The realignment of European voters and parties over cultural values is transforming political competition

The realignment of European voters and parties over cultural values is transforming political competition

Over the past 40 years, both citizen and party elite opinions on economic and cultural issues have shifted, with increasing cultural cleavages gaining particular significance. Russell J Dalton demonstrates how these changes are transforming current European party competition and electoral dynamics.

Posted in: EU politics
Book Review | Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy by Siva Vaidhyanathan

Book Review | Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy by Siva Vaidhyanathan

In Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy, Siva Vaidhyanathan explores the paradoxically disconnective and antisocial character of social media, with a particular focus on Facebook.  Commendably accessible, this book will benefit anyone looking to understand the social-mediatised world in which we are deeply immersed, writes Ignas Kalpokas.

Posted in: Book reviews
How transparent and free from corruption is UK government?

How transparent and free from corruption is UK government?

For citizens to get involved in governing themselves and participating in politics, they must be able to find out easily what government agencies and other public bodies are doing. Citizens, NGOs and firms also need to be sure that laws and regulations are being applied impartially and without corruption.In an article from our book, The UK’s Changing Democracy: The 2018 Democratic Audit, Ben Worthy and the Democratic Audit team consider how well the UK government performs on transparency and openness, and how effectively anti-corruption policies operate in government and business.

The UK is heading towards a constitutional crisis over Brexit

The UK is heading towards a constitutional crisis over Brexit

As the clock runs down on Article 50, a political crisis is looking increasingly likely. However, Iain Begg argues that this could become a more damaging constitutional crisis if Parliament is unable to settle how Brexit proceeds.

Losing the ‘Europeanisation’ meta-narrative for modernising British democracy

Losing the ‘Europeanisation’ meta-narrative for modernising British democracy

Contrary to claims of Britain’s enduring political and constitutional distinctiveness, in the period from 1997 to 2016 the UK in fact modernised its polity by following several strong ‘Europeanisation’ trends. British democracy came to increasingly resemble other European liberal democracies in some fundamental ways. Yet now this meta-narrative may be lost following Brexit. Patrick Dunleavy explores some implications of the UK’s possible lapse back into rudderless idiosyncrasy.

Book Review | Making a 21st Century Constitution: Playing Fair in Modern Democracies by Frank Vibert

Book Review | Making a 21st Century Constitution: Playing Fair in Modern Democracies by Frank Vibert

In Making a 21st Century Constitution: Playing Fair in Modern Democracies, Frank Vibert explores the current state of constitutions, outlining why they have become outdated and suggesting ways in which they can be reworked to better meet the needs of democracies today. While readers may not agree with all of the book’s arguments, it provides interesting insight into how constitutions can overcome their democratic weaknesses and is a welcome addition to this increasing body of scholarship, finds Elyse Wakelin.

Posted in: Book reviews
Micro-institutions in liberal democracies: what they are and why they matter

Micro-institutions in liberal democracies: what they are and why they matter

Liberal democracies combine core ‘macro-institutions’ (like free elections and control by legislatures) with swarms of supportive ‘micro-institutions’. By contrast, semi-democracies keep only the façade of macro-institutions, subverting a range of critical micro-institutions so as to make political competition and popular control a hollow sham. Drawing on a new book, Patrick Dunleavy explains why these developments mean that political science has to get a lot more granular and sophisticated, instead of focusing just on ‘toy models’.

Auditing the UK’s democracy in 2018: Core UK governance institutions show sharply declining efficacy

Auditing the UK’s democracy in 2018: Core UK governance institutions show sharply declining efficacy

Today we are publishing The UK’s Changing Democracy: The 2018 Democratic Audit, a systematic assessment of the country’s democratic institutions, large and small. Previous audits of the UK’s democracy, including the most recent in 2012, have generally found that, overall, the quality of our democratic institutions have improved over the past twenty years. However, Patrick Dunleavy and Alice Park find that this year’s Audit shows unprecedented declines in the core institutions of the UK’s democratic system, particularly at the centre.

In comparative league tables of liberal democracies the UK’s democracy is judged to be First Division, but not Premier League

In comparative league tables of liberal democracies the UK’s democracy is judged to be First Division, but not Premier League

Ranking established liberal democracies against countries that are still developing a democratic polity risks awarding the long-lived countries ‘ceiling’ scores at the top of the table – feeding complacency amongst their elites and domestic publics that they can now rest easy on their laurels. However quantitative rankings typically do not treat the UK in this manner. Instead they assign it to a ‘good but not great’ category, well behind the states leading democratic good practice. For our new book, The UK’s Changing Democracy: The 2018 Democratic Audit, Patrick Dunleavy explores why.

Youthquake 2017: how the rise of young cosmopolitans in Britain could transform politics

Youthquake 2017: how the rise of young cosmopolitans in Britain could transform politics

In a new book, James Sloam and Matt Henn examine the much-disputed rise in political participation of 18–24 year olds in the UK. They find that the overwhelming majority share a set of cosmopolitan cultural values, which has significant implications for long-term voting patterns and the increasingly entrenched intergenerational politics.