Grand corruption and the authoritarian turn

Grand corruption and the authoritarian turn

If incoming governments in liberal democracies wish to use public contracts to benefit those loyal to them, they face institutional constraints. To implement corrupt procurement strategies they would need to sabotage these checks and balances. By comparing procurement data from Hungary and the UK, Liz Dávid-Barrett and Mihály Fazekas can identify the relative effect of such anti-democratic institutional changes, as seen in Hungary, on government patronage.

Evidence from Australia: women are under-represented in senior political appointments, and this affects the representation of women in parliament

Evidence from Australia: women are under-represented in senior political appointments, and this affects the representation of women in parliament

Political advisers can help shape public policy. They are also often the politicians of the future, so it matters who they are. Using a unique data resource from Australia, Marija Taflaga and Matthew Kerby tracked men’s and women’s differing career trajectories in Australian government over time, and found that men were more likely to reach senior levels, and then more likely to enter parliament.

Criticisms of the Westminster model of politics are not new: can the system survive the latest  wave of anti-politics?

Criticisms of the Westminster model of politics are not new: can the system survive the latest wave of anti-politics?

Criticisms of the highly centralised, elitist, top-down Westminster model are by no means new. Consecutive Prime Ministers – from Blair to May – vowed to take on vested powers and interests, challenge the status quo, and change the way politics is conducted. Yet, as Patrick Diamond, David Richards, and Alan Wager show, they have all failed to deliver their promises. While another wave of anti-politics is looming, they ask how the established parties will accommodate it.

Book Review | The Populist Radical Left in Europe edited by Giorgios Katsambekis and Alexandros Kioupkiolis

Book Review | The Populist Radical Left in Europe edited by Giorgios Katsambekis and Alexandros Kioupkiolis

In The Populist Radical Left in Europe, editors Giorgios Katsambekis and Alexandros Kioupkiolis bring together contributors to explore populist radical left movements across Europe, discussing examples including Greece’s Syriza, Spain’s Podemos, Slovenia’s Left Party, France’s France Insoumise and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, among others. This is an engaging and engaged work of political science, writes Anton Jäger, that provides a necessary moment of reflection on what left populism means, stands for and aims to achieve. 

Posted in: Book reviews
The US Supreme Court has decided partisan gerrymandering is outside its remit. A democratic restoration now depends on the people alone.

The US Supreme Court has decided partisan gerrymandering is outside its remit. A democratic restoration now depends on the people alone.

The United States Supreme Court has determined that reviewing partisan gerrymandering cases was outside the remit of federal courts. Alex Keena, Michael Latner, Anthony J. McGann and Charles Anthony Smith argue that in failing to recognise the vote dilution caused by the redrawing of a state’s electoral district boundaries to the party in power’s advantage, as well as connecting the majority rule standard to the 14th Amendment, the decision removes Americans’ fundamental right to participate equally in the political process.

The Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25) and the limitations of transnational populism

The Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25) and the limitations of transnational populism

Can you create an electorally successful left populist movement beyond the nation state? Benjamin Moffitt, Benjamin De Cleen, Panos Panayotu and Yannis Stavrakakis examine the transnational populist European movement DiEM25, which stood in several countries in the recent European Parliament elections, and considers its prospects in establishing an electorally competitive movement at the transnational level.

From the European debt crisis to a culture of closed borders: how issue salience changes the meaning of left and right for perceptions of the German AfD party

From the European debt crisis to a culture of closed borders: how issue salience changes the meaning of left and right for perceptions of the German AfD party

Political parties are traditionally described as being on a left-right spectrum according to their economic policies. However, socio-cultural dynamics also contribute to the public perception of parties. Looking at the case of Alternative für Deutschland, Heiko Giebler, Thomas M. Meyer and Markus Wagner show how shifting issue salience from one to the other both by the party and voters affects how the party is perceived in terms of left and right.

Posted in: political parties
Book Review | Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

Book Review | Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

In Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Safiya Umoja Noble draws on her research into algorithms and bias to show how online search results are far from neutral, but instead replicate and reinforce racist and sexist beliefs that reverberate in the societies in which search engines operate. This timely and important book sheds light on the ways that search engines impact on our modes of understanding, knowing and relating, writes Helen Kara.

Posted in: Book reviews
Postal votes and allegations of electoral fraud in Peterborough’s by-election

Postal votes and allegations of electoral fraud in Peterborough’s by-election

Timothy Peace and Parveen Akhtar discuss the allegations of electoral malpractice in the recent Peterborough by-election in which Labour won by 683 votes. While an initial police inquiry found that no offences were revealed, they explain why certain areas are more susceptible to such claims than others.

The importance of regime similarity to explain democratic diffusion

The importance of regime similarity to explain democratic diffusion

Studies of democratic diffusion have generally emphasised the role of geography in explaining waves of democratisation. Edward Goldring and Sheena Chestnut Greitens show that regime type has been significantly under-appreciated. Dictatorships often break down and even democratise along networks of similar regimes rather than via geographical proximity. Their work has important implications for questions of authoritarian survival and durability, as well as understanding the diffusion of political phenomena across the world, including in the UK.

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