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Category archive for: Politics

The truth is, voters crave a strong and stable leader

Written by Steven Fielding.

As he made his journey from conventional politician to radical hero, Tony Benn became increasingly critical of how the Labour party did politics. Benn’s diary records Harold Wilson, who had just won a landslide victory in 1966, claiming that the public wanted him to be their “doctor who looked after the difficulties so that it could go on playing tennis”.

Benn saw this attitude as incompatible with a government that wanted to transform society. By the early 1980s he looked to another kind of leadership. He often cited the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, to whom is attributed the view that the best leader operates unnoticed and that when their work is done the people believe they did it by themselves. Continue reading The truth is, voters crave a strong and stable leader

A Stooshie or a Stramash? Will the Scottish Conservatives stage a revival on 8 June?

Written by Mark Stuart.

First, a couple of translations for non Scots. A ‘stooshie’ is a minor commotion whereas a ‘stramash’ is an uproar or a tumult. The great unknown of the UK General Election fought North of the Border is will we see a minor change in seats (a ‘stooshie’), or will the Scottish Conservatives be able to create a ‘stramash’ by making major gains at the expense of the Scottish National Party (SNP)? Continue reading A Stooshie or a Stramash? Will the Scottish Conservatives stage a revival on 8 June?

SNP victory in Scottish council elections starts to crack when you look closely

Written by John Curtice.

At first glance the SNP scored another remarkable success in the Scottish local elections on May 4. The party won 431 seats, 155 more than their nearest rivals, the Conservatives. Meanwhile, Labour, who once dominated local government in Scotland, were even further behind.

Equally, the official tally of the parties’ share of the first preference vote across Scotland as a whole, which has just been published, confirms that the party was well ahead of the rest of the pack. The SNP won 32.3% of the vote, while the Conservatives secured 25.2% and Labour 20.2%. Both the Liberal Democrats (6.8%) and the Greens (4.1%) were even further behind. Continue reading SNP victory in Scottish council elections starts to crack when you look closely

Snap election a win-win for Theresa May: she’ll crush Labour and make Brexit a little easier

Written by Tim Bale.

So Theresa May, it turns out, is only human. After months of denying she was going to do it, the British prime minister decided to call an early general election – first and foremost because she knows she’s going to win.

Indeed, she’s not just going to win; she’s going to win big. Contrary to common wisdom, bookies don’t necessarily know better than opinion pollsters when it comes to predicting political events, but they know a racing certainty when they see one. Within minutes of the PM’s announcement, one national chain was giving odds of 2/9 on an overall majority for the Conservatives, with Labour out on 14/1. Continue reading Snap election a win-win for Theresa May: she’ll crush Labour and make Brexit a little easier

US Presidential Election: Technology and Trade in the Industrial Swing States

Written by Simon Toubeau.

So there it is, again. The unlikely becomes plausible, possible, likely, and then real, in the space of a few hours. Liberal bien pensant and pollsters are left sitting uncomfortably, hot under their collars, baffled that estimates and predictions were wide of the mark and that democracy in action could yield such a ghastly outcome. Surely democratic exercises should get it ‘right’? Surely, the establishment candidate with the requisite persona, credibility and wherewithal is the natural choice for leader. Not the unpredictable outsider, not the rambling demagogue. But the point of democratic exercises is that the outcome is and should be uncertain. The only ‘right’ thing about it is the fairness of the procedure.  But what does the outcome of this procedure signal? Continue reading US Presidential Election: Technology and Trade in the Industrial Swing States

England’s new grammar schools: playing with fire?

Written by Glen O’Hara.

Prime Minister Theresa May has recently announced that she wants to allow more selection by ability in England’s schools, and will remove New Labour’s ban on expanding or opening grammar schools. Now that’s probably because she wants to appeal to older voters who might be tempted to come over from the United Kingdom Independence Party to the Conservatives. Maybe she also wants a flagship policy that will stamp her authority on the Government, or a new initiative that will stake out her differences with outgoing premier David Cameron. If so, she should be careful what she wishes for: because grammar schools are an academic, intellectual and above all politicalhazard that might be best avoided. Continue reading England’s new grammar schools: playing with fire?

Entirely as expected? What the voting data tells us about Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election

Written by Peter Dorey and Andrew Denham.

In Labour’s 2015 leadership contest, a major question had been how a rank outsider and perceived political maverick, like Jeremy Corbyn, could possibly be elected leader of a Party in which he enjoyed very little support among its MPs, and in which he had never held even the most junior Ministerial office. In the 2016 leadership contest, the main question was no longer whether or how Corbyn could win, but by what margin. Continue reading Entirely as expected? What the voting data tells us about Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election

Introducing a new Nottingham project on the legacy of dictatorships

Written by Anja Neundorf.

Dr. Anja Neundorf from the School of Politics and International Relations started working on a new project that is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Secondary Data Analysis Initative. This project will study the legacy of past authoritarian regimes on its citizens’ political attitudes today. Here we are talking with Dr. Neundorf about this new research project. Continue reading Introducing a new Nottingham project on the legacy of dictatorships

What next for devolution in the UK? The Return of a ‘Dual Polity’

Written by Simon Toubeau.

Although Scottish voters decided to remain part of the UK in September 2014, the question of Scotland’s constitutional future remains an important concern for the Conservative government. Its efforts to deal with this matter have resulted in the ratification of The Scotland Bill in November 2015, which drew on the work of the Smith Commission.

The bill promises to offer an ‘enduring settlement’ that anchors Scotland firmly in the UK. But, in reality, it is another instance of reform that heralds the return of a ‘dual polity’. Continue reading What next for devolution in the UK? The Return of a ‘Dual Polity’