20 things we learned about democracy in October 2014

20 things we learned about democracy in October 2014

What happened in October 2014 that democrats will find interesting? Lots, it turns out, including revelations about the position of names on ballot papers, drones, and of course UKIP. Sean Kippin rounds up 20 interesting pieces of information that made themselves known this month.  Similar Posts20 things we learned about democracy in August 2014 20 […]

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Unless greater heed is paid to political economy, devolution could become a red herring of democratisation

Unless greater heed is paid to political economy, devolution could become a red herring of democratisation

Following the Scottish independence referendum, devolution for England is back of the agenda, with regional devolution being revisited as an idea. But are we wrong to equate devolution with democracy, given that most consequential powers will still be in the hands of Whitehall? Craig Berry argues that the inadequate attention paid to political economy risks […]

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Now is the right time to introduce tough gender quotas for the Scottish Parliament

Now is the right time to introduce tough gender quotas for the Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament has a better record than Westminster in seeing women elected. Despite this, progress of late has stalled, with women’s representation now slipping backwards. Meryl Kenny and Fiona Mackay argue that the current ‘constitutional moment’ in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum provides an opportunity to get serious about the problem, and […]

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If they want to prove to voters that they are ‘just like us’, politicians must embrace their flaws

If they want to prove to voters that they are ‘just like us’, politicians must embrace their flaws

UKIP’s victory at the Clacton by-election underlined the growing distance between mainstream politicians and a cynical and distrustful electorate. In the first of our post-party conference blogs on political and democratic reform, Andrew S. Crines from the University of Leeds argues that politicians need to rediscover the classic art of political rhetoric. Similar PostsThe Coalition […]

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Levels of economic optimism are a key factor in determining voter turnout

Levels of economic optimism are a key factor in determining voter turnout

How important are wider economic conditions in determining election turnout in advanced industrial democracies? Troy Cruickshank argues that there is a strong link between the two, and that increased voter optimism about a country’s economic performance may be a key factor in determining who opts to turn out on election day.  Similar PostsAnti-politics and the 1% […]

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All parties should ignore calls for the Fixed Term Parliaments Act to be repealed

All parties should ignore calls for the Fixed Term Parliaments Act to be repealed

Labour recently announced its plan to keep the Fixed Term Parliament Act, which prevents an early election being called, should it win power at next May’s General Election. Petra Schleiter argues that those who are critical of the Act miss the key point that its adoption forced Prime Ministers to govern in a more inclusive way, […]

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Events in Iceland show that a UK constitutional convention should involve politicians as minimally as possible

Events in Iceland show that a UK constitutional convention should involve politicians as minimally as possible

Following the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the small country of Iceland decided to start afresh, and abandon its existing political and democratic institutions in favour of new, crowd-sourced arrangements. Thorvaldur Gylfason recounts the tale of how this idea was conceived and eventually abandoned thanks to political meddling. The lesson for the UK, he argues, is to keep […]

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Why democracy doesn’t always improve human rights

Why democracy doesn’t always improve human rights

The promotion of democracy has often formed a key component of strategies for improving human rights across the world. Courtenay R. Conrad writes that while this relationship between democracy and human rights is well established, in practice democratic institutions are not always capable of constraining human rights violations and in some cases may even make […]

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Modern Prime Ministers and Leaders of the Opposition do not engage with Parliament as much as their predecessors

Modern Prime Ministers and Leaders of the Opposition do not engage with Parliament as much as their predecessors

Whoever the individual office holder, the Prime Minister is always the countries pre-eminent leader, with an infrastructure and responsibilities to the whole country. But they are also a member of the House of Commons, equal in voting rights and in their responsibilities to their constituents. Michael Rush shows that modern Prime Ministers and Leaders of the Opposition […]

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Book Review: Sexual Diversity and the Sochi 2014 Olympics: No More Rainbows by Helen Jefferson Lenskyj

Book Review: Sexual Diversity and the Sochi 2014 Olympics: No More Rainbows by Helen Jefferson Lenskyj

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj backtracked on her decision to stop writing about the Olympics after hearing Russian athlete Yelena Isinbayeva condemn a Swedish athlete’s pro-LGBT rights rainbow painted fingernails. Against which historical and legal backdrop, Lenskyj wondered, did Isinbayeva claim that ‘Russia…has no gays and lesbians’? A breathtaking example of academic responsiveness to world events, No […]

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