Extending human and civic rights

The good, the bad and the ugly arguments for ditching the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

The good, the bad and the ugly arguments for ditching the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

One of the most contentious pieces of legislation to be put before Parliament – the EU (Withdrawal) Bill – now faces scrutiny and probable amendments in the Lords. From a human rights perspective, writes Joelle Grogan (Middlesex University), one of the most concerning aspects of the Bill is the exclusion of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights from the corpus of EU law to be incorporated into UK law. She assesses the arguments being made to exclude it, concluding that the only plausible explanation for rejection of Charter rights is the rejection of rights.

American democracy sold to the highest bidder

American democracy sold to the highest bidder

If the quality of democracy is to be measured by the extent to which it constrains the economically dominant, then American democracy is failing, writes George Tyler. Recent research has shown how campaign financing is skewing policy influence towards top earners. This is in contrast to many northern European countries, which can offer practical models for the US to follow.   

Increasing ethnic minority representation: why both political parties and electoral districts matter

Increasing ethnic minority representation: why both political parties and electoral districts matter

National parliaments in Western democracies remain far whiter than the increasingly diverse populations they represent. Benjamin Farrer (Knox College) and Josh Zingher (Old Dominion University) find that the explanation for this lies in the interaction of local demographics and political parties, and that as a result centre-left parties in the US, UK and Australia have been more successful at getting ethnic minority candidates elected.  

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Accountability in a one-party system: the task of gauging public opinion in Vietnam

Vietnam is a one-party state: it is characterised variously as ‘not free’, ‘developmental’ and ‘responsive-regressive’. Dennis Curry explains how the UN Development Programme and a local think-tank worked together to get an insight into what citizens think of public service delivery and local governance. Their PAPI survey shows a growing concern for the environment, although it […]

Online abuse is driving women out of public life. It’s time to act

Online abuse is driving women out of public life. It’s time to act

Public scrutiny is one thing, but the degree of online abuse now suffered by female political candidates is another. The Independent Committee for Standards in Public Life has recommended that platforms be held liable for hate speech and incitement to violence – but, writes María Rún Bjarnadóttir (University of Sussex), domestic UK law currently does not […]

Book review | Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class, by the Working Class

Book review | Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class, by the Working Class

Inspired by the collection The Good Immigrant, Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class by the Working Class brings together 22 stories reflecting on working-class lives and experiences in the UK today. Edited by Nathan Connolly, this volume offers tales of sadness, struggle, resilience and resistance, all told with warmth and love, that show how class inequality is both personal and […]

The Chinese Communist Party has growing sway in Western universities

The Chinese Communist Party has growing sway in Western universities

In recent years, China has fostered academic links with Western universities by funding Confucius Institutes and sending its students to study abroad. As the recent uproar over the decision of Cambridge University Press to censor a list of journal articles for the Chinese market has highlighted, it also exerts growing influence in academic publishing. Alexander […]

Brian Klaas: ‘The incentives for a Trump 2.0 will be exactly the same as the incentives for Trump’

Brian Klaas: ‘The incentives for a Trump 2.0 will be exactly the same as the incentives for Trump’

In his first year in power, argues Brian Klaas (LSE), Donald Trump has deployed the tactics of despots and begun to corrode the institutions of US democracy. What happens next? Democratic Audit editor Ros Taylor talks to him about his new book, The Despot’s Apprentice. Similar PostsDisgusted by Donald Trump? Turning away from the spectacle […]

‘Gay’ or ‘homosexual’: the words we use can divide public opinion on civil rights

‘Gay’ or ‘homosexual’: the words we use can divide public opinion on civil rights

Words matter; different terms and phrases can have a huge influence on how the public thinks about important issues. For example, the term “homosexual” is more likely to be used to identify a group whom some feel are outside of society, while “gay and lesbian” are much more inclusive terms. In new research, Brianna A Smith and […]

We need to understand why states object to the presence of foreign-funded NGOs

We need to understand why states object to the presence of foreign-funded NGOs

More and more countries restrict how NGOs operate, often by limiting their funding. The response is frequently to argue that these restrictions flout international law or amount to crackdowns on the opposition. Annika E Poppe and Jonas Wolff (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt) argue that the objections to NGO activity need to be taken seriously. In […]