Patrick Dunleavy

The government’s approach to reforming the House of Lords is 80 per cent of the way there. Nick Clegg needs to take courage and to go the rest of the way to a more democratic and coherent, wholly elected Senate.

After more than a century of constitutional reform debates, replacing the indefensible House of Lords with a decent elected Senate is now within sight. The government’s draft Bill is a vast improvement on previous Westminster-elite proposals. It needs only some achievable alterations to become a wholly desirable plan for reform. The key changes needed, Patrick Dunleavy writes, are fewer Senators, […]

The Research Excellence Framework is lumbering and expensive. For a fraction of the cost, a digital census of academic research would create unrivalled and genuine information about UK universities’ research performance

Government efforts at assessing university research via the REF involve universities and hundred of senior academics in perpetuating a mythical, bureaucratic form of ‘peer review’. Inherently these exercises only produce ‘evidence’ that has been fatally structured from the outset by bureaucratic rules and university games-playing. Patrick Dunleavy argues that in the digital era, this mountain of special form-filling and bogus […]

The Westminster Model strikes back, both in Britain and in Canada … but pressures for multi-party politics are still increasing

Last week saw majority government restored at the fourth time of asking in Canada, while UK voters rejected a switch away from first-past-the-post, and punished the third party Liberal Democrats severely for their behaviour in the coalition government. So the ‘Westminster Model’ approach to politics clearly has some life left in it. Yet Patrick Dunleavy finds that in both countries, […]

The UK’s political climate remains volatile. But the Liberal Democrats’ immediate prospects look grim, whatever happens

A clutch of recent polls suggest that UK voters remain quite volatile in their views, with some giving Labour an overall lead over both the coalition parties combined, and others suggesting that the Liberal Democrats could revive and the Tories can match Labour’s rankings. Despite this volatility, Patrick Dunleavy warns that on present form Nick Clegg could risk testing his […]

The Barnsley by-election suggests that the collective health of the Coalition government is now in jeopardy. On current polls the Liberal Democrats will do badly in the May local elections

British voters are famously erratic in how they choose candidates in by-elections. But Labour’s convincing win in Barnsley, poor performances by both the coalition parties, and the persisting push by English voters to support smaller parties, all suggest that the coalition government is already suffering badly from high inflation and unemployment, plus the climate of public sector cuts. Patrick Dunleavy […]

Why AV does not necessarily produce more coalition governments. Nor does it help small parties to win more seats.

With most opinion polls showing rising levels of support for changing the voting system in May, some pro status quo commentators are getting quite desperate for things to say to knock the Alternative Vote. The Telegraph columnist Simon Heffer recently claimed that AV will always lead to more coalition governments, and claims that the system makes it easier for small […]

Government productivity in UK social security has not grown across two decades to 2008 – largely because DWP senior civil servants blocked any move to ‘digital era’ services

Looking at the Department of Work and Pensions, Patrick Dunleavy and Leandro Carrera show that overall productivity levels failed to grow at all across two decades, despite massive capital investment, increased IT spend and several business process reorganizations. The dominance of a conservative organizational culture among senior public managers, plus constant policy churn, prevented any transition to delivering transactions or […]

The Oldham by-election compounds the misery for Nick Clegg, as the Liberal Democrats’ national poll ratings put the party on the critical list

With repeated national polls estimating their support below 10 per cent, the Liberal Democrats put everything they had into winning the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election, a seat where they had virtually tied with Labour in May 2010. Instead Labour has romped home convincingly. Chris Gilson and Patrick Dunleavy argue that the strains on the coalition have now increased, while […]