Achieving accountable government

Plagued by delays: the June election is bad news for the Intelligence and Security Committee

Plagued by delays: the June election is bad news for the Intelligence and Security Committee

The only two female members of the Intelligence and Security Committee are leaving the Commons at the general election, and the whole Committee will have to be re-formed after June. Andrew Defty says one of its reports has been rushed out before the election with the government’s redactions unchallenged, and a long-delayed inquiry into the UK intelligence […]

This snap election will weaken Parliament just when it needs to scrutinise Brexit

This snap election will weaken Parliament just when it needs to scrutinise Brexit

In the event, the Fixed Term Parliaments Act proved no impediment to Theresa May when she decided to call a snap election. Jeff King argues that Labour and the Lib Dems should not have accepted a ploy that is constitutionally problematic. May’s reasons for calling the vote are flimsy, and Parliament will be weakened as […]

A personality cult that plays on popular fears: how Erdoğan won the Turkish referendum

A personality cult that plays on popular fears: how Erdoğan won the Turkish referendum

Turkey has narrowly voted to approve a set of reforms that will place more power in the hands of President Tayip Recep Erdoğan, giving him the ability to appoint judges, abolish the office of prime minister and curtail the role of parliament. Tahir Abbas explains how the febrile atmosphere of the past two years – […]

Over-mighty executive: since 1997, Britain has been drifting towards elective dictatorship

Over-mighty executive: since 1997, Britain has been drifting towards elective dictatorship

Since 1997, simple parliamentary majorities have been used to radically alter the constitutional make-up of the UK. Devolution and the creation of the Supreme Court have transformed the country’s institutions. Nat le Roux argues that this is evidence of a growing imbalance of power. The executive can change the institutions of state at will – often […]

To fend off populism, we must stop believing in the will of the People

To fend off populism, we must stop believing in the will of the People

Populists rely on an idea of the people as a single, united force. Unfortunately, argues Luke Temple, traditional conceptions of democracy itself depend on a very similar notion. Unity and concordance is prized. This makes it difficult to challenge the underlying basis of populists’ arguments. But there is another way of understanding democracy – as […]

Hidden dragon: why is Wales ignored in London and inadequately reported at home?

Hidden dragon: why is Wales ignored in London and inadequately reported at home?

A healthy democracy needs mechanisms that enable citizens to understand the political process and engage in the functioning of politics. But achieving such an understanding is proving a major problem for Wales. Craig Johnson reflects on the broader problems caused by the inadequate reporting of Welsh politics – not just in the country itself, but […]

Letting the sun shine in – for a while: why (most) US presidents embrace openness

Letting the sun shine in – for a while: why (most) US presidents embrace openness

Most US politicians with ambitions to shake up the status quo say they want more openness in government – though many of them go off the idea after they acquire power. Donald Trump, however, is not interested in either open government or the usual nods to transparency that presidential candidates offer. But as he is […]

If you believe Brexit is a mistake, you have a democratic duty to oppose it

If you believe Brexit is a mistake, you have a democratic duty to oppose it

Is there a duty to implement the EU referendum result? Not if you believe it to be a profound mistake, argues Albert Weale. We cannot sensibly and intelligibly use the language of ‘the will of the people’ in respect of the referendum result. It is not simply a device for the registering of the preferences of […]

Book review | The Cabinet Office 1916-2016, by Anthony Seldon

Book review | The Cabinet Office 1916-2016, by Anthony Seldon

The Cabinet Office: 1916-2016, written by Anthony Seldon with Jonathan Meakin, offers a detailed history of the Cabinet Office from its creation during World War I up to the present as well as the 11 Cabinet Secretaries that have served as part of this constant, if somewhat hidden, presence in the otherwise changing political landscape of the UK. […]

Never mind NICs: gender budgeting reveals the Spring Budget’s true impact on poorer women

Never mind NICs: gender budgeting reveals the Spring Budget’s true impact on poorer women

Last week’s Spring Budget failed to reverse a series of cuts that effectively take away money from poorer women and give it to better-off men. The Treasury has a duty to pay due regard to the impact of its policies on women, but it is not doing so. Mary-Ann Stephenson and her colleagues at the […]

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