The prospects for local government independence are bleak due to the centre’s unwillingness to give up power

The prospects for local government independence are bleak due to the centre’s unwillingness to give up power

In the wake of the Scottish independence referendum, devolution of power has become the political discussion de jour. Although most discussion has focussed on the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK, or on the regions, local government is still an important component of the debate. Recently, the Labour MP Graham Allen proposed legislation that […]

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It is the state’s duty to make sure that individuals have a choice where liberal and illiberal values clash

It is the state’s duty to make sure that individuals have a choice where liberal and illiberal values clash

Should liberal communities accommodate communities that praise ‘illiberal’ values? After all, a state-driven imposition of a single set of values in the name of liberalism is, if nothing else, a clearly contradictory interpretation of liberalism. Forcing people to be free is just as bad as forcing them to be unfree, argues Paula Zoido-Oses. Similar PostsWhy does the England […]

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20 things we learned about democracy in September 2014

20 things we learned about democracy in September 2014

September 2014 was a big month for democracy, with party conferences and of course the Scottish independence referendum. Democratic Audit’s Sean Kippin rounds up 20 things that we learned about democracy this month, and talks about the referendum and conferences, but also elections in the House of Lords, human rights, and KFC chicken.  Similar PostsWhen […]

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The use of Voting Advice Applications is on the rise, but their ability to shift votes and shape views is still unclear

The use of Voting Advice Applications is on the rise, but their ability to shift votes and shape views is still unclear

Voting Advice Applications are digital devices that try to help citizens think about how they might decide to vote in an election. They might be websites, apps or any other online format that you could access via a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile connected device. They are a niche digital product but they also represent […]

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The Government’s rehabilitation policy is in crisis due to the Justice Secretary’s ready embrace of austerity

The Government’s rehabilitation policy is in crisis due to the Justice Secretary’s ready embrace of austerity

Government rehabilitation policy is in crisis, with the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling presiding over a series of monumental policy errors which have combined to erode prisoner rights and derail the “Rehabilitation Revolution” promised by his predecessor Ken Clarke, according to Richard Ridyard. He argues that Grayling’s devotion and justification of the Government’s […]

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The English Question comprises two broad questions, with half a dozen different answers

The English Question comprises two broad questions, with half a dozen different answers

The West Lothian Question has been back on the agenda in recent weeks following the Scottish Independence Referendum, and the promises made by the ‘No’ campaign to ensure a greater degree of self-government for Holyrood and the Prime Minister’s resultant pledge to introduce ‘English Voters for English Laws’. UCL’s Constitution Unit conducted a three-year research project […]

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Money or signatures: which is a larger barrier to new parties trying to contest parliamentary elections?

Money or signatures: which is a larger barrier to new parties trying to contest parliamentary elections?

A crucial part of any democracy is allowing new parties to form and contest elections. However, there is a consensus that the state may set barriers in order to do so. This implies a tricky balancing act between excluding ‘frivolous’ candidates whilst allowing ‘serious’ new parties to run without undue difficulty. Here, Max Goplerud outlines a working […]

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Book Review: Advancing Electoral Integrity edited by Pippa Norris, Richard W Frank and Ferran Martínez i Coma

Book Review: Advancing Electoral Integrity edited by Pippa Norris, Richard W Frank and Ferran Martínez i Coma

Are elections free and fair? How can we measure whether they are? And what is the popular reaction to different types of electoral regime? Ron Johnston reviews a recent edited volume exploring electoral integrity, an outcome of a major international project focusing on these relatively under-studied questions. Similar PostsBook Review: British General Elections since 1964: Diversity, Dealignment […]

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The decision of the majority of Scots to vote ‘No’ may result in even more radical constitutional change to the UK

The decision of the majority of Scots to vote ‘No’ may result in even more radical constitutional change to the UK

Scotland voted No to independence on 18 September. Eve Hepburn writes that the referendum has opened up a Pandora’s Box of territorial identities, politics and interests in the UK. She asks whether the pro-UK parties really believe that it will be possible to initiate and conclusively finalise a proper, thoughtful, and consultative process of radical constitutional change […]

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After Scotland’s ‘No’ vote, what next for the UK constitution?

After Scotland’s ‘No’ vote, what next for the UK constitution?

The UK constitution does not currently conform to any particular, identifiable model. Nor would it do were the constitutional reforms currently being proposed by the Government and various other parties come to pass. For example it would not be characterisable either as a federal system or as a unitary state. Rather, the constitution would remain messy and […]

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