s ‘second-chance’ government

Nicholas Allen offers an in-depth analysis of Boris Johnson’s new cabinet and places the reshuffle in a historical context. He writes that the new prime minister has made the parliamentary arithmetic even less favourable to his Brexit plans, and explains why the reshuffle indicates that there may be another general election sooner rather than later.

Boris Johnson has finally achieved […]

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    Two troubled premierships: comparing the administrations of John Major and Theresa May

Two troubled premierships: comparing the administrations of John Major and Theresa May

Looking at how they came to power, their subsequent electoral fortunes, their Cabinet divisions, and their attitudes towards the EU, Ben Williams identifies key similarities between the Major and May governments.

The Conservative administrations of John Major (1990-97) and Theresa May (2016-19) are two decades apart, yet incorporate similar overlapping themes and issues which interlink them. Indeed, it can be […]

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    The forward march of party members: has the shift in power to the grassroots gone too far?

The forward march of party members: has the shift in power to the grassroots gone too far?

Patrick Seyd writes that while parliamentarians are in a much better position to decide who should lead the party than party members, in recent years the balance has shifted in favour of the latter. This plebiscitary politics negatively affects both the quality of political leadership and of decision-making.

Britain’s decision to exit the European Union has placed its two-party […]

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    British social democracy in the 1970s: the Labour ‘right’ and the origins of the SDP

British social democracy in the 1970s: the Labour ‘right’ and the origins of the SDP

Stephen Meredith writes that while the SDP was marked by ideological inconsistencies, the role of ideas in its formation should not be overlooked. He explains how the wider political fragmentation of the Labour ‘right’ in the late 1970s led to the fracture of the party and the rupture of British social democracy.

Former Labour MP and academic, David Marquand, famously […]

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    Chasing votes in a divided Kingdom: why the Brexit split is about much more than just the EU

Chasing votes in a divided Kingdom: why the Brexit split is about much more than just the EU

Jonathan Wheatley draws on recent data following the European Parliament election to strengthen the view that the so-called Brexit divide is not only about the EU, but it is instead about a range of issues relating to identity. He considers what the implications of these findings are for party strategists.

The May 23 elections to the European Parliament (EP) were […]

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    Beyond committees: parliamentary oversight of coalition government in Britain

Beyond committees: parliamentary oversight of coalition government in Britain

Shane Martin and Richard Whitaker explain why parliamentary questions are a useful vehicle for coalition parties to monitor their partners. Questions force ministers to reveal information concerning their legislative and extra-legislative activities, providing coalition members unique insights into their partners’ behaviour.

As in 2017, the 2010 British general election produced a hung parliament. But unlike 2017 when a minority government […]