How the partisan context of parliamentary votes affects MPs’ party loyalty on free votes

How the partisan context of parliamentary votes affects MPs’ party loyalty on free votes

To measure the extent to which MPs make decisions about how to vote out of agreement with a policy or party loyalty, Christopher D. Raymond measured the variation in MPs’ voting behaviour in a series of free votes. He found that the closeness of each parliamentary division affected MPs’ voting behaviour, indicating that loyalty to their party, and the desire for a partisan win, has an effect independently of an MP’s own position and the party whip.

Book Feature: Interview with Nine Dots Prize winner James Williams on new book Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

Book Feature: Interview with Nine Dots Prize winner James Williams on new book Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

Are digital technologies making politics impossible? This question launched the Nine Dots Prize in October 2016, a new award for creative thinking in the social sciences that seeks to encourage innovative, interdisciplinary responses to the pressing issues of our time. Chosen from over 700 applicants, James Williams was announced as the inaugural winner last year with his resulting book, Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy, published on 31 May 2018 by Cambridge University Press in hard copy and open access formats. We spoke to James about the book and becoming the first recipient of the Nine Dots Prize. 

Posted in: Book reviews
A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

Never before has the British political tradition been more contested, write Matthew Hall, David Marsh and Emma Vines. They explain that British democracy is facing three major challenges – Scottish independence, Brexit, and anti-politics – and these have the potential to force change on an otherwise stale political establishment.

We need to talk (more) about deliberative democracy in the EU

We need to talk (more) about deliberative democracy in the EU

Criticism of the EU’s ‘democratic deficit’ has become increasingly prominent since the financial crisis. Firat Cengiz writes that democracy in the EU would benefit from methods allowing citizens to participate more directly in policymaking. She argues for a form of deliberative democracy to be implemented at the European level and provides some practical suggestions for how this could be achieved.

Posted in: EU politics
Electoral observation missions promote competitive elections in autocracies

Electoral observation missions promote competitive elections in autocracies

As elections have become more frequent across all regimes, Electoral Observation Missions (EOM) have increased their presence around their world. However, it has not always been clear whether EOM have an impact, and what exactly that is. Nasos Roussias and Rubén Ruiz-Rufino addressed this issue, examining elections from more than 100 countries around the world between 1976 and 2009. They show that EOM presence results in improvements of the competitiveness of elections, but only in autocracies, where they reduce margins of victory for incumbents and increase the likelihood that the opposition will take over, whereas they have no traceable impact in democracies.

Why the Grieve amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill is not unconstitutional

Why the Grieve amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill is not unconstitutional

On Wednesday, 20 June, the House of Commons will consider again amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill intended to give Parliament a meaningful vote on the Brexit negotiations, particularly in the case of no deal being agreed. Ben Margulies considers the constitutional implications of these highly contentious proposals.

Maine’s election shows that ranked-choice voting is popular in the US right now. But we have been here before.

Maine’s election shows that ranked-choice voting is popular in the US right now. But we have been here before.

Voters in the Pine Tree State have chosen to continue using ranked-choice voting in state-wide elections. Jack Santucci explains that ranked-choice voting is likely to be adopted in polarised political environments, creating majorities where there currently are none, and as a reaction to unpopular politicians who have won without majorities of votes. He reminds us that the current era of polarisation is similar to that of one hundred years ago, the last time ranked-choice voting was in fashion.

Book Review | Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility by Jo Littler

Book Review | Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility by Jo Littler

In Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power and Myths of Mobility, Jo Littler offers a rich analysis that intricately teases out the grasp ‘merit’ and ‘meritocracy’ have on everyday cultural and social narratives of value and power in contemporary society. This is a rewarding contribution to the shared work of challenging hegemonic, neoliberal myths that uphold the status quo, recommends Sarah Burton, and to the building of a better and fairer world. 

Posted in: Book reviews
Reproducing the political class: how socialisation makes MPs more loyal to their parties

Reproducing the political class: how socialisation makes MPs more loyal to their parties

What are the drivers of party discipline in the House of Commons? Evidence from survey data suggests that the socialisation process of new MPs as they learn from colleagues is a key factor in their subsequent loyalty, writes Nicholas Dickinson.

Tommy Robinson and the UK’s post-EDL far right: how extremists are mobilising in response to online restrictions and developing a new ‘victimisation’ narrative

Tommy Robinson and the UK’s post-EDL far right: how extremists are mobilising in response to online restrictions and developing a new ‘victimisation’ narrative

After protests in London following the imprisonment of far-right activist Tommy Robinson, William Allchorn examines the changing strategies of the UK’s fringe extreme-right groups in recent months, which include a concerning revival of street protest, mobilising around a narrative of victimisation.

Posted in: Uncategorized