Achieving accountable government

Female cabinet picks: just one more way in which Trump is exceptional

Female cabinet picks: just one more way in which Trump is exceptional

Donald Trump’s cabinet is exceptional in many ways, not least because the share of women in the executive has fallen since the Obama era – even as recent decades have seen it grow all over the world. What effect does government ideology have on cabinet picks? The literature suggests left-wing governments tend to appoint more women. But […]

International finance has wrested power from democracies. We must reclaim control over the production of money

International finance has wrested power from democracies. We must reclaim control over the production of money

Democracy has failed to protect society from the predatory behaviour of global financial markets, writes Ann Pettifor. Drawing on her new book, she explains why the monetary system has made society vulnerable, and how it needs to be transformed. Similar PostsThe real lesson from the financial crisis is that we need to stop insulating financial […]

Learning from that £1,600 duck house: now Australia tries to get to grips with parliamentary expenses

Learning from that £1,600 duck house: now Australia tries to get to grips with parliamentary expenses

Australia is to get a new authority to oversee parliamentary expenses claims, and it will be modelled on Britain’s IPSA – which was also set up after a major expenses scandal. Anika Gauja and Marian Sawer say the new rules will improve transparency and accountability. But do they go far enough – specifically, in ensuring […]

Resistance will come. But will Trump heed it? Lessons from Arendt and Skowronek

Resistance will come. But will Trump heed it? Lessons from Arendt and Skowronek

Mere weeks into his presidency, commentators are already having difficulties in characterising Donald Trump’s administration. Daniel Kato says rereading Hannah Arendt and Stephen Skowronek may provide some clues in deciphering the new president’s behaviour. Skowronek’s writings point to an ‘institutional thickening’ that may continue to emerge to check Trump, as it has done with out-of-control presidents in […]

Submarine May can’t slip back under the waves. Keeping Brexit negotiations secret is impossible

Submarine May can’t slip back under the waves. Keeping Brexit negotiations secret is impossible

The story of Brexit has been that of a would-be secretive government forced to become more open about its intentions, writes Ben Worthy. Pressure from select committees, the media and freedom of information requests – compounded by a stream of leaks – means we now know what kind of Brexit we will have. But he […]

What would voters be asked in a second EU referendum – and would they get it?

What would voters be asked in a second EU referendum – and would they get it?

If – and it’s a big if – the government were to call a second EU referendum, what question would it ask? And would it be able to deliver the answer? In this extract from a new UCL European Institute working paper, Alan Renwick examines the likelihood, terms and outcome of any ‘second round’ vote. […]

‘But what are you protesting FOR?’ What democracy means to those who protest for it

‘But what are you protesting FOR?’ What democracy means to those who protest for it

Drawing on research in four capital cities, Armine Ishkanian explains how activists view democracy. She explains why protesters often reject representative democracy in favour of more direct forms – giving them something in common with the right-wing populist movements that elected Donald Trump and helped lead to the Brexit vote. Large-scale public protest is likely to […]

It’s time for an end to special religious privileges: we need a secular state

It’s time for an end to special religious privileges: we need a secular state

Should the Anglican peers in the Lords be joined by religious leaders from other faiths? Ought the BBC be required to make religious programmes? Should religious groups enjoy more legal protection? The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life set out 37 recommendations – which, argues Steven Kettell, are deeply problematic in a society […]

Book review | Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government

Book review | Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government

In Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government, Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. Bartels challenge the ‘folk’ version of democracy that presumes that voting is undertaken by the ‘omnipotent, sovereign citizen’. Instead, they argue that voters tend to base their decision-making on partisan loyalties, leaving the current democratic system open to […]

Contrary to recent reports, coups are not a catalyst for democracy

Contrary to recent reports, coups are not a catalyst for democracy

Coups used to be associated with the rise of dictatorial regimes – but since the Cold War, many have been followed by elections. Yet the regimes that emerge are often undemocratic. Oisín Tansey says these elections are frequently window-dressing and are held in order to secure favourable trade deals and placate international organisations. More often than not, coups […]

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