Author Archive: Democratic Audit UK

rss feed YouTube

Author's Website →

Why it’s bad for democracy when we ignore the voices we would rather not hear

Why it’s bad for democracy when we ignore the voices we would rather not hear

Democracy requires that citizens be empowered to speak their minds across a wide range of issues. But in order to ensure democratic equality, do we have to include and listen even to those hateful, racist, or misogynistic voices that would seek to undermine democracy? Mary F. (Molly) Scudder argues that it is only with reference to the concept of ‘uptake’ that we can effectively deal with anti-democratic speech and arguments. She argues that if we first consider and critically engage with what others have to say, we are then justified in rejecting their input and even shutting them down. Focusing on the importance of uptake in democratic deliberation, she argues,can sound the alarm – alerting people to threats to democracy – while also helping to ensure that the voices of the marginalised and oppressed are not dismissed or ignored.

Who is the Leader of the Opposition?

Who is the Leader of the Opposition?

David Howarth explains the legislation and parliamentary rules that determine who is recognised as the official Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. The political implications of these procedures are significant, given current discussions about who would form a government if the current one were to lose a vote of no confidence.

England’s local elections 2019: Part 2 – Rainbow and other coalitions

England’s local elections 2019: Part 2 – Rainbow and other coalitions

In the second of two articles reporting the outcomes of May’s local elections, Chris Game looks in detail at how a high number of multi-party ‘Rainbow’ coalitions have been agreed, and highlights how, behind certain patterns of participation, there are numerous varieties of governing pacts – which, perhaps, Westminster politicians could learn from.

Do populist-leaning citizens support direct democracy?

Do populist-leaning citizens support direct democracy?

Populist parties across Europe often support direct democracy, for example through frequent referendums. Do their voters support these initiatives too and why? Tina Freyburg, Robert Huber and Steffen Mohrenberg distinguish between citizens who support direct democracy as a way of giving power to ‘the people’ and those, known as stealth democrats, who do so out of a scepticism that politicians can be effective. They find that both sets of attitudes independently are associated with support for direct democracy, and argue that the distinction is crucial to furthering the debate about populism in Europe.

Book Review | Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, The Periphery and the Future of France by Christophe Guilluy

Book Review | Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, The Periphery and the Future of France by Christophe Guilluy

In Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, The Periphery and the Future of France, Christophe Guilluy sets out the predicament of the ‘left-behind’ regions of France and excoriates the elites that have presided over their decline. While Guilluy does make a novel set of claims about the working-class response to recent political developments, peripheral France requires a more granular analysis than that found in this book, writes John Tomaney, which offers polemic over convincing scholarship.

Brexit and parliamentary legitimation: beyond constitutional minutiae

Brexit and parliamentary legitimation: beyond constitutional minutiae

David Judge writes that, while much of the discussion around Brexit and Parliament is about procedure and conventions, it should also be about the bigger picture: what does Brexit tell us about the fundamental principles of the UK’s parliamentary state and representative democracy?

England’s local elections 2019: council outcomes from ‘no overall control’ results

England’s local elections 2019: council outcomes from ‘no overall control’ results

With the two main parties losing hundreds of council seats, and the Lib Dems, Greens and Independents gaining across England in May’s local elections, the number of councils where no single party had a majority increased in 2019. In the first of two articles, Chris Game details how this has shaped governing outcomes for English councils ­– and demonstrates why reporting political coalitions in local government matters.

When parliaments’ second chambers are reformed and the implications for democracy

When parliaments’ second chambers are reformed and the implications for democracy

In recent years there have been several attempts by Western European governments to reform second chambers, including in the UK, though the majority of proposals have failed to pass. Michelangelo Vercesi assesses the conditions when such reforms are proposed, and finds that they are often instigated during times of democratic strain when the governing party wishes to reduce the number of veto players. However, the reforms tend to fail when there is not a broad consensus for the proposals, which has implications for considering when a democracy is able to instigate reforms.

Book Review | Citizens of Nowhere: How Europe can be Saved from Itself by Lorenzo Marsili and Niccolo Milanese

Book Review | Citizens of Nowhere: How Europe can be Saved from Itself by Lorenzo Marsili and Niccolo Milanese

In Citizens of Nowhere: How Europe can be Saved from Itself, Lorenzo Marsili and Niccolo Milanese offer an innovative look at citizenship, grounded in the development of a transnational civil society sphere across Europe. This is an ambitious, perceptive and clear-sighted argument for a transnational citizenship and politics, writes Ben Margulies, that also details the political project required to make this a reality.

How increasing civic participation reshaped the democratic space during Congo’s 2018 elections

How increasing civic participation reshaped the democratic space during Congo’s 2018 elections

The long-delayed elections in Congo at the end of 2018 brought to an end the presidency of Joseph Kabila after 18 years, though there was evidence of widespread electoral irregularities and fraud. However, Koen Vlassenroot, Godefroid Muzalia, Emery Mudinga and Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka found that there were positive signs of growing civic engagement and democratic participation during these elections, despite ongoing problems with the militarisation of Congolese politics.