Lord Anthony Giddens to give 20th Policy & Politics Annual Lecture on the Politics of Climate Change

Lord Anthony Giddens
Lord Anthony Giddens

UPDATE – THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. You can still #askgiddens a question during the lecture via our live twitter feed @policy_politics


We are delighted to welcome Lord Anthony Giddens to speak on the Politics of Climate Change at our Annual Lecture on the evening of 17th March 2015 in the Great Hall of the Wills Building at the University of Bristol. The lecture is free of charge to attend though numbers are limited so tickets must be booked in advance at bit.ly/1y0vM2Q

Climate change is arguably one of the greatest threats to a stable future for humanity. Lord Giddens’s book The Politics of Climate Change (Bill Clinton called it ‘A landmark study in the struggle to contain climate change, Continue reading

The politics of behaviour change: Nudge, neoliberalism and the state

Will LeggettWill Leggett, School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham, discusses his article, ‘The politics of behaviour change: Nudge, neoliberalism and the state’ which is free to download in January 2015.

In 2013 there was controversy when it emerged in the UK that unemployed jobseekers had unwittingly been used as guinea pigs for a government experiment. They had been told to complete an online psychometric questionnaire called ‘MyStrengths’, with the threat of benefit withdrawal if they did not comply. Having entered their answers, participants were presented with apparently personalised electronic messages of ‘positive reinforcement’ eg that their answers had demonstrated a ‘love of learning’. But it later transpired that no matter what answers were entered, everybody received exactly the same messages. The real objective had been to indiscriminately instil positive psychology among the Continue reading

Democracy, Inequality and Power is the theme of our 2015 Policy & Politics conference

Bristol Marriot Royal Hotel
Bristol Marriot Royal Hotel

Join us at the Marriott Royal Hotel in Bristol on 15th and 16th September to debate the relationship between democracy, inequality and power. This year will mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta providing an opportunity to reflect on the failures and successes of democratic policy and politics in the UK and around the world.

Some of the issues we’ll be discussing include:

  • austerity politics and the disproportionate impacts on society’s most vulnerable,
  • increased awareness of disparities in relation to electoral and political participation amongst a range of social groups (leading to concerns about ‘a divided democracy’),
  • the reshaping of the relationship between government, business and civil society,
  • rising ‘urbanisation’ and associated concerns about the governance of place, space and territory,
  • developments in information and communication technology and its impact on citizens’ engagement with politics and public services,
  • civic unrest linked to demands for democracy, equality and transparent government,
  • human rights initiatives around gender, age, race, disability and sexuality, and
  • a reconfiguration of the role of the mass media and social media in policy and politics.

Continue reading

Rip It Up and Start Again: Parliamentary Politics, Destruction and Renewal

Matthew Flinders
Matthew Flinders

by Matthew Flinders, Co-Editor of Policy & Politics

This blog was originally published on the Oxford University Press blog.

‘London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down; London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady’. ‘Oh no it’s not!’ I hear you all scream with oodles of post-Christmas pantomime cheer but Parliament is apparently falling down. A number of restoration and renewal studies of the Palace of Westminster have provided the evidence with increasingly urgency. The cost of rebuilding the House? A mere two billion pounds! If it was any other building in the world its owners would be advised to demolish and rebuild. Let’s design for democracy – Let’s do it! Let’s rip it up and start again!

The Georgian Parliament Building might be a rather odd place to begin this New Year blog about British politics but the visionary architecture behind the stunning new building in Kutaisi offers important insights for those who care about British politics.

Put very simply, the architecture and design of a building says a lot about the values, principles and priorities of those working within it. The old parliament building in Tblisi was a stone pillared fortress that reflected the politics of the soviet era whereas the new parliament is intended to offer a very public statement Continue reading

Policy & Politics 2015 – A Year to Remember

Felicity Matthews
Felicity Matthews

by Felicity Matthews, Associate Editor of Policy and Politics

Happy New Year, everyone!  I don’t know about you, but I am so looking forward to having a quiet and uneventful 2015.  Boring, even.  Nothing on the horizon other than uninterrupted expanses of nothingness…  If only!  As if!  This is 2015!  The year of the general election!  The battle to save the NHS!  The battle to save party politics as we know it!  This is 2015!  The 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta!  The 750th anniversary of the first English parliament!  The 70th anniversary of VE Day!

Quite clearly, 2015 is already lining up to be a year to remember.  A year in which democracy is both celebrated and put to the test; a year in which party lines and battle lines are drawn; a year in which identities and alliances are simultaneously dismantled and forged anew.  And quite clearly, 2015 is lining up to be a year of unprecedented Continue reading