Author Archive: Democratic Audit UK

rss feed YouTube

Author's Website →

Book Review | Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime by Bruno Latour

Book Review | Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime by Bruno Latour

In Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Bruno Latour explores the political and philosophical challenges proper to a time defined by an environmental and socio-economic crisis. Rodrigo Muñoz-González welcomes this energetic, compelling and provocative attempt to find an alternative vision to the contradictory and flawed project of modernity. 

Reading political tea leaves: forecasting British general election results

Reading political tea leaves: forecasting British general election results

Political polling has faced difficulties during recent UK elections. Drawing on methods used for US elections and elsewhere, Philippe Mongrain therefore proposes a new forecasting model, which takes into account the state of the economy, the cost of ruling for the incumbent party, leadership approval ratings and previous election results, and offers some improvements on existing polls for forecasting the vote share of all contending parties.

There is a massive class and race-based chasm in digital activism in the US

There is a massive class and race-based chasm in digital activism in the US

A great deal of research and commentary about online spaces focuses on who consumes online content and how. But what about those who are producing content online? In new research, Jen Schradie looks at activism in North Carolina around labour laws, and finds that middle and upper class groups are much more likely to be digital activists, while working class – and predominantly African American – groups are not using online spaces for activism as much. She writes that not only do most working-class activists simply not have the time to be online, but they also frequently do not feel empowered to use online spaces for activism, an issue which can be made worse by fears about retaliation from employers. 

Book Review | Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems edited by Steven Wolinetz and Andrej Zaslove

Book Review | Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems edited by Steven Wolinetz and Andrej Zaslove

In Absorbing the Blow: Populist Parties and their Impact on Parties and Party Systems, editors Steven Wolinetz and Andrej Zaslove bring together contributors to help understand the impact of populism upon different party systems across Europe. This is not only an important contribution to scholarship on populism, writes Toygar Sinan Baykan, but also a highly illustrative, up-to-date introduction to the contemporary politics of many European countries. 

The deep roots of the trust crisis

The deep roots of the trust crisis

Sigmund Freud, the public affairs industry and the internet may all have played a part in declining levels of public trust, write Isabelle Stanley and Rod Dowler. Measures to restore trust could include independent media fact-checking and research and greater transparency in political donations.

Are there any benefits to divided parliamentary parties?

Are there any benefits to divided parliamentary parties?

Intra-party dissent is generally considered a bad thing – for parties seeking power and for voters wishing to make sense of political conflicts. However, using a survey experiment to test people’s responses to different forms of intra-party policy disputes, Eric Merkley finds that there are circumstances in which voters find moderate divisions useful as cues for evaluating policy choices in light of their own preferences.

Why geography matters: MPs with constituencies a long distance from Westminster choose different ways to represent their voters

Why geography matters: MPs with constituencies a long distance from Westminster choose different ways to represent their voters

MPs face demands on their time in both Westminster and their constituency. The greater the distance between the area they represent and Parliament, the more this requires trade-offs. David M. Willumsen finds that the type of parliamentary activities an MP takes part in is affected by the distance of their constituency from Westminster, which has implications for the principle of equal representation

Self-regulation is not enough: The law on micro-targeted online political campaigns and big data needs reform

Self-regulation is not enough: The law on micro-targeted online political campaigns and big data needs reform

Election campaigning has changed radically with the growth of data-driven social media campaigns – most notably during the EU referendum campaign. The UK’s election law has not kept up. As part of a new report by the Electoral Reform Society, Bethany Shiner considers proposals for changes to the law to cover both the content of these campaigns and the methods of communication, and concludes that the enforcement of regulations for online political campaigns cannot be left to technology companies like Facebook.

Book Review | National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin

Book Review | National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy by Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin

In National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin offer a concise examination of the rise of national populism, seeking to challenge some of the established views regarding this political shift. While elements of the book’s analysis do engage in simplification, Simon Kaye nonetheless finds this a succinct, striking and thought-provoking work. 

The ‘hourglass’ pattern of representation: why political parties are key to electing more women to parliament

The ‘hourglass’ pattern of representation: why political parties are key to electing more women to parliament

The underrepresentation of women in politics is often portrayed as a pyramid, with the main problem identified as too few at the top. However, research by Ulrik Kjær and Karina Kosiara-Pedersen, shows that, in the case of Denmark, it follows an hourglass pattern, with underrepresentation worst at the intermediary stages of party membership and candidate identification. This suggests that party strategies for encouraging women to stand are important for improving representation.