The representation of women in politics, addressing the supply side: Public attitudes to job-sharing parliamentarians

By Philip Cowley Dr Rosie Campbell 

Job shares – in which two or more people working on a part-time basis share the same fulltime position – are an increasingly common form of employment. A 2012 BIS survey found that job-sharing was available to 43% of employees.  One group currently not able to job-share in the UK are elected politicians – but there are moves afoot to change this.

This new article (£), just published by the journal British Politics, sets out to see what the British electorate’s reaction to such arrangements might be. It finds no great support for the introduction of job-sharing candidates but nor does it detect overwhelming opposition. Just over a third of respondents were in favour of job sharing or said they would support job share candidates; just over a third took the opposing position; and around a quarter said that they did not know.

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Polling Observatory 41: Opinion stable for now, but election battle lines are being drawn

By Robert FordWill JenningsMark Pickup and Christopher Wlezien

This is the forty-first in a series of posts by Dr Robert Ford, Dr Will Jennings, Dr Mark Pickup and Prof Christopher Wlezien that report on the state of the parties in the UK as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence, the impact of the random variation that each individual survey inevitably produces can be reduced.

Most of the short term advances and setbacks in party polling fortunes are nothing more than random noise; the underlying trends – in which the authors are interested and which best assess the parties’ standings – are relatively stable and little influenced by day-to-day events. If there can ever be a definitive assessment of the parties’ standings, this is it. Further details of the method used to build these estimates of public opinion can be found here.


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What Ed Miliband could learn from Harold Wilson

By Steven Fielding

On the morning of 16 October 1964, Harold Wilson entered Downing Street as prime minister. He had just ended 13 years of Conservative rule – one that had been predicted to last a generation just four years previously. Wilson, many believed, achieved this victory by promising to unlock the talents of all Britons, whatever their class, by unleashing the “white heat of technological change”. The Labour leader claimed his government would achieve this economic and social revolution by using the state to foster market dynamism.

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Alex Salmond’s biggest gamble

He’s the politician of the moment. Every media organisation in the world will descend on Edinburgh in the early hours of Friday morning to listen to his reaction, once the votes are counted in the Scottish independence referendum. But what do we really know about Alex Salmond, or ‘Big ’Eck’ as he is known North of the Border? Is he a force for good or a divisive figure responsible for tearing apart the United Kingdom?

The first thing worth noting about Alex Salmond is that he has always taken a gradualist view of Scottish independence. In the late 1980s, Scottish nationalism was going nowhere, following the inconclusive result of the devolution referendum in 1979. The SNP had boycotted the Scottish Constitutional Convention, meaning that plans were drawn up for the Scottish Parliament without the SNP having a say. When he first became leader of the SNP in 1990 Salmond called a halt to his Party’s over-ambitious dreams of independence. He swallowed his pride, and backed the ‘Yes, Yes’ campaign in the 1997 referendum. 

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Are Political Finance Regulations Helping to Combat Party Corruption in Europe and Latin America?

By Fernando Casal Bértoa

As has been repeatedly stated, money is the main fuel of politics. Without it political parties cannot function, elections cannot take place, and democracy – at least as we know it – cannot exist. It is for this reason, but not the only one, that most political systems in the world guarantee (at least some) political parties access to state resources either to finance their electoral campaigns or to keep their political organizations running, or both.

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