‘Votes for life’ for overseas electors? Principles, process and party politics

 ‘Votes for life’ for overseas electors? Principles, process and party politics

A Private Member’s Bill to extend the franchise to all British citizens living abroad is currently under consideration in Parliament. Susan Collard explains how these proposed reforms, which have significant implications for democratic participation, have become caught up in parliamentary procedure and partisan disputes.

Book Review | Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics edited by James Muldoon

Book Review | Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics edited by James Muldoon

In Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics, editor James Muldoon brings together contributors to reopen discussion of councilist ideas and movements and to take the scholarship into new realms. While the chapters evidence the continuing tensions within the literature, this is a welcome and important contribution to the revival of this deeply emancipatory form of democratic socialism, writes Babak Amini. 

Posted in: Book reviews
Theresa May and the curse of the takeover Prime Minister

Theresa May and the curse of the takeover Prime Minister

After a tumultuous week for Prime Minister Theresa May, who has survived a confidence vote of her parliamentary party but lost the support of a third of her MPs, Ben Worthy assesses her leadership in comparison to other Prime Ministers who succeeded to office through internal party procedures rather than at a general election.

Posted in: Prime Ministers
‘Heirs apparent’ in No. 10 and beyond – why career ascendancy patterns matter, and how

‘Heirs apparent’ in No. 10 and beyond – why career ascendancy patterns matter, and how

In Westminster-style democracies, it is not uncommon for prime ministers to assume office by inheriting the post outside of a general election. Ludger Helms assesses the performance of prime ministers who were previously ‘heirs apparent’ and finds that their prior experience does not tend to lead to success.

Posted in: Prime Ministers
The Great Brexit Crisis: we are in for an unprecedented shake up of the UK constitution, laws, conventions and politics

The Great Brexit Crisis: we are in for an unprecedented shake up of the UK constitution, laws, conventions and politics

The UK seems to be rapidly heading for one of the most tangled and tumultuous political periods in modern history as Brexit nears its apogee, writes Colin Talbot. Whether you think we’re headed to Valhalla or Ragnarok, the constitution, law, conventions and politics are all set to be tested in ways rarely seen. In this blog, he presents a quick guide to some of the institutions that will be severely tested over the next days and weeks.

Posted in: EU referendum
How and when constitutional conventions change in Westminster democracies

How and when constitutional conventions change in Westminster democracies

Westminster democracies incorporate numerous constitutional conventions – the uncodified, informal rules and practices by which political institutions operate. Nicholas Barry, Narelle Miragliotta and Zim Nwokora identify some key patterns for when and how different types of conventions are modified, and suggest further research is needed to develop a fuller understanding of the dynamics of change for political conventions. 

Why neoliberal approaches to policy are detrimental to democratic participation

Why neoliberal approaches to policy are detrimental to democratic participation

The neoliberal introduction of market principles to the governance of public institutions has eroded faith in more democratic forms of deliberation and decision-making, argues Bradley Allsop. Our response should be to encourage greater workplace democracy and more collective, cooperative forms of local participation.

A strange irony: How the EU withdrawal process ended up saving the Human Rights Act

A strange irony: How the EU withdrawal process ended up saving the Human Rights Act

Even though it looks increasingly likely the Brexit deal will not survive its first hurdle in parliament, there is yet more evidence in its pages that Brexit has saved the Human Rights Act and secured Britain’s long term future as party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), writes Frederick Cowell. In the Political Declaration on the Framework of Future relations with the EU, the document accompanying the withdrawal agreement, under the heading ‘core values and rights there is a commitment to ‘respect the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights’. In the text of the withdrawal agreement itself – which would be a legally binding on the government – there are provisions in the Protocols on Northern Ireland, which seem to assume the UK remains a party to the ECHR.

Local policy responses to anti-Islamic protest in the UK need to consider both exclusionary and inclusionary approaches

Local policy responses to anti-Islamic protest in the UK need to consider both exclusionary and inclusionary approaches

Disruptive and antagonistic anti-Islamic protests in some towns and cities in the UK have posed a challenge to local authorities in how to respond to them. William Allchorn examines the variety of policy responses that have been attempted and suggests that inclusionary tactics that address narratives of polarisation need to be part of the democratic response.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Book Review | The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Systems edited by Erik S Herron, Robert J Pekkanen and Matthew S Shugart

Book Review | The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Systems edited by Erik S Herron, Robert J Pekkanen and Matthew S Shugart

Electoral systems are key components in the operation of representative democracies that vary considerably in their construction, with important consequences for how democracy is implemented. Ron Johnston reviews The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Systems which provides valuable overviews of many of the important topics studied by electoral system scholars, though he wonders about the relative value of such large and expensive volumes aimed at providing ‘state-of-the-art’ surveys and ‘compelling new perspectives’.

Posted in: Book reviews