Informing and engaging citizens

Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Does the online tool WriteToThem foster meaningful communication with constituents?

Some predicted the internet would be the silver bullet that could deal with the deficits of representative democracy. Others were less optimistic about its potential to foster democracy. Hartwig Pautz (University of the West of Scotland) looks at whether the e-democracy tool WriteToThem allows for meaningful communication between citizens and their elected representatives. Similar PostsEveryone loves select committees […]

Corbyn’s rent controls: radical new housing policy, or just rhetoric?

Corbyn’s rent controls: radical new housing policy, or just rhetoric?

If there is one thing that Labour and Conservatives currently have in common, it is that both appear ready to embark on a step change in housing policy. But are Jeremy Corbyn’s recent announcements on rent controls a sign of change, or just another new political language for ‘masterly inactivity’? Ben Pattison (Sheffield Hallam University) reviews Labour’s […]

Why has Turkmenistan’s despotic president created the characteristics of a democracy?

Why has Turkmenistan’s despotic president created the characteristics of a democracy?

The incumbent President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, was duly elected in February with almost 98% of the vote. But why did a man with such a firm grip on power – he has ruled since 2007 – bother to hold elections at all? Why take the risky step of allowing other candidates to run and […]

Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

Book review | Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy

In Diploma Democracy: The Rise of Political Meritocracy, Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille examine how Western democracies are shaped by educational inequalities that lead to gaps in political participation and governments being dominated by academic elites. While some of the authors’ solutions for these ‘diploma democracies’ are less convincing, this is a very useful account of the influence of education on […]

Outside the south-east, Britain’s towns are struggling to hold on to their young people

Outside the south-east, Britain’s towns are struggling to hold on to their young people

Many of Britain’s towns are shrinking; big-city Britain is largely thriving. Taking south Wales as an example of these divisions, Ian Warren explains why his new Centre for Towns will advocate for the future of our towns, particularly during a period when both major parties in the UK parliament appear committed to city regions. Similar PostsSadiq […]

Do centre-right parties win back votes from the far right by talking about immigration?

Do centre-right parties win back votes from the far right by talking about immigration?

With the rise of far-right parties in Europe during the 2000s, some centre-right parties spotted an opportunity to win back votes by pivoting towards immigration. James F Downes (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Matthew Loveless (European University Institute) find that they were more successful if they were out of government at the time. Incumbent centre-right parties, […]

Book review | The Greens in British Politics: Protest, Anti-Austerity and the Divided Left

Book review | The Greens in British Politics: Protest, Anti-Austerity and the Divided Left

In The Greens in British Politics: Protest, Anti-Austerity and the Divided Left, James Dennison draws on statistical data as well as interviews with UK Greens to offer an account of the recent evolution of the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Green Party. While the book suffers from some repetition of content and its findings are […]

You Like this and I Like that: is Facebook just an echo chamber, or is something more complicated going on?

You Like this and I Like that: is Facebook just an echo chamber, or is something more complicated going on?

Does Facebook create ‘echo chambers’ for its users, or is something more complicated going on? Nick Anspach (York College of Pennsylvania) created mock News Feeds and found that seeing friends endorse and comment on political items made participants 25% more likely to select political news from sources with which they agreed – and 40% more likely […]

Understanding Labour’s ingenious campaign strategy on Facebook

Understanding Labour’s ingenious campaign strategy on Facebook

The 2017 election saw a stronger than foreseen performance by the Labour Party. Matt Walsh explains how Labour’s Facebook success played out, heralding the party’s overall campaign performance. GE2017 was a numbers game: by achieving very high levels of organic reach, Labour managed to target undecided voters in marginal constituencies, energise voters who had drifted away from the […]

Republicans give more to charity – but not because they oppose income redistribution

Republicans give more to charity – but not because they oppose income redistribution

Who gives more to charity – Republicans or Democrats? Michael Sances (University of Memphis) and Michele Margolis (University of Pennsylvania) found that conservative Americans donate more, even when socio-economic differences are taken into account. Could this be because they support a smaller role for the state, or as an effort to signal their philanthropic credentials? […]