by Matthews Flinders, Co-Editor of Policy & Politics. This was originally posted on the OUP blog and is reposted here with kind permission.
For many commentators the 2015 General Election was the first genuinely ‘anti-political’ election but at the same time it was one in which the existence of a major debate about the nature of British democracy served to politicize huge sections of society. The surge in party membership for the Scottish National Party, for example, with over 100,000 members at the time of the election (i.e. far more members than soldiers in the whole British Army) deserves some explanation in a context dominated by the rhetoric of disenchantment and decline. The subsequent election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party with over a quarter of a million votes (59.5% of those cast) raises further questions about ‘anti-politics being all the rage’.
The simple fact is that ‘anti-politics’ is a myth. It is also a dangerous myth due to the manner in which it seeks to perpetuate cynicism when the evidence is arguably far more positive. The truth is that the results of the 2015 General Election and the Labour leadership contest were actually more anti-establishment than anti-political. Take, for example, the influential writing and public interventions of Owen Jones [The Establishment: And How They Get Away With It, 2014] or Russell Brand’s raw anti-elite, anti-establishment, anti-elections nihilism that was Continue reading Where next? New politics, kinder politics, and the myth of anti-politics→
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 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 Policy & Politics 2015 – A Year to Remember→
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 Dante and the spin doctors→