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 […]

What difference are the Unite to Remain and Brexit Party pacts likely to make?

18 Nov

The Unite to Remain alliance means the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens are trying to pool their votes to ensure a Remain-backing candidate is elected. But the Brexit Party’s decision to stand down their candidates in Tory-held seats makes this tougher. Heinz Brandenburg (University of Strathclyde) concludes that the overall effect of these pacts will be minimal. Now […]

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) […]

We need to talk about A/B testing: Brexit, attack ads and the election campaign

13 Nov

With the general election a month away, how are the parties targeting voters on Facebook with messages about Brexit? Tristan Hotham (University of Bath) explains how A/B testing is being used to identify the most effective campaign themes. Political parties using Facebook ads have a powerful capacity to hone their messages. Unlike in the past – where expensive and hard-to-organise […]

Remain or Leave, people should be able to vote for the party they want to see win

12 Nov

We should be scrutinising candidates and policies. Instead the talk is of tactical voting and electoral pacts. Brexit has thrown the deficiencies of our voting system into sharp relief, but this must be the last general election fought under first past the post, writes Ian Simpson (Electoral Reform Society). Introducing the single transferable vote would mean voters would feel free […]

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 […]

Beyond no deal: what else does the Brexit Party want?

6 Nov

Apart from a no-deal Brexit, what does the Brexit Party want? Callum Tindall (University of Nottingham) analyses its monthly newsletter to find clues about the party’s policies and ideology. At next month’s general election, the Brexit Party (BP) embarks upon its first venture into national politics. Less than a year old, with successful European parliamentary elections under their belt, they […]

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 […]

‘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 […]

More Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box – now with added Brexit!

30 Oct

From politically unsympathetic neighbours to the myth of ‘ignorant’ Leavers: Philip Cowley (Queen Mary University of London) (left) and Robert Ford (University of Manchester) introduce their new book, More Sex Lies and the Ballot Box. The plan seemed simple enough. Take a selection of chapters from two previous books, Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box, and its imaginatively named follow-up, […]

Long read: Are opinion polls biased towards Leave?

29 Oct

Much of public opinion polling in the UK is nowadays conducted online. This has many advantages as it allows polls to be conducted more cheaply, but it also runs into several problems. Thiemo Fetzer (University of Warwick) illustrates some of the technical issues that arise using the example of the British Election Study, which is an important point of reference for […]

‘Necessity hath no law’: Anglo-Britain, the Lord Protector and the Johnson regime

28 Oct

The Johnson-Cummings disdain of Parliament echoes Oliver Cromwell’s struggles with the institution. Brendan O’Duffy (Queen Mary University of London) discusses how Cromwell’s second tenure as Lord Protector tried to establish an ‘Anglo-British’ nation that bears a resemblance to the vision espoused by hard Brexiters. In his admiring review of Graham Allison’s Destined for War, Dominic Cummings discussed the logic of […]

Whatever happened to Tory unionism?

24 Oct

When the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by Theresa May was debated in the House of Commons many Conservative MPs argued that they could not vote for an arrangement that would treat Northern Ireland differently from Great Britain. The revised deal negotiated by Boris Johnson envisages far greater divergence within the UK, yet is far more popular among Conservatives. Jack Sheldon and […]

Long read: the makings of Brexit and the road ahead

23 Oct

On the cusp of the UK’s exit from the EU, Philip Rycroft (Bennett Institute, University of Cambridge) reflects on his seven years at the centre of the UK government to ask how we reached this point in the country’s history. In a lecture delivered on 3 October 2019 in Cambridge, he examines the underlying causes of Brexit and the political […]

The new Irish Protocol could lead to the indefinite jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice within the UK

23 Oct

The infamous ‘backstop’ is gone, but the new Irish Protocol could lead to the indefinite jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union within the United Kingdom, writes Oliver Garner (British Institute of International and Comparative Law). The new Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union differs from the previous […]

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. […]

Johnson has defined Brexit. Now it is for the opposition parties to defeat it

21 Oct

Only if the opposition parties accept that Boris Johnson has now defined Brexit can it unite to defeat his deal, writes Phil Syrpis (University of Bristol). Trying to redefine the terms of the deal will exasperate the public and probably end in failure. The path to remain lies in a second referendum or general election. Super Saturday turned out to […]

The prospect of a hard Brexit is now in Corbyn’s hands

21 Oct

Faced with the prospect of a hard Brexit on Boris Johnson’s terms, Jeremy Corbyn could have threatened Labour MPs who intend to vote for it with deselection. Dimitri Zenghelis (LSE) says this may be the last – and most damaging – strategic decision the Labour leader makes. Let’s be clear about one thing. Boris Johnson is not worried about the Letwin amendment. He […]