Three fast lessons and three slow lessons for UK democracy in 2019

Three fast lessons and three slow lessons for UK democracy in 2019

The Brexit process has exposed serious flaws to the UK’s democratic institutions. In this post, based on a speech given at the launch of The UK’s Changing Democracy: The 2018 Democratic Audit, Joelle Grogan outlines six democratic lessons we should learn in 2019. The book is published by LSE Press, and can be downloaded for free here.

Choosing winning candidates in proportional systems does not increase voter satisfaction

Choosing winning candidates in proportional systems does not increase voter satisfaction

Does expressing a preference for winning candidates as well as voting for a political party improve electoral satisfaction? Damien Bol and his colleagues test whether flexible-list PR improves voter satisfaction using the case of Belgium, and finds that – contrary to expectation – voting for winning candidates does not increase voters’ satisfaction with electoral outcomes compared with ‘party-list’ voters.

Book Review | Everyday Economics: A User’s Guide to the Modern Economy by Steve Coulter

Book Review | Everyday Economics: A User’s Guide to the Modern Economy by Steve Coulter

For many of us, economics appears too abstract and rooted in assumptions that make individuals seem unfamiliar as human subjects. In Everyday Economics: A User’s Guide to the Modern Economy, Steve Coulter seeks to tackle these perceptions by offering an accessible take on economics that shows how it has relevance to different aspects of our everyday lives, from health to shopping and housing. Coulter does an admirable job of breaking down barriers to the discipline, finds Barton Edgerton.

Posted in: Book reviews
Has the gender gap in voter turnout really disappeared?

Has the gender gap in voter turnout really disappeared?

While the gender gap in electoral representation is widely acknowledged, it is often assumed that there is no equivalent underrepresentation of women in voter turnout. However, Filip Kostelka, André Blais and Elisabeth Gidengil find that, while women vote in equal numbers in first-order national elections, less high-profile local and supranational elections still see a disparity in turnout between men and women, which has implications for equal participation.

Review of the year: Democracy in 2018

Review of the year: Democracy in 2018

We have reached the end of the year without a UK general election or referendum, but 2018 has been one of the most eventful, crisis-riven years in UK democracy (since the last one). Meanwhile, globally democracy seems under threat even in established liberal democracies. Below is a selection of our articles from throughout the year that have sought to make sense of what’s happening in the UK and across the globe.

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They’re making a list: the inexorable rise of the special political adviser

They’re making a list: the inexorable rise of the special political adviser

The government has released its annual data on the number of special advisers it employs. Andrew Defty assesses the figures and discusses how the numbers have grown over successive governments.

What party competition in England will look like after European Parliament elections end

What party competition in England will look like after European Parliament elections end

European Parliament elections may not have been popular, but they used proportional representation – something which England’s national elections lack. Heinz Brandenburg looks at what this means for smaller parties, which have a hard time making headway under the first-past-the-post system.

Confidence motions, humble addresses and amendments: Brexit’s procedural dilemmas

Confidence motions, humble addresses and amendments: Brexit’s procedural dilemmas

Brexit has revealed some of the tools that govern the legislative process and how these interact with party politics. Louise Thompson summarises the key procedural dilemmas faced in the Commons so far, and explains why things could get even more complicated in 2019.

 ‘Votes for life’ for overseas electors? Principles, process and party politics

 ‘Votes for life’ for overseas electors? Principles, process and party politics

A Private Member’s Bill to extend the franchise to all British citizens living abroad is currently under consideration in Parliament. Susan Collard explains how these proposed reforms, which have significant implications for democratic participation, have become caught up in parliamentary procedure and partisan disputes.

Book Review | Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics edited by James Muldoon

Book Review | Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics edited by James Muldoon

In Council Democracy: Towards a Democratic Socialist Politics, editor James Muldoon brings together contributors to reopen discussion of councilist ideas and movements and to take the scholarship into new realms. While the chapters evidence the continuing tensions within the literature, this is a welcome and important contribution to the revival of this deeply emancipatory form of democratic socialism, writes Babak Amini. 

Posted in: Book reviews