Author Archive: Democratic Audit UK

rss feed YouTube

Author's Website →

Postal votes and allegations of electoral fraud in Peterborough’s by-election

Postal votes and allegations of electoral fraud in Peterborough’s by-election

Timothy Peace and Parveen Akhtar discuss the allegations of electoral malpractice in the recent Peterborough by-election in which Labour won by 683 votes. While an initial police inquiry found that no offences were revealed, they explain why certain areas are more susceptible to such claims than others.

The importance of regime similarity to explain democratic diffusion

The importance of regime similarity to explain democratic diffusion

Studies of democratic diffusion have generally emphasised the role of geography in explaining waves of democratisation. Edward Goldring and Sheena Chestnut Greitens show that regime type has been significantly under-appreciated. Dictatorships often break down and even democratise along networks of similar regimes rather than via geographical proximity. Their work has important implications for questions of authoritarian survival and durability, as well as understanding the diffusion of political phenomena across the world, including in the UK.

The populists’ trap: mainstream responses to populist new parties are a threat to democracy

The populists’ trap: mainstream responses to populist new parties are a threat to democracy

New populist and nativist parties have emerged in many western democracies as a response to large-scale economic transformations, argues Stephane Wolton. The reaction by established parties in trying to imitate their anti-immigrant policies have dangerous consequences for our democratic norms.

Academics and experts make the case for modernising Britain’s antiquated election rules

Academics and experts make the case for modernising Britain’s antiquated election rules

The House of Commons’ Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs committee has been gathering evidence on the rules governing the UK’s elections. Michela Palese from the Electoral Reform Society summarises key areas in need of reform.

New political parties can mobilise dissatisfied voters who share populist attitudes

New political parties can mobilise dissatisfied voters who share populist attitudes

With the economic crisis in 2008, ‘new parties’ emerged across European societies. Hugo Marcos-Marne, Carolina Plaza-Colodro and Tina Freyburg show that next to citizens’ economic assessments, voting for new parties also depends on populist attitudes. Their work underpins the importance of a deepening crisis of representation, amid which new parties are able to set links with the electorate that go beyond pure economic concerns.

What does Boris Johnson’s political record tell us about his prospects as Prime Minister?

What does Boris Johnson’s political record tell us about his prospects as Prime Minister?

As Conservative MPs whittle the contest to be next leader of the party – and so next Prime Minister – down to a final two who will face the party membership, Ben Worthy assesses the record of the clear frontrunner, Boris Johnson, and what his time as London Mayor and Foreign Secretary indicate about his aptitude for the top job.

Book Review | A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum

Book Review | A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum

In A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy, Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum identify and outline the emergence of a new type of conspiracist thinking in our contemporary moment, showing it to pose a fundamental threat to democratic functioning. While questioning whether the book ascribes too much intentionality to those engaging in ‘the new conspiracism’, this is nonetheless a timely and important conceptualisation, writes Ignas Kalpokas. 

The Brex Factor: how a citizens’ assembly on Brexit could learn from reality TV

The Brex Factor: how a citizens’ assembly on Brexit could learn from reality TV

Some politicians and political scientists have suggested that a citizens’ assembly would be the best way to build public consent for any Brexit solution. For this to work, argues Conor Farrington, any initiative would need to innovate to engage the public, and in this it could learn from mass television entertainment.

In the name of parliamentary sovereignty: how the conflict between the UK government and the courts over prisoner voting rights was really about executive power

In the name of parliamentary sovereignty: how the conflict between the UK government and the courts over prisoner voting rights was really about executive power

In UK political disputes over European Court of Human Rights judgments, such as the high-profile objections to rulings on prisoner voting, much political capital is made out of the claim that the European Court is impinging on UK parliamentary sovereignty. However, Helen Hardman argues that the objections have instead been based on concern that court rulings would limit the decision-making powers of the government, rather than the independence and sovereignty of parliament. Archival and interview data demonstrate that the strategic purpose of the stand-off against the European Court was directed at weakening the European Convention system because it empowers UK domestic courts to effectively challenge government policy.

Book Review | Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik

Book Review | Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik

In Posh Boys: How the English Public Schools Ruin Britain, Robert Verkaik explores the role that public schooling plays in reproducing inequality in Britain, showing how public schools enable wealthy families to pass down their privilege to their children who subsequently have greater access to the most lucrative and powerful areas of British society. Grounded in statistical evidence, this is a valuable contribution to debates surrounding social mobility in the UK, writes Ross Goldstone.