Author Archive: Democratic Audit UK

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Book Review | The Constitution of India: A Contextual Analysis by Arun K. Thiruvengadam

Book Review | The Constitution of India: A Contextual Analysis by Arun K. Thiruvengadam

In The Constitution of India: A Contextual Analysis, Arun K. Thiruvengadam provides a concise introduction to the Indian Constitution, with insights not only into its history but also the political and legal events that have contributed to its evolution. Sania Ismailee recommends this accessible and engaging book to anyone who is keen to understand the underpinnings of the constitutional system in India.

Unpaid internships in Parliament are a barrier to widening political participation

Unpaid internships in Parliament are a barrier to widening political participation

Many people who work in Parliament have previously worked unpaid for MPs, or found their current job through personal connections. Rebecca Montacute argues that to create a Parliament that is trusted and better represents the electorate, it is time to change these practices to ensure people from less privileged backgrounds have equal opportunities to pursue a career in politics.

Voters are crying out for better information about elections – here’s your opportunity to help

Voters are crying out for better information about elections – here’s your opportunity to help

Voters in the UK need more information about elections and candidates, particularly for local elections. Joe Mitchell, a director at Democracy Club, invites you to come and help provide it for them.

This government has already lost the confidence of the House of Commons: the response should be to replace the government, not to neuter parliament

This government has already lost the confidence of the House of Commons: the response should be to replace the government, not to neuter parliament

The government and Parliament cannot agree how to proceed with Brexit. For some, the solution is for the government to prorogue Parliament and implement its Withdrawal Agreement without the confidence of the Commons. David Howarth argues that given the Fixed Term Parliament Act means a general election will not necessarily follow from such a loss of confidence, a new government formed by MPs from across the Commons is a viable option.

Book Review | Conservative Moments: Reading Conservative Texts edited by Mark Garnett

Book Review | Conservative Moments: Reading Conservative Texts edited by Mark Garnett

In Conservative Moments: Reading Conservative Texts, Mark Garnett brings together essays that reflect on a plethora of figures across the past two millennia of conservatism, including Edmund Burke, David Hume, Alexander Hamilton, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Margaret Thatcher. The book presents a condensed yet detailed account of conservative thought, writes Benjamin Law, that will leave readers with valuable nuggets of information and questions to ponder. 

Dissatisfaction with democracy in Europe is primarily a function of how well citizens perceive their political system to perform, and not of rising expectations

Dissatisfaction with democracy in Europe is primarily a function of how well citizens perceive their political system to perform, and not of rising expectations

Is democratic dissatisfaction caused by critical citizens’ high expectations? By measuring the gap between expectations and evaluations, Lea Heyne finds that dissatisfaction is not, in fact, caused by voters having increased demands of what a democratic system should be like, but that the gap between expectations and evaluations matters, and for liberal democratic values, citizens’ assessments of democratic performance is most significant.

How not to recruit postal voters in the UK

How not to recruit postal voters in the UK

Joshua Townsley and Stuart Turnbull-Dugarte tested the ability of parties to recruit postal voters in a field experiment carried out during the 2018 local elections in London. The result? Sending personal letters persuading voters to become postal voters is not an effective recruitment technique.

Can voters influence social policy?

Can voters influence social policy?

One of the fundamental promises of electoral democracy is that voters influence governments’ policies. However, whether voters actually have such an influence remains an open question, with recent public debate and academic research often answering ‘no’. In a large-scale study of citizens’ preferences, Marc Hooghe, Ruth Dassonneville and Jennifer Oser investigate the extent to which there is a relationship between the political position of citizens and social policy in a broad range of countries over time. They find that, while there is no direct correlation between citizens’ preferences and their country’s social policy, high electoral turnout and the composition of the governing cabinet do have an effect.

Book Review | How to Save a Constitutional Democracy by Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq

Book Review | How to Save a Constitutional Democracy by Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq

In How to Save a Constitutional Democracy, Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq focus on the structural forces that can break democratic societies and the role the constitutional system plays in democratic failure as well as its prevention. The book’s clear and engaging approach makes it a valuable contribution to scholarship on democracy and authoritarianism, recommends Lorenzo Canepari.

A tale of two failures: poor choices and bad judgements on the road to Brexit

A tale of two failures: poor choices and bad judgements on the road to Brexit

How did we get where we are on Brexit? Many major political events are shaped by institutions and long-term social changes, but the political choices of leaders matter too. Ben Worthy assesses how the short-term decisions of David Cameron and Theresa May have led to this avoidable Brexit mess.