Book Review | Shaping Cities in an Urban Age edited by Ricky Burdett and Philipp Rode

Book Review | Shaping Cities in an Urban Age edited by Ricky Burdett and Philipp Rode

n Shaping Cities in an Urban Age, editors Ricky Burdett and Philipp Rode offer a richly illustrated collection of essays that sheds light on the complex past and present forces driving urban change, based on rigorous research in cities of the Global North and South. The volume provides an insightful overview of the current and future dynamics that are shaping and will shape our urban world, writes Laura Neville. 

Posted in: Book reviews
Local elections 2019: Uncontested seats mean thousands of voters will be denied their democratic rights

Local elections 2019: Uncontested seats mean thousands of voters will be denied their democratic rights

Uncontested and under-contested council seats in English local elections mean that in areas where one party dominates, many voters face little or no choice about who their councillors are. Ian Simpson from the Electoral Reform Society argues that the solution to this democratic deficit is to reform the electoral system.

The UK’s 2019 European Parliament elections are happening after all. Here’s how they will work

The UK’s 2019 European Parliament elections are happening after all. Here’s how they will work

All EU member states will hold elections to the European Parliament between 23 and 26 May. Since the UK has now extended its membership of the EU beyond this date (and possibly until the end of October), these elections must also happen here on Thursday 23 May. The UK elects 73 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) by a proportional representation (PR) system, to represent 9 English regions, Scotland and Wales, and using the STV system in Northern Ireland. The Democratic Audit team explains how this election works, what will be on your ballot paper, and what we know so far about party prospects. In the run-up to the election we will preview the contests in your area in more detail.

Book Review | A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil by Candice Delmas

Book Review | A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil by Candice Delmas

In A Duty to Resist: When Disobedience Should Be Uncivil, Candice Delmas aims to foster understanding of resistance to injustice as a capacious concept that can include the possibility of lawful dissent, principled disobedience and revolution. This is a provocative and rewarding contribution to the literature, writes Suzanne Smith, that is particularly valuable for its attention to the question of the situational conditions of obligatory, potentially uncivil resistance.

Posted in: Book reviews
Does the House of Commons have power without influence?

Does the House of Commons have power without influence?

The impasse over the Withdrawal Agreement has highlighted the inability of the House of Commons to shape the substance of the Brexit deal. There is a growing sense of frustration at the apparent unwillingness of MPs to face up to the limited choices before them, writes Jack Simson Caird. A key lesson from the Article 50 process is that the UK needs a parliamentary system which is more oriented towards consensus and that is less adversarial, he concludes.

Selfies, policies or votes? How politicians can campaign effectively on Instagram

Selfies, policies or votes? How politicians can campaign effectively on Instagram

Twitter and Facebook have become crucial arenas for political competition, but what about Instagram? In new research, Stuart Turnbull-Dugarte assesses how parties in Spain have used the image-based social media platform and finds that political newcomers like Podemos and Ciudadanos are most effective at engaging voters, particularly when they focus on political leaders and mobilising supporters, but that policy communication is less effective.

A Brexit Assembly offers a way of overcoming the current deadlock

A Brexit Assembly offers a way of overcoming the current deadlock

Brexit needs its own dedicated assembly, a Brexit Assembly, argues Hjalte Lokdam. The Brexit process has revealed the difficulty of addressing a question of such extraordinary constitutional and societal significance within the ordinary parliamentary process. A Brexit Assembly of extraordinary representatives dedicated only to Brexit offers a way of overcoming the current deadlock.

Posted in: EU referendum
Book Review | The Constitution of India: A Contextual Analysis by Arun K. Thiruvengadam

Book Review | The Constitution of India: A Contextual Analysis by Arun K. Thiruvengadam

In The Constitution of India: A Contextual Analysis, Arun K. Thiruvengadam provides a concise introduction to the Indian Constitution, with insights not only into its history but also the political and legal events that have contributed to its evolution. Sania Ismailee recommends this accessible and engaging book to anyone who is keen to understand the underpinnings of the constitutional system in India.

Posted in: Book reviews
Unpaid internships in Parliament are a barrier to widening political participation

Unpaid internships in Parliament are a barrier to widening political participation

Many people who work in Parliament have previously worked unpaid for MPs, or found their current job through personal connections. Rebecca Montacute argues that to create a Parliament that is trusted and better represents the electorate, it is time to change these practices to ensure people from less privileged backgrounds have equal opportunities to pursue a career in politics.

Voters are crying out for better information about elections – here’s your opportunity to help

Voters are crying out for better information about elections – here’s your opportunity to help

Voters in the UK need more information about elections and candidates, particularly for local elections. Joe Mitchell, a director at Democracy Club, invites you to come and help provide it for them.