Matt Flinders reflects on the changing nature of democratic politics and asks whether a focus upon all things ‘post’ – post-Trump, post-Brexit, post-truth, post-democratic, etc. – has prevented scholars and social commentators from looking beyond or beneath the populist signal.
This blog post was originally published on the LSE British Politics and Policy blog.
Although there is no doubt that we live in ‘interesting times’, I cannot help but think that there is something incredibly boring, possibly even myopic, about most of the political analysis that is surrounding recent events. A clichéd sameness, defined by narratives of impending democratic doom, wrapped-up in notions of ‘crisis’, ‘disaster’, ‘hatred’, and ‘death’ that tend to flow into (and out of) dominant interpretations of post-Trump, post-Brexit, post-truth, post-democratic politics. The contemporary democratic debate is arguably cocooned within its own intellectual echo chamber that specialises in problem identification but falls short in terms of a more vibrant brand of design-orientated, solution-focused political science. Continue reading What kind of democracy is this? Scholars must look beyond the populist signal
By Céline Mavrot (Researcher at the KPM Center for Public Management of the University of Bern) and Fritz Sager (Professor of Political Science at the KPM Center for Public Management of the University of Bern).
This post was originally published on Discover Society on 6th June 2017.
Against the backdrop of the current US-American presidency, the Brexit referendum campaign and the decision of the Hungarian government to drive its university of highest repute – the Central European University – out of the country, the fake news epidemic and the related question of the relationship between scientific evidence and democracy are all over the academic agenda. Scientific evidence generally is expected to make policies more coherent: addressing the right target groups, increasing the efficiency of their implementation and increasing their effectiveness. In her recent blog on the subject, Caroline Schlaufer goes beyond this functionalist view of scientific evidence and argues that the use of scientific evidence has also been found to improve democratic debates: Evidence-based arguments make democratic campaigns more rational. Informed citizens are reluctant to attack opponents on a personal basis which increases the deliberative quality of the discourse. However, this is not all. As we argue in our recent article in Policy & Politics, the use of evidence can encourage coherent policy formulation over different tiers in federal systems by creating vertical networks of expertise.
Continue reading Expertise and policies: How to take advantage of multilevel systems to develop policy solutions
Text by Sarah Brown based on Paul Thomas’ article: Changing Experiences of responsibilisation and contestation within counter-terrorism policies: the British Prevent experience
Britain’s Prevent Strategy was arguably the first post 9/11 attempt to operationalise ‘soft’, preventative counter-terrorism policies and it has been since significantly studied and copied by other states. Such preventative counter-terrorism policies adopted internationally have proved to be controversial, as fierce criticisms of Britain’s Prevent strategy have shown.
Continue reading So-called ‘toxic’ Prevent scheme to halt radicalisation has been misrepresented new research shows
By Matthew Flinders, Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics, University of Sheffield
This post was originally published on The Conversation on 9 June 2017.
The 2017 general election was a once-in-a-generation opportunity that the Tories fumbled and Labour exploited to remarkable effect. The Tories managed to spook older voters and thereby alienate a core constituency; Labour, meanwhile, both connected with younger people and somehow got them to actually vote in large numbers.
All political scholars should beware reaching too quickly for their pens, keyboards or quills; to adapt the old adage, “write in haste, repent at leisure”. Nonetheless, it strikes me that a seismic shift has occurred in British politics. It is now clear that Theresa May’s gamble has been a catastrophic failure. With a hung parliament, the UK’s negotiating position on Brexit looks to be in tatters. Theresa May asked the British public to show its support for a “hard” Brexit, but the public declined. Continue reading A seismic shift has occurred in British politics
By Matt Flinders
A shorter version of this blog post was originally published by Prospect magazine.
When is a wobble not a wobble? This might not seem the most obvious question to be asking in the context of the current General Election campaign but that’s exactly what makes it so important. Could it be that Theresa May’s recent backtracking on the costs of social care was nothing of the kind? Instead part of a more subtle game of preparing the public for tough choices that will inevitably have to be taken? Have we just witnessed the political equivalent of a footballers fake dive? Continue reading Opinion Editorial: The Lady is not for Wobbling: Mrs May, social care and spending political capital
Felicity Matthews (University of Sheffield), Co-Editor of Policy & Politics
“Politics in Interesting Times”. Has ever a conference title been so apt, or provided such a unifying theme? This year’s PSA Conference, held at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, was host to a record number of delegates, who had travelled from 75 countries to reflect on the interesting times that we inhabit. Brexit, Scottish independence, forthcoming elections in Italy and France, the election of Trump, the decline of traditional parties, the rise of populism, new forms of representation and participation. All of these issues – and many, many more – were discussed, debated and often contested within the conference’s ten panel sessions. Continue reading “Politics in Interesting Times” – Report from the Annual Political Studies Association Conference, University of Strathclyde
Christopher Byrne, University of Exeter
The term neoliberalism is most commonly used to refer to the free market-oriented reforms enacted by right-wing governments in the UK and US throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and continued by ‘Third Way’ politicians such as Tony Blair in the UK and Gerhard Schroeder in Germany into the 2000s and beyond. Recently, mainly as a consequence of ‘Brexit’ — Britain’s rejection of EU membership in a 2016 referendum — and the victory of avowed economic nationalist Donald Trump in the recent US presidential election, there has been talk of the end of the neoliberal era. Continue reading Making sense of neoliberalism in the era of Brexit and Trump