Archive | April, 2011

Wrong about whips

This Tuesday’s Independent contained what was for the most part a by-the-numbers article about parliamentary whipping; it managed to squeeze in references to ‘fear’, ‘submission’, ‘the little black book’, and ‘Francis Urquhart’ all in the first two paragraphs. But it was saved by the inclusion of Whip’s Top Trumps profiles.  They only covered four of […]

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AV Special Edition

A threat to democracy. A miserable little compromise. A miracle cure that kills 99.9% of all domestic germs, dead. A measure that will make lazy MPs work harder. Only one of those things has NOT been said of the Alternative Vote in the run-up to the referendum on May 5th 2011. Can you spot the […]

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The dragon finds its teeth?

The iconic image of the Red Dragon has come to symbolise Wales’ sense of courage and strength. Following the March 2011 decision by Welsh voters to say yes to their Assembly having full law making powers, the dragon superficially appears to have finally gained its teeth. However, for all the anticipation of a stronger Assembly, […]

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Belarus and the EU: new thinking please

Belarus, a country some call the last dictatorship in Europe, is rarely mentioned in the Western media. Europeans can however ill afford to ignore this former Soviet republic, if only because it is a key transit point for their supplies of Russian oil and gas. Moreover, thanks to the 2004 accession of Poland, the EU […]

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One election, two campaigns

While they are ostensibly part of the same election for seats in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Scotland’s four main parties are actually fighting two very different campaigns. There’s the one between Labour and SNP, in which both are vying for the keys to the First Minister’s official residence at Bute House; and then there’s […]

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Middle East democracy: no quick fix

As dictatorships crumble in Tunisia, Egypt and possibly Libya leaders in the West glibly talk about the spread of democracy to North Africa and the Middle East, For example David Cameron said in March: ‘It is in our interests to see the growth of open societies and the building blocks of democracy in North Africa […]

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UKIP: the purple peril?

The influential blog Left Foot Forward has just posted a summary of a study of the UKIP vote by one of our lecturers Dr Matt Goodwin and his co-authors Dr Robert Ford and Dr David Cutts. As we head into the May elections, their timely study examines the UKIP electorate, and points toward some important and intriguing overlaps […]

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Pity poor Patrick

Spare a thought for Patrick McLoughlin. As Chief Whip in a newly-elected government, he should have had a relatively easy time over the last year. The first sessions of parliaments are usually fairly quiet affairs for party managers. With the government basking in election victory, and implementing its manifesto, there is usually little trouble. Instead, […]

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The New British Fascism?

To coincide with the publication of New British Fascism, its author, Matthew Goodwin, has recorded this podcast in which he talks about his reasons for writing a book on the BNP, the methodology and what it tells us about the far right and British politics in general.

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Cameron and immigration: putting a cap on public concerns?

As David Cameron defends the government’s new caps on skilled immigration to Britain, it is important to consider what impact these caps will have on public attitudes to immigration. Will they alleviate public concerns? On the basis of my work on the subject, I think it’s very unlikely. First, evidence is accumulating that numbers don’t […]

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