What will life be like in the Commons for the Independent Group?

What will life be like in the Commons for the Independent Group?

On 18 February, seven Labour MPs resigned from the Party to sit as an independent group. Operating without the formal support of a parliamentary party, they will face several institutional barriers to working effectively in the House of Commons, writes Louise Thompson.

Donald Trump: openness, secrets and lies

Donald Trump: openness, secrets and lies

Many politicians use the rhetoric of open government, but operate with a lack of transparency. Ben Worthy and Marlen Heide consider the Trump presidency in these terms, and find that, for all the lies, there is also an unintentional openness – and it is not yet clear which of these tendencies will weaken the presidency most.

Book Review | Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime by Bruno Latour

Book Review | Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime by Bruno Latour

In Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Bruno Latour explores the political and philosophical challenges proper to a time defined by an environmental and socio-economic crisis. Rodrigo Muñoz-González welcomes this energetic, compelling and provocative attempt to find an alternative vision to the contradictory and flawed project of modernity. 

Posted in: Book reviews
Reading political tea leaves: forecasting British general election results

Reading political tea leaves: forecasting British general election results

Political polling has faced difficulties during recent UK elections. Drawing on methods used for US elections and elsewhere, Philippe Mongrain therefore proposes a new forecasting model, which takes into account the state of the economy, the cost of ruling for the incumbent party, leadership approval ratings and previous election results, and offers some improvements on existing polls for forecasting the vote share of all contending parties.

There is a massive class and race-based chasm in digital activism in the US

There is a massive class and race-based chasm in digital activism in the US

A great deal of research and commentary about online spaces focuses on who consumes online content and how. But what about those who are producing content online? In new research, Jen Schradie looks at activism in North Carolina around labour laws, and finds that middle and upper class groups are much more likely to be digital activists, while working class – and predominantly African American – groups are not using online spaces for activism as much. She writes that not only do most working-class activists simply not have the time to be online, but they also frequently do not feel empowered to use online spaces for activism, an issue which can be made worse by fears about retaliation from employers. 

Book Review | Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems edited by Steven Wolinetz and Andrej Zaslove

Book Review | Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems edited by Steven Wolinetz and Andrej Zaslove

In Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems, editors Steven Wolinetz and Andrej Zaslove bring together contributors to help understand the impact of populism upon different party systems across Europe. This is not only an important contribution to scholarship on populism, writes Toygar Sinan Baykan, but also a highly illustrative, up-to-date introduction to the contemporary politics of many European countries. 

Posted in: Book reviews, Populism
The deep roots of the trust crisis

The deep roots of the trust crisis

Sigmund Freud, the public affairs industry and the internet may all have played a part in declining levels of public trust, write Isabelle Stanley and Rod Dowler. Measures to restore trust could include independent media fact-checking and research and greater transparency in political donations.

Are there any benefits to divided parliamentary parties?

Are there any benefits to divided parliamentary parties?

Intra-party dissent is generally considered a bad thing – for parties seeking power and for voters wishing to make sense of political conflicts. However, using a survey experiment to test people’s responses to different forms of intra-party policy disputes, Eric Merkley finds that there are circumstances in which voters find moderate divisions useful as cues for evaluating policy choices in light of their own preferences.

Why geography matters: MPs with constituencies a long distance from Westminster choose different ways to represent their voters

Why geography matters: MPs with constituencies a long distance from Westminster choose different ways to represent their voters

MPs face demands on their time in both Westminster and their constituency. The greater the distance between the area they represent and Parliament, the more this requires trade-offs. David M. Willumsen finds that the type of parliamentary activities an MP takes part in is affected by the distance of their constituency from Westminster, which has implications for the principle of equal representation