Informing and engaging citizens

Book review | Guilty Men – the Brexit Edition, by Tim Oliver

Book review | Guilty Men – the Brexit Edition, by Tim Oliver

Brexit is as big and dangerous a mistake as that of appeasement in the 1930s. So argues Cato the Younger in his book Guilty Men: Brexit Edition, reviewed here by Tim Oliver. Taking up the pen of his great grandfather, whose 1940 book of the same name destroyed the reputations of those responsible for appeasement, Cato the Younger is no […]

Neighbourhood Forums: six years old, and less powerful than they thought they might be

Neighbourhood Forums: six years old, and less powerful than they thought they might be

Created by the Localism Act in 2011, Neighbourhood Development Plans were hailed as a way to give local people more say in planning issues. But some of the conflicts that have ensued between Neighbourhood Forums and local councils show how difficult it is to shift power downwards, writes John Sturzaker (University of Liverpool). Cases in […]

The EU is extraordinarily complex. But do we want to simplify it?

The EU is extraordinarily complex. But do we want to simplify it?

The EU’s institutional architecture is often regarded as being too complex for citizens to properly engage with, and both Jean-Claude Juncker and Emmanuel Macron have recently proposed some form of simplification – such as merging the President of the European Commission with the President of the European Council, or shrinking the Commission. Dimiter Toshkov argues that while […]

Referendum campaigns end up convincing voters that their preferred party is right

Referendum campaigns end up convincing voters that their preferred party is right

When people are deciding how to vote in a referendum, do they take their cue from party loyalty or by listening to the debate and making up their own minds? When Céline Colombo (University of Zurich) and Hanspeter Kriesi (European University Institute) analysed two Swiss referendums, they found that voters do pay attention to the arguments. But during […]

Many government consultations are more about meeting legal requirements than listening

Many government consultations are more about meeting legal requirements than listening

Consultations are often a legal requirement for government departments – but this sometimes means they are formulaic and ineffective. In an extract from his report, Creating a democracy for everyone: strategies for increasing listening and engagement by government, Jim Macnamara (University of Technology Sydney/ LSE) looks at some of the failings of government consultation, and […]

Inheritance, patriarchy, the social contract: the perils of invoking ‘generation’ in politics

Inheritance, patriarchy, the social contract: the perils of invoking ‘generation’ in politics

Generation is a pivotal concept in contemporary politics, but not enough attention is paid to the way in which it operates ideologically. Ben Little and Alison Winch explain the different meanings of generation in political culture – which originated when Edmund Burke invoked the concept to bind people to the state – and highlight the tension between them. […]

Why democracies need open-minded introverts

Why democracies need open-minded introverts

In a well-functioning democracy, voters connect their own policy preferences to the political party that best represents them. Aaron Dusso’s new book examines how individual psychologies and people’s innate tendencies towards introversion or extroversion affects this ability. He finds that the more extroverted someone is, the less likely they are to successfully match their subjective policy […]

Making it easier to vote hasn’t cut health-related inequality in turnout. Quite the opposite

Making it easier to vote hasn’t cut health-related inequality in turnout. Quite the opposite

Conscious that people with disabilities and health problems may find it difficult to vote, some countries have tried to make it easier for them by introducing mobile polling stations and proxy or advance ballots. But as Hanna Wass, Mikko Matila (both University of Helsinki), Lauri Rapeli and Peter Söderlund (both Åbo Akademi University) write, these measures […]

Join us at the LSE for the launch of our 2017 Audit of UK Democracy

Join us at the LSE for the launch of our 2017 Audit of UK Democracy

On Thursday 12 October at 6.30pm Democratic Audit is launching our 2017 Audit of UK Democracy at the LSE with a discussion of the Grenfell disaster’s lessons for local government, public housing and social justice. Speakers include Lynsey Hanley, the author of Estates: An Intimate History, Prof Colin Copus and Prof Patrick Dunleavy, the co-director of Democratic […]

Eleanor Mills: women are still portrayed through the lens of a male, pale and stale establishment

Eleanor Mills: women are still portrayed through the lens of a male, pale and stale establishment

A new report by Women in Journalism, “The Tycoon and the Escort: The business of portraying women in newspapers”, shines a light on the extent to which British media offer a male-dominated interpretation of society. The title refers to the description used in the coverage of the murder by a businessman of his lover, which as the […]

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