Author Archive: Democratic Audit UK

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Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

Constitutional change in local government: council backbench committees have the potential to enhance overview and scrutiny

The Wright reforms of the House of Commons’ select committees increased the effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny in Westminster. Andrew Coulson (Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham) assesses whether the proposed Betts reforms to local authority oversight and scrutiny committees could do the same for local government.  Similar PostsA mess of pottage? The North of Tyne deal and the travails of devolutionHow Parliament’s campaign of attrition forced the […]

Book Review | Developing England’s North: The Political Economy of the Northern Powerhouse edited by Craig Berry and Arianna Giovannini

Book Review | Developing England’s North: The Political Economy of the Northern Powerhouse edited by Craig Berry and Arianna Giovannini

In Developing England’s North: The Political Economy of the Northern Powerhouse, editors Craig Berry and Arianna Giovannini bring together contributors to explore different facets of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ as announced in a Manchester speech by then UK Chancellor, George Osborne. This is a valuable collection that shows the incoherence and ineffectiveness of the NP, and the urgent need to develop […]

The illusionary norm of political stability: the unruly democratic politics of the United Kingdom

The illusionary norm of political stability: the unruly democratic politics of the United Kingdom

Democratic politics in the UK is currently rife with conflict because this multi-national state encourages it, writes Helen Thompson (University of Cambridge). Maintaining political stability has historically required prudence and pragmatic restraint. Minority governments and more frequent elections have occurred when the UK’s economic and political relationships with the rest of the world are disputed, and […]

Beyond anecdotes on lowering the voting age: new evidence from Scotland

Beyond anecdotes on lowering the voting age: new evidence from Scotland

The question whether to lower the voting age in the UK has been the subject of ongoing debate. Jan Eichhorn (University of Edinburgh) writes that, although much of the discussion has been based around normative arguments and personal stories, it is crucial to review the evidence so that the empirical arguments prevail. Similar PostsJust how much do […]

The European Parliament is more representative of European citizens than we give it credit for

The European Parliament is more representative of European citizens than we give it credit for

Does the European Parliament adequately represent the views of European citizens? Drawing on a recent study, Miriam Sorace (LSE) illustrates that while the Parliament is often criticised for being too distant from its voters, it is far more representative of the views of voters than commonly thought. Nevertheless, a lack of information about European election campaigns, as […]

Powerful or warm? Liberal and conservative voters favour different traits in a politician

Powerful or warm? Liberal and conservative voters favour different traits in a politician

A politician’s personality has always been important to voters. Lasse Laustsen (Aarhus University) carried out analyses of American and Danish data to find out which character traits most appeal to liberal and conservative voters. Liberals – who take a more benevolent view of human co-operation – tend to prefer warm, co-operative individuals; conservatives, mindful of […]

Book Review | English Uprising: Brexit and the Mainstreaming of the Far Right by Paul Stocker

Book Review | English Uprising: Brexit and the Mainstreaming of the Far Right by Paul Stocker

In England Uprising: Brexit and the Mainstreaming of the Far Right, Paul Stocker offers a historical account of the rise of far-right movements in the UK from the early twentieth century to the present, showing how the gradual mainstreaming of far-right discourse impacted upon the recent UK Brexit vote. This book is an excellent primer for those looking […]

A mess of pottage? The North of Tyne deal and the travails of devolution

A mess of pottage? The North of Tyne deal and the travails of devolution

John Tomaney (University College London) focuses on the proposed deal between government and the North of Tyne area. He explains why it fails to meet the government’s own definition of appropriate devolution arrangements, and why local government leaders have nonetheless accepted it. Similar PostsBeyond metro mayors and ‘secret deals’: rethinking devolution in EnglandSouthern Powerhouse: A chaotic […]

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Vietnam is a one-party state: it is characterised variously as ‘not free’, ‘developmental’ and ‘responsive-regressive’. Dennis Curry explains how the UN Development Programme and a local think-tank worked together to get an insight into what citizens think of public service delivery and local governance. Their PAPI survey shows a growing concern for the environment, although it […]

Immobility and support for Leave: Brexit was partly a reaction to change from the locally rooted

Immobility and support for Leave: Brexit was partly a reaction to change from the locally rooted

Popular explanations of the Brexit vote have centred on the division between cosmopolitan internationalists who voted Remain, and geographically-rooted individuals who voted Leave. Katy Morris, Neil Lee, and Thomas Kemeny write that residential immobility also matters. They explain why those living in their county of birth were more likely to support Leave. However, the impact of immobility was filtered […]

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