At 07:20 on 24 June 2016, the result of the ‘once-in-a-generation’ referendum was announced. Little over an hour later the Prime Minister made his own announcement on the steps of Downing Street, stating that it ‘would not be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination’. Since then, one word has been on the lips of Westminster watchers. Bre… OK, not that one. Another. One beginning with ‘m’: MANDATE. Who has a mandate? To do what? By when? How? Continue reading →
by Dan Degerman, Graduate Research Scholar, Department of Political Science and International Studies, Long Island University,USA
The electoral race has reached its climax. The party war machines are running at full capacity, saturating the airwaves with political vitriol. Yet, even in this state of war, the combatants unanimously agree on one thing. As democratic citizens, each and every one of us has a duty to vote.
Most of us concur, which is unsurprising given the incessant repetition of this mantra. While few would agree with the letter of phrases, such as “Vote or Die,” many seem to agree with their spirit. That is, people who fail to vote are worthy of derision. We saw this exemplified in the public outcry against Russell Brand’s notorious statement that people shouldn’t vote. Such calls may be misguided, but the idea that people are morally obligated to vote is equally misconceived.
by Sarah Childs, Professor of Politics and Gender at University of Bristol. This blog was originally posted on PolicyBristol. Reposting with kind permission.
The last time I’d been here it had been for ‘What the Frock’. I half expected Bristol’s very own platinum-blonde award winning comedian Jayde Adams to start serenading from behind a velvet curtain. However, on this sultry spring evening at the Square Club in Clifton, Bristol, my job was to chair the Institute for Arts and Ideas’ Bristol West Hustings.
Seven parliamentary candidates were present. Sitting to my left: the incumbent Stephen Williams (Lib Dem); Thangham Debbonaire (Labour), Darren Hall (Greens) and Paul Turner (UKIP). Sitting to my right: Claire Hiscott (Conservative); Dawn Parry (Independent) and Stewart Weston (Left Unity).
The candidates’ backgrounds, ages, marital status, and occupation, are already in the public domain. Their personal manifestos were recently summarised in a Bristol Post review. Collectively, there is much agreement Continue reading →
by André Blais, Professor at the Université de Montréal
Making Electoral Democracy Work (MEDW) is an international collaborative project that brings together an exceptional team of political scientists, economists, and psychologists from Canada, Europe, and the United States. It is the most ambitious study ever undertaken of the impact of electoral rules on the functioning of democracy. It is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (CAD $3,700,000 from 2009 to 2016).
The goal of the MEDW project is to examine how the rules of the game (especially the electoral system) and the electoral context (especially the competitiveness and salience of the election) influence the dynamic and reciprocal relationship between voters and parties. To do so, the study is looking at virtually all elections held in Canada, Continue reading →
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 →
First it was football, now its politics. The transfer window seems to have opened and all the main political parties have recruited hard-hitting spin-doctors — or should I say ‘election gurus’ — in the hope of transforming their performance in the 2015 General Election. While some bemoan the influence of foreign hands on British politics and others ask why we aren’t producing our own world-class spin-doctors I can’t help but feel that the future of British politics looks bleak. The future is likely to be dominated by too much shouting, not enough listening. Continue reading →