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Polling Observatory #35 : Politics, Fast and Slow

  This is the thirty-fifth in a series of posts that report on the state of the parties as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in party […]

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Tony Benn: A Reflection on a Life in Politics

  Tony Benn always divided politicians into signposts and weathercocks: those who hold firm to deeply-held principles and point the way forward, or those who flap about in response to events. Benn was most definitely a signpost. He rose to fame due to his brave decision to renounce his father’s hereditary peerage. He did so […]

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Parliamentary outreach – proving Bismark wrong

  When I first started researching parliament, about 20 years ago, the idea of a parliamentary outreach programme would have been laughed at so today’s launch of a new range of Outreach resources for universities is particularly welcome. The Parliament Outreach package of student visits, teaching resources, and research workshops is a far cry from […]

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For the love of archives

To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War many documents relating to the conflict are being made available online for the first time. Digitisation across all archives is rapidly increasing, providing researchers with instant data access and saving valuable time and expense. In 2012, 145 million documents were downloaded […]

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Polling Observatory 33 (Jan 2014): Public opinion steady through the storms

This is the thirty-third in a series of posts that report on the state of the parties as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in party polling […]

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Evidence and Public Engagement in Immigration Control

Immigration control has become a fundamental project in contemporary Britain especially in relation to the incapacity of the welfare state to absorb large numbers of poor immigrants coming from all over the globe. However, as Bridget Anderson has argued in her book ‘Us and Them: the Dangerous Politics of Immigration Controls’, immigration control, as a […]

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Fracking and Shale Gas in the UK: Is the Balcombe Effect Taking Hold?

Prime Minister David Cameron said recently that the UK would be going ‘all out’ for shale gas, and mooted the idea that local communities would see a share of the revenues generated by drilling companies. The latest poll in our long-running survey of UK public opinion on fracking and shale gas suggests that such policy […]

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The ‘Yes, Minister Effect’ and trust in civil servants

  On Twitter recently, Ben Page of Ipsos MORI compared levels of public trust in judges, civil servants and politicians in 1983 and 2013, findings that form part of his organisation’s ongoing survey of popular trust in various professions’ ability to tell the truth. As you can see below, he points out that judges are slightly more […]

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‘The Good Life’ Factor and the Rise of Margaret Thatcher

During an email exchange with Richard Kelly, Head of Politics at Manchester Grammar School and author of a highly regarded study of how Conservative Party conferences actually work, recalled: ‘Back in 1979, when I was campaigning for the Tories, I remember talking to some party officials about their attempt to sell Margaret Thatcher to a society […]

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Polling Observatory 32: Running down the clock

This is the thirty-second in a series of posts that report on the state of the parties as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in party polling […]

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