Party politics and elections

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    Why Change UK may turn out to be neither democratic nor a force for change

Why Change UK may turn out to be neither democratic nor a force for change

Lea Ypi explains why Change UK – The Independent Group appears to be aligning itself to a very different tradition of thinking about the relationship between citizens and representatives.
Modern democracy, wrote one of the great political scientists of the past century, is inconceivable – save in terms of party government. If that is true, when democracy is in […]

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    ‘It’s Westminster’s fault’. Political identities and blame attribution in devolved systems

‘It’s Westminster’s fault’. Political identities and blame attribution in devolved systems

In devolved systems, people may be unsure about which government does what and so who is responsible for policy outcomes. Sandra León and Lluís Orriols use a survey experiment on responsibility attribution surrounding the NHS in Scotland and Wales, and point to the role of partisanship and identity as cognitive guides in attributing credit and blame.

A Scotsman’s reader recently sent […]

Why party members don’t always vote for their own party

Benjamin de Vet, Monica Poletti, and Bram Wauters examine the limits of party members’ electoral loyalty. They explain how strategic considerations, ideological discontent, and negative leadership evaluations lie at the basis of decisions to cast a defecting vote.

One of the perceived advantages of having many grassroots members is that they supply political parties with a steady electoral […]

The marginal effects of campaigning in marginal seats

A substantial body of research shows that British political parties benefit electorally from their constituency campaigns, especially where they are the local challenger in a seat. But,  Ron Johnston, Charles Pattie and Todd Hartman explain, the marginal returns parties get on their local campaigns are not the same everywhere. Parties get more electoral bang for their campaign buck in the […]

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    Democratising Hansard: continuing to improve the accessibility of parliamentary records

Democratising Hansard: continuing to improve the accessibility of parliamentary records

The official, substantially verbatim report of what is said in Parliament is an essential tool for ensuring democratic accountability. This record, Hansard, contains a wealth of data, but it is not always fully accessible and easy to search. Lesley Jeffries and Fransina de Jager explain how a new project, Hansard at Huddersfield, aims to improve access to the Hansard […]

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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 […]

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    Three factors that affect public support for the implementation of EU referendum results

Three factors that affect public support for the implementation of EU referendum results

There is an ongoing debate in the UK over whether holding another referendum on EU membership would be democratic or not. Drawing on a new study, Sveinung Arnesen explains that while in general most citizens believe governments should follow the results of referendums on EU membership, this depends heavily upon the level of turnout, the size of the majority, […]

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    Emergency politics: why the government keeps emphasising 29 March as Brexit day

Emergency politics: why the government keeps emphasising 29 March as Brexit day

Ever since Theresa May triggered Article 50, 29 March keeps being portrayed as Brexit day. This continues to be the case, even though it is highly likely that an extension will be requested. Jonathan White explains why the focus on this deadline has a number of aims, not least to weaken resistance.

29 March 2019 has dominated British politics for […]