EU politics

Conservative Brexiteers are offering unserious answers to serious questions in Northern Ireland: the consequences for the Union are significant

Conservative Brexiteers are offering unserious answers to serious questions in Northern Ireland: the consequences for the Union are significant

Proposals from backbench Brexiteer MPs as to how to resolve the border question in Northern Ireland fail to address the problem of maintaining a common set of standards with Ireland post-Brexit. Sean Swan argues that, given public opinion in England, a customs border in the Irish Sea, with divergence between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a likely outcome.

The dismantling of the State since the 1980s: Brexit is the wrong diagnosis of a real crisis

The dismantling of the State since the 1980s: Brexit is the wrong diagnosis of a real crisis

Abby Innes writes that the vote to leave the EU and the administrative chaos around it pull into focus the crisis we should have been talking about before: the failures of homegrown neoliberal policies and their dire implications. She argues that while Brexit has been heralded by supporters as a solution to a number of problems, what it will actually do is to accelerate to the point of ‘completion’ the already failed experiments to reform the state.

The Italian populist government is voluntarily heading towards the next political crisis (and it may have the upper hand)

The Italian populist government is voluntarily heading towards the next political crisis (and it may have the upper hand)

It is often assumed that once ‘populist’ parties sting (achieve a political breakthrough), they are likely to wither away and die. Valerio Alfonso Bruno and James F. Downes argue that this is not happening in Italy. They outline how its populist government, led by the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League (Lega), may be ‘strategically’ leading the country into another political crisis that will enable them to retain the upper hand in Italian politics.

Should the rest of the EU follow Austria in reducing the voting age to 16?

Should the rest of the EU follow Austria in reducing the voting age to 16?

For the last decade, Austria has been the only country in the EU that allows voting at the age of 16 at all political levels. Paul Schmidt assesses whether this could offer a future model for the EU, and the possible lessons that can be learned from the Austrian experience.

The electoral decline of social democratic parties and the rise of the radical right in Europe during the refugee crisis

The electoral decline of social democratic parties and the rise of the radical right in Europe during the refugee crisis

Social democratic parties have experienced a significant electoral decline across Europe in recent years. James F. Downes and Edward Chan draw on the latest election data in demonstrating that social democratic parties have lost out considerably in the ongoing refugee crisis period, with populist radical right parties gaining considerably from this decline and achieving a high degree of electoral success at the ballot box. These results have important implications for the future of social democratic parties and for liberal democracy across Europe.

Radical right success and mainstream parties’ anti-immigrant policy shifts

Radical right success and mainstream parties’ anti-immigrant policy shifts

Radical right parties have seen increasing electoral success throughout Europe. What does this imply for parties and party systems? Do established mainstream parties adjust their policy positions in response to successful radical right parties? If yes, is this ‘contagious effect’ restricted to specific party families or is this an overall trend within European politics? Tarik Abou-Chadi and Werner Krause investigate these questions and find that mainstream parties adjust their policy strategies when confronted with a successful radical right challenger and shift toward more anti-immigrant positions. Using a novel research design, they can demonstrate that these shifts are not just a response to changing public opinion but can be causally attributed to the success of the radical right.

Understanding the ‘rise’ of the radical left in Europe: it’s not just the economy, stupid

Understanding the ‘rise’ of the radical left in Europe: it’s not just the economy, stupid

A considerable amount of attention has been paid to understanding the electoral rise of populist radical right parties in Europe. However, much less research has focused on understanding the recent electoral fortunes of the populist radical left across Europe. James F. Downes, Edward Chan, Venisa Wai and Andrew Lam argue that three key factors, in the form of the 2008–13 economic crisis, the decline of the centre left and Euroscepticism can partly explain the post-crisis electoral growth of populist radical left parties in Europe. In addition, it is important to note that this electoral growth is higher than centre left and right parties, but considerably lower than populist radical right parties.

A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

A changing democracy: the British political tradition has never been more vulnerable

Never before has the British political tradition been more contested, write Matthew Hall, David Marsh and Emma Vines. They explain that British democracy is facing three major challenges – Scottish independence, Brexit, and anti-politics – and these have the potential to force change on an otherwise stale political establishment.

We need to talk (more) about deliberative democracy in the EU

We need to talk (more) about deliberative democracy in the EU

Criticism of the EU’s ‘democratic deficit’ has become increasingly prominent since the financial crisis. Firat Cengiz writes that democracy in the EU would benefit from methods allowing citizens to participate more directly in policymaking. She argues for a form of deliberative democracy to be implemented at the European level and provides some practical suggestions for how this could be achieved.

Book Review | The UK after Brexit: Legal and Policy Challenges edited by Michael Dougan

Book Review | The UK after Brexit: Legal and Policy Challenges edited by Michael Dougan

In the edited collection The UK after Brexit: Legal and Policy Challenges, Michael Dougan brings together contributors to explore the key challenges facing the UK legal system and broader public policy environment following the UK Brexit vote and resulting de-Europeanisation process. This comprehensive work gives prime insight into the profound restructuring of the UK’s institutional landscape that may be on the horizon, writes Jim McConalogue.