A 35-year experiment in public deliberations shows that democracy depends on a process of constant learning

A 35-year experiment in public deliberations shows that democracy depends on a process of constant learning

 Deliberative democracy has long been an aspiration for campaigners and academics who see it as a way of harnessing humanity’s inherent capacity for reason and debate. But, while compelling in theory, there is a relative paucity of practical evidence as to its success. Here, the former United States Health, Education and Welfare David Matthews shares evidence from a 35 year […]

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Globalisation has contributed to declining levels of religious freedom across the world

Globalisation has contributed to declining levels of religious freedom across the world

What factors affect religious freedom? As Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom and Gizem Arikan write, there is evidence that restrictions on religious freedom have increased globally in recent decades. Using data from a recent study, they highlight the role that processes of globalisation have had on this trend. The results indicate that globalisation is a contributing factor to the increase in […]

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What the independence referendums in Québec suggest about Scotland

What the independence referendums in Québec suggest about Scotland

The current dynamics of the debate in Scotland recalls very much what Québec experienced in its referendums of 1980 and 1995, writes André Lecours. While there are striking similarities, such as the bulk of the argument against independence resting on the potential economic and financial implications of secession, there are also important differences, such as the absence of […]

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Young people support the democratic process, but do not feel that they can exercise real influence over decision-making

Young people support the democratic process, but do not feel that they can exercise real influence over decision-making

As part of our series on youth participation, in this post Matt Henn and Nick Foard share findings from survey research into young people’s views of politics. They show that young people are supportive of the democratic process and want to participate in. However, the experience of elections is frustrating, with politicians seen as remote and self-serving. They […]

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The pressure is growing for Commons bill committee reform

The pressure is growing for Commons bill committee reform

In June 2013 the Constitution Unit published Fitting the Bill: Bringing Commons Legislation Committees into Line with Best Practice, proposing a series of changes to Commons bill committees. Last week the issue was brought back into the headlines, as John Bercow emphasised the need for reform, says Meg Russell. Similar PostsConnecting knowledge to power: the future […]

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The ECHR’s upholding of the French face-veil ban sets a very worrying precedent for the freedom of religious expression

The ECHR’s upholding of the French face-veil ban sets a very worrying precedent for the freedom of religious expression

The former President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, instituted a ban on covering one’s face in a public area. It was interpreted as targeting the Muslim community, and since its implementation has had the biggest impact there. The case was challenged, and eventually upheld by the European Court of Human Rights. Daniel Barton argues that […]

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How we choose our political leaders tells the world a lot about us

How we choose our political leaders tells the world a lot about us

Nearly all democratic countries’ accept, to varying degrees, the notion that rulers should be chosen by the people, and subject to various limitations, checks and balances. However, many people who subscribe to these ideals are also comfortable with the notion of a benign hegemon in the international realm – namely the United States. Here, LSE’s Danny […]

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The Icelandic experience challenges the view that constitutional process must be exclusionary and secretive

The Icelandic experience challenges the view that constitutional process must be exclusionary and secretive

In the wake of the financial crisis which nearly bankrupted Iceland, the country began a process to create a new constitution which could maintain the confidence of a public understandably disenchanted with their political elite. What followed was a ‘crowd-sourced’ project which ultimately fell at the final hurdle. However the experience did show that it is […]

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The emerging political consensus around local growth is encouraging, but now the hard work really begins

The emerging political consensus around local growth is encouraging, but now the hard work really begins

Devolution to local and regional government has been in vogue recently, with George Osborne and Ed Miliband each voicing their preferences for a new settlement between central and local government. Here, Neil McInroy argues that that is all well and good, but warm words are only a start, and that think tanks, campaigners, businesses and […]

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Despite the reshuffle, we are still a long way from a 50:50 gender balanced Parliament

Despite the reshuffle, we are still a long way from a 50:50 gender balanced Parliament

Much has been made of the addition of a number of extra women to the Cabinet following David Cameron’s recent ministerial reshuffle. But despite the headlines, the UK still lags terribly behind other countries in terms of the levels of women in Parliament. Frances Scott, who is campaigning for a 50:50 balance in Parliament, argues […]

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