Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

In Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy, Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille examine how Western democracies are shaped by educational inequalities that lead to gaps in political participation and governments being dominated by academic elites. While some of the authors’ solutions for these ‘diploma democracies’ are less convincing, this is a very useful account of the influence of education on […]

How Parliament’s campaign of attrition forced the government to open up about Brexit

How Parliament’s campaign of attrition forced the government to open up about Brexit

The real battle over Brexit has not been about whether Parliament will get a final vote, writes Ben Worthy (Birkbeck University of London). The true fight is about information – about what kind of Brexit the government wants, and what its impact is likely to be. In this, Parliament has been rather successful. Pressure from select committees and […]

Outside the south-east, Britain’s towns are struggling to hold on to their young people

Outside the south-east, Britain’s towns are struggling to hold on to their young people

Many of Britain’s towns are shrinking; big-city Britain is largely thriving. Taking south Wales as an example of these divisions, Ian Warren explains why his new Centre for Towns will advocate for the future of our towns, particularly during a period when both major parties in the UK parliament appear committed to city regions. Similar PostsSadiq […]

Why is the North so hard to govern?

Why is the North so hard to govern?

Devolution has evolved into an uneven process, with much greater progress achieved in some parts of the country compared to others. But why is the North so difficult to govern? John Fenwick (Northumbria University) offers some explanations, and points to the north-east in particular as an area with a strong sense of regional identity but fluctuating, unclear […]

Do centre-right parties win back votes from the far right by talking about immigration?

Do centre-right parties win back votes from the far right by talking about immigration?

With the rise of far-right parties in Europe during the 2000s, some centre-right parties spotted an opportunity to win back votes by pivoting towards immigration. James F Downes (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Matthew Loveless (European University Institute) find that they were more successful if they were out of government at the time. Incumbent centre-right parties, […]

Book review | The Greens in British Politics: Protest, Anti-Austerity and the Divided Left

Book review | The Greens in British Politics: Protest, Anti-Austerity and the Divided Left

In The Greens in British Politics: Protest, Anti-Austerity and the Divided Left, James Dennison draws on statistical data as well as interviews with UK Greens to offer an account of the recent evolution of the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Green Party. While the book suffers from some repetition of content and its findings are […]

You Like this and I Like that: is Facebook just an echo chamber, or is something more complicated going on?

You Like this and I Like that: is Facebook just an echo chamber, or is something more complicated going on?

Does Facebook create ‘echo chambers’ for its users, or is something more complicated going on? Nick Anspach (York College of Pennsylvania) created mock News Feeds and found that seeing friends endorse and comment on political items made participants 25% more likely to select political news from sources with which they agreed – and 40% more likely […]

Votes at 16: we need a proper conversation about when adulthood begins

Votes at 16: we need a proper conversation about when adulthood begins

The vexed question of whether people should be allowed to vote from the age of 16 has returned to the Commons with Jim McMahon MP’s Private Member’s Bill. Many argue – citing the Scottish independence referendum – that it would provide a democratic stimulus. Yet the evidence for that is lacking, say Andy Mycock (University of […]

Brexit has blown open the unreconciled divisions in Northern Ireland

Brexit has blown open the unreconciled divisions in Northern Ireland

The British and Irish governments have long tried to keep a lid on the tensions in Northern Ireland. But Brexit, argues Duncan Morrow (Ulster University) has exposed the weaknesses of the Good Friday and St Andrew’s Agreements – deals that never required each side to give up their aims of ruling Northern Ireland alone. Now […]

Understanding Labour’s ingenious campaign strategy on Facebook

Understanding Labour’s ingenious campaign strategy on Facebook

The 2017 election saw a stronger than foreseen performance by the Labour Party. Matt Walsh explains how Labour’s Facebook success played out, heralding the party’s overall campaign performance. GE2017 was a numbers game: by achieving very high levels of organic reach, Labour managed to target undecided voters in marginal constituencies, energise voters who had drifted away from the […]

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