Author Archive: Democratic Audit UK

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Reforming Whitehall: bluff, bluster, brilliance and brains

Reforming Whitehall: bluff, bluster, brilliance and brains

Geoff Mulgan assesses Dominic Cummings’ proposals for reforming government and argues that, while bringing new people and ideas into Number 10 can be welcome, there are several pitfalls, not least in failing to learn from past attempts at reform.

How internet voting could help to make more votes count

How internet voting could help to make more votes count

Trials for online voting have been introduced in a handful of countries, and the evidence for whether it can improve access to voting and turnout is still sparse. However, looking at the case of Geneva canton, Micha Germann argues that there is a potential further benefit: online voting platforms can be designed to help voters avoid inadvertent ballot errors, and so reduce ‘lost votes’.

Book Review | No. 10: The Geography of Power at Downing Street by Jack Brown

Book Review | No. 10: The Geography of Power at Downing Street by Jack Brown

Few front doors are as instantly recognisable as that of 10 Downing Street, but can its interior tell us anything worthwhile about politics? In No. 10: The Geography of Power at Downing Street, Jack Brown argues that not only have individual UK Prime Ministers shaped the building during their tenure, but the capacity and shape of No. 10 have also influenced the role of the PM and the machinery around it. Packed with anecdotes and descriptions, this is a novel analysis, writes Artemis Photiadou, that successfully makes the case for incorporating No. 10 into future studies of British politics.

Most populist radical right parties across Europe are not eager to leave the EU

Most populist radical right parties across Europe are not eager to leave the EU

After the 2016 Brexit referendum, there was speculation that other Eurosceptic parties across the EU would try to capitalise on the result and advocate their own countries’ exit. However, Stijn van Kessel finds that any initial enthusiasm among populist radical right parties for EU-exit quickly faded, and most have been muted or equivocal in their Euroscepticism, concentrating instead on more immediate concerns of voters, who generally do not prioritise the EU.

Female parliamentarians still face a motherhood penalty, but the evidence globally suggests it can be ended

Female parliamentarians still face a motherhood penalty, but the evidence globally suggests it can be ended

It has long been assumed that female politicians face a trade-off between having a family life and a successful parliamentary career, while their male colleagues do not. Devin Joshi and Ryan Goehrung find that, while female MPs are still more likely to be unmarried and have fewer children, the gap in parental and marital status of members of parliament varies considerably internationally. They argue that by implementing social reforms to reduce gender inequality, and introducing specific reforms to create more inclusive parliaments, this gap could be closed worldwide.

Australian politics shows why the de-separation of political and administrative careers matters for democracy

Australian politics shows why the de-separation of political and administrative careers matters for democracy

One cornerstone of executive politics in established liberal democracies has long been a system for controlling government corruption and malfeasance that separates out clear roles for the changing elite of elected politicians and their advisers, and the permanent administrators running the civil service. Yet in Australia Keith Dowding and Marija Taflaga find that the growing role of special advisers, plus increased mobility from adviser roles into career public-service pathways, is now an integral factor in the re-emergence of substantial ministerial scandals.

Book Review | Unjust Borders: Individuals and the Ethics of Immigration by Javier Hidalgo

Book Review | Unjust Borders: Individuals and the Ethics of Immigration by Javier Hidalgo

In Unjust Borders: Individuals and the Ethics of Immigration, Javier S. Hidalgo makes a clear and engaging case for open borders, arguing that immigration control is unjustly coercive and outlining the responsibilities we have as individuals when it comes to responding to this injustice. This book is essential reading for scholars studying migration and policymakers policing it, writes Mollie Gerver, as well as for all citizens deciding what to do in a world where borders remain closed and movement remains curtailed.

The case of Fratelli d’Italia: how radical-right populists in Italy and beyond are building global networks

The case of Fratelli d’Italia: how radical-right populists in Italy and beyond are building global networks

With several parties in Italy competing on the right and far right, Valerio Alfonso Bruno and James F. Downes look at the recent growth in support for Fratelli d’Italia. They argue that this party is building domestic support, along with a network of contacts of likeminded populist radical right actors globally, which demonstrates the increased mainstreaming of populist radical right ideas in liberal democracies.

What happens when the voting age is lowered to 16? A decade of evidence from Austria

What happens when the voting age is lowered to 16? A decade of evidence from Austria

Lowering the voting age to 16 is being discussed in several countries, but how do 16- and 17-year-olds compare to older first-time voters? In a new book chapter, Julian Aichholzer and Sylvia Kritzinger answer this question by looking at a decade of empirical evidence from Austria, where voting at 16 was introduced for national elections in 2007. Overall, they find that the evidence is encouraging for supporters of voting age reform, with younger citizens in general voting more than older first-time voters and expressing relatively high levels of trust in democratic participation. This has implications for policy-makers and contributes to an evidence-based debate about youth political engagement and electoral turnout.

Book Review | Populism by Benjamin Moffitt

Book Review | Populism by Benjamin Moffitt

In Populism, Benjamin Moffitt offers a new study that looks to assess the current state of scholarship on populism. Going a significant way to providing the clarity that can be so lacking when it comes to understanding populism, this is an essential textbook that Jake Scott recommends to anyone looking for an entry into the field.