Book Review | A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum

Book Review | A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum

In A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy, Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum identify and outline the emergence of a new type of conspiracist thinking in our contemporary moment, showing it to pose a fundamental threat to democratic functioning. While questioning whether the book ascribes too much intentionality to those engaging in ‘the new conspiracism’, this is nonetheless a timely and important conceptualisation, writes Ignas Kalpokas. 

Posted in: Book reviews
The Brex Factor: how a citizens’ assembly on Brexit could learn from reality TV

The Brex Factor: how a citizens’ assembly on Brexit could learn from reality TV

Some politicians and political scientists have suggested that a citizens’ assembly would be the best way to build public consent for any Brexit solution. For this to work, argues Conor Farrington, any initiative would need to innovate to engage the public, and in this it could learn from mass television entertainment.

In the name of parliamentary sovereignty: how the conflict between the UK government and the courts over prisoner voting rights was really about executive power

In the name of parliamentary sovereignty: how the conflict between the UK government and the courts over prisoner voting rights was really about executive power

In UK political disputes over European Court of Human Rights judgments, such as the high-profile objections to rulings on prisoner voting, much political capital is made out of the claim that the European Court is impinging on UK parliamentary sovereignty. However, Helen Hardman argues that the objections have instead been based on concern that court rulings would limit the decision-making powers of the government, rather than the independence and sovereignty of parliament. Archival and interview data demonstrate that the strategic purpose of the stand-off against the European Court was directed at weakening the European Convention system because it empowers UK domestic courts to effectively challenge government policy.

Book Review | Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik

Book Review | Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik

In Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain, Robert Verkaik explores the role that public schooling plays in reproducing inequality in Britain, showing how public schools enable wealthy families to pass down their privilege to their children who subsequently have greater access to the most lucrative and powerful areas of British society. Grounded in statistical evidence, this is a valuable contribution to debates surrounding social mobility in the UK, writes Ross Goldstone.

Posted in: Book reviews
Tough and tender: the winning formula for the next Prime Minister

Tough and tender: the winning formula for the next Prime Minister

Eleven Conservative MPs are currently running to succeed Theresa May. Whoever emerges from this contest as the next Prime Minister, they will need to have the human and technical skills to tackle both the emotional divisions of the country and the challenges of Brexit, writes Tony Hockley.

Who runs elections and how can they be improved? Independence, resources and workforce conditions are essential for good election management

Who runs elections and how can they be improved? Independence, resources and workforce conditions are essential for good election management

In new research published today about how elections are run around the world, Toby S. James, Leontine Loeber, Holly Ann Garnett and Carolien van Ham find that organisational independence matters for well-run elections, and that election management could be improved with more resources, improved working conditions for election employees – and a better gender balance in electoral management bodies.

Have changes in counterterrorism legislation before and after 9/11 curtailed civil rights?

Have changes in counterterrorism legislation before and after 9/11 curtailed civil rights?

Nicole Bolleyer examines the extent and form of legal changes across five western countries in the decades that span 9/11 and finds that in general the level of legal constraints on civil liberties has grown, though with considerable variation between countries and in types of restrictions.

Book Review | The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties by Paul Collier

Book Review | The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties by Paul Collier

In The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties, Paul Collier offers a forthright discussion of capitalism today that seeks to diagnosis and propose remedies for the anxieties shaping divisions between families, cities and nations. Staying away from clichés, ideology or populism, Collier calls our attention to pragmatism and the ‘hard centre’, and he is impressive in doing so in this notable book, writes Mehmet Emin Bayram.

Posted in: Book reviews
Brexit has shown the limits of Britain’s broken ‘Westminster model’ of politics

Brexit has shown the limits of Britain’s broken ‘Westminster model’ of politics

The results of the recent European Parliament elections demonstrate how the traditional model of UK politics based on two ‘main’ parties is fracturing under the pressures of the Brexit process. Jess Garland sets out some proposals for reforming the system in line with voters’ wishes for a more cooperative style of politics.

#DeniedMyVote – why many EU citizens were unable to vote in the European Parliament elections

#DeniedMyVote – why many EU citizens were unable to vote in the European Parliament elections

On Thursday 23 May, the UK participated in European Parliament elections. Citizens of all EU countries should be able to vote in these elections in the country they live, but many non-UK EU citizens found they had been excluded from the electoral register and were unable to vote. Toby James explains how the government’s long-term failure to improve our electoral laws and short-term pressures led to many people being denied their right to vote.