Public intellectuals and experts cannot tell citizens what to do

28 Jan

How should academics approach their roles as experts and public intellectuals in light of decreasing trust in experts and growing need for their expertise, asks Peter J. Verovšek? They need to ensure that the strategic competition for media power does not destroy the quality of public debate that is necessary to maintain a functioning representative democracy, he … Continued

Is electoral reconciliation in sight?

15 Jan

Labour and Tory voters are “disgusted” by one another, according to latest ‘Hostility Barometer’, writes Sarah Harrison (LSE). The latest survey from the Electoral Psychology Observatory at the LSE and Opinium shows 47 per cent of those intending to vote Conservative feel some “disgust” towards Labour voters, while over two-thirds (68 per cent) of those intending to vote … Continued

How Brexit will affect disabled people’s lives and rights

13 Jan

Disabled people will be affected by Brexit in a number of ways, writes Charles Whitmore (Cardiff University). First, there will be no obligation for Britain to match EU rights law, nor a right of appeal to the European Court of Justice. They will also lose EU funds and the European Health Insurance Card, which makes … Continued

Scotland is positive about EU citizens, but it needs to do much more to help them integrate

8 Jan

The Scottish government has tried to help EU citizens apply for settled status and has been much more positive about their presence than many politicians in Westminster, writes Piotr Teodorowski (Robert Gordon University). But it has not made enough concrete efforts to integrate them into Scottish society. On 12 November the Scottish Parliament supported a … Continued

More fragmentation and division? What 2020 will be like for Higher Education

6 Jan

What will the year 2020 be like for Higher Education in the UK? Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon (LSE) predict more fragmentation and division. The higher education sector had been expecting 2020 to be a sad, if not bad, year. When the transition period ends, the UK’s 136 universities will lose their automatic access to … Continued

Hollowing out the state: the return of corporatism to European politics

19 Dec

One of the results of the recent illiberal turn in European politics has been growing state capture that leads to the breakdown of the supervisory institutions of democracy. In this blog, Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz (LSE) argues that some of Europe’s authoritarian populists have succeeded, or are planning to, take control of both public and private media, … Continued

Austerity is to blame for the result of the general election, but so is nationalism

18 Dec

Labour’s electoral defeat falls in between the Leave and Remain ideological poles, writes Raluca Bejan (St. Thomas University). She explains that while austerity is partially to blame for the result of the recent general election, so is the nationalist, anti-immigrant rhetoric that pervades British society.  The results of last week’s general election in the United … Continued

Ok, Boomer. Is Brexit stealing the future of millennials and zoomers?

17 Dec

Demographics are shifting against ‘Leave’ in any future referendum. British millennials and the following Generation Z (‘zoomers’) were born as Europeans, writes Jeff Frank (Royal Holloway). Is Brexit stealing their future?  Insofar as Brexit is about the colour of our passports and other aspects of national identity, the younger generations see little gain in reverting from … Continued

Long read | What is going on with economic expertise?

12 Dec

What is going on with economic expertise? Why is it that it is constantly depicted as simply based on opinion rather than facts, ask Marina Della Giusta, Sylvia Jaworska, Danica Vukadinović-Greetham and Anna De Liddo? In this blog, they present their research which uses network and language analysis to explore the audience and the style of … Continued

F**K Business: Brexit and the deep freeze between business and politics in populist nationalism

10 Dec

Business has been f**ked! F**k government! The relationship between business and politics is broken – can it be fixed? This contribution, by Daniel Kinderman (University of Delaware), part book review and part blog post, reflects on the tense and sometimes openly conflictual relationship between business and politics in populist nationalism. Iain Anderson’s book F**K Business: … Continued

Is each “illiberal” democracy illiberal in its own way?

28 Nov

Most of the world’s population lives in electoral democracies today. Yet in many respects, the successful spread of formal democracy has turned into a crisis of democracy. Trust in the political institutions of representative democracy – political parties, elections, parliaments – is in free fall in many of the established democracies, while many of the … Continued

Long read | Unsettled status? Vulnerable EU citizens may lose their UK residence overnight

27 Nov

Before the end of June 2021, EU nationals living in the UK need to apply for Settled Status (EUSS) in order to continue living and working here. Amelia Gentleman called the application process via the app the ‘’gateway between belonging and exclusion’’.  In this blog, Catherine Barnard, Fiona Costello and Sarah Fraser Butlin (University of Cambridge) claim that the importance … Continued

Brexit’s toxic masculinities are poisoning gender politics in the General Election

26 Nov

Women are more likely to say they ‘don’t know’ whether Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is good or bad for the country. Roberta Guerrina (University of Bristol), Toni Haastrup (University of Stirling), Katharine Wright (Newcastle University) and Annick Masselot (University of Canterbury) argue that this reflects the way that Brexit has normalised a form of toxic … Continued

Brexit may free Britain from the spectre of Empire

25 Nov

Britain’s relationship with Europe has a complex history, of which Brexit is merely the latest development. Simon Glendinning explains that the country’s post-War understanding of both itself and of Europe has often been caught up in a (selective) history and memory of British and European discovery, colonialism and Empire. The hope that the UK might … Continued

Few populist radical right parties want to leave the EU anymore

20 Nov

The EU is a major concern for the European far right, which considers it a threat to national sovereignty – a remote bureaucracy in which “nationalist” forces have no voice. However, today, few relevant populist radical right parties still want to leave the EU, writes Cas Mudde (University of Georgia) in his latest book, The Far Right Today. This is partly due […]

Exodus, Reckoning, Sacrifice: Brexit through the lens of myth

19 Nov

Can re-reading ancient myths help us to understand Brexit and our own reactions to it? Kalypso Nicolaïdis (University of Oxford) introduces her new book Exodus, Reckoning, Sacrifice: Three Meanings of Brexit. In the beginning was the word, and the word was Brexit. But nobody quite knew what that word meant. And then the oracle spoke: ‘Brexit means Brexit’. What did […]

What hope is there for societies undergoing democratic downgrades?

19 Nov

Since the 2008 financial crisis, European democracies have lurched decisively in a damaging direction. Democratic citizens have found themselves with less and less of a say in how their societies are being run, all while more and more severe measures have been enacted in their name, writes Benjamin Abrams (UCL SSEES). There have been a number of different labels applied […]

EU migration through the lens of inequality: how Britain shaped the unequal Europe it wants to leave

15 Nov

Lorenza Antonucci (University of Birmingham) and Simone Varriale (University of Lincoln) highlight the UK’s influence over EU supranational policies, and explain how Britain contributed to an unequal Europe. In recent years, British progressives have faced the following conundrum: how can we defend the neoliberal dogma of free movement when Brexit has been the expression of a working class revolt (although this can be challenged) […]

Europe is undergoing a democratic recession

13 Nov

All forms of democracy require renewal and adaptability; envisioning renewal requires an understanding of the complexity of the problem. Europe is undergoing a democratic recession which is at the heart of over a decade of multiple complex crises, Brexit being the latest in a string of setbacks, writes Rosa Balfour (German Marshall Fund). By ‘democratic recession’ I mean to capture both […]

How John Stuart Mill can help tame ideological Brexit free-riders

11 Nov

In an ‘epistocracy’, only some people would be allowed to vote. Those who advocate this system have cited Brexit and Trump’s election as evidence that the franchise should be restricted to those who have sufficient ‘political knowledge’ to vote. Linsey McGoey (University of Essex) explains why, contrary to their claims, John Stuart Mill would not have endorsed this dangerous form […]

November 9 is Remembrance Saturday 

8 Nov

November 9 is Remembrance Saturday, which commemorates the apex of the end of communism in Central-Eastern Europe, writes Charles Turner (University of Warwick). He explains that the Cold War was less a domestic affair than a conflict over geopolitical influence between superpowers whose systems were seen as fixed. He argues that the seemingly sudden deconstruction of the communist system had actually been […]

Long read | Left and Right in never-ending opposition to European integration

7 Nov

Anti-Europeanism has long been a component of modern politics in Europe and it transcends the right and left, argues Denis MacShane in his latest book, Brexiternity. The Uncertain Fate of Britain. If we step back from the Brexit looking-glass, we can see that any form of European partnership or common purpose or sharing of some national sovereignty – to a greater or lesser degree […]

Long read | The future of European democracy: Empowering citizens

5 Nov

Most European countries today face a gap between procedural and substantive democracy, writes Mary Kaldor (LSE). She argues that substantive democracy can only be restored through a combination of political engagement at European levels and the introduction of policies that would make possible meaningful devolution to regional and local levels.  Political theorists often make a distinction between procedural and substantive democracy. […]

Would a more educated population have rejected Brexit?

4 Nov

Only a quarter of Britons with a university degree voted Leave, which has led many to conclude that education makes people less Eurosceptic. Sander Kunst (University of Amsterdam) tested this theory and found that the association is not simple. A small majority of 51.9% voted to Leave the EU. Recent studies show that education level was one of the most […]

The future of European democracy: Fixing a troubled continent

1 Nov

In recent decades, as disillusionment with the post-Cold War settlement has grown, so has the dissatisfaction with the state for European governance. Today, for many, the EU has become a symbol of the democratic malaise. As a result, three decades after the end of communism, the progress of European democracy is faltering. In this blog, Luke Cooper (LSE) introduces a […]

‘Politicians don’t care about what I have to say’: listening to the children of EU migrants in the UK

1 Nov

What do the children of the EU migrants who moved to Britain think about politics? Daniela Sime (University of Strathclyde) says that although many do not yet have the right to vote in general elections because of their non-British nationality, politicians risk alienating this bloc of future voters unless they reach out to them now. Of the 3.6 million non-British […]

Hope and hopelessness: Is a reconciliatory Brexit possible?

31 Oct

The government wants to bring the country together around its version of Brexit. It believes that it has the potential to return hope to the majority of citizens who express various forms of pessimism about the effect that Brexit will have on their country, their families, and their lives. But are citizens believing that reconciliatory scenario, asks Sarah Harrison (Electoral Psychology […]

Brexit: democracy needs journalists to be transparent about their political sources

29 Oct

Twitter is more popular among Remainers – 18% of them get their news via 280 characters, as opposed to 10% of Leave voters. But, for other social networks, the differences are smaller and not statistically significant in most cases. The problems of polarisation – and of silos – are created by journalists and politicians themselves, write Meera Selva and Richard […]

Queer and over here: Polish migrants stay on despite Brexit

24 Oct

Around one in four LGBTQ Polish migrants in Britain say their sexuality was one of the reasons why they moved to the UK. Lukasz Szulc (University of Sheffield) describes how this group have reacted to Brexit and why most plan to stay in the UK despite the ramifications of the Leave vote. Polish migrants constitute the biggest overseas-born group in […]

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is a victory for Ireland. But what of Britain? 

22 Oct

Should the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, as negotiated by the Johnson administration, go through it will represent an astonishing victory for Ireland, writes Conor Gearty (LSE). But what of Britain, he asks?  One of the undesirable aspects of the Brexit affair has been the way it is forcing so many of us back into the national silos from which we thought we had escaped. […]