by Tessa Coombes, PhD Researcher at Bristol University
For the final plenary session of the conference Prof. Andrew Gamble, from Cambridge University, took us back to the issue of democracy and its ability to survive and even thrive. We were reminded that for the first time in the modern state system authoritarian regimes are in retreat and representative democracy, in some form or other, is on the rise.
Representative liberal democracies have been described as the least admirable form of governance not least because of their inability to take difficult decisions and their short term thinking. Despite this, in the 20th century, representative democracy came to be seen as an ideal state. But it now seems we are in a time of transition, where there is a real disengagement and disillusionment with mainstream politics, where the choice is narrowing and where people are indifferent to their right to vote. This crisis of representative politics reflects a crisis of trust in our politics and politicians. Once more, despite this process, representative democracy Continue reading →
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.
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 →