North and South: ‘A little fierce incendiary’

By Vanessa Pupavac

‘Church and King, and down with the Rump!’ So toasts the aristocratic grandfather in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North and South. (http://books.wwnorton.com/books/North-and-South/ ) But Gaskell’s 1855 novel engages with building a modern industrial nation, and specifically rejects the political and social order embodied in the old Cavalier anti-parliamentary toast. Her engagement with the challenges posed by industrialisation has insights for today’s global North-South relations and their future direction. Consider the current civil unrest in Hong Kong (http://libcom.org/black-yellow-hk), or the growing strikes in China questioning the official representation of the harmonious society (https://www.jacobinmag.com/2012/08/china-in-revolt/). This month’s opening of the newly restored Elizabeth Gaskell House (http://www.elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk/) is therefore a good time to open North and South to more readers. What is to be found there? Gaskell’s plot has strong parallels with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, where a parson’s daughter from the South of England overcomes her prejudices towards a factory owner from the smoky industrial town of Milton in Darkshire.

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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.

pollingobs41

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800px-Ed_Miliband_conference_speech_in_Manchester,_September_2010

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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800px-Scottish_Flag

Polling Observatory Scottish referendum special: who is ahead, and how close is it?

By Robert FordWill JenningsMark Pickup and Christopher Wlezien

This is a Scottish independence special of our regular series of posts that reports on the state of support for the parties in Westminster 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 the polls are nothing more than random noise; the underlying trends – in which we are interested and which best assess the state of public opinion – are relatively stable and little influenced by day-to-day events. Further details of the method we use to build our estimates of public opinion can be found here.

In recent weeks the debate over Scottish independence has reached fever-pitch, and debate over some of the polls has been just as fierce. Most notably a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times, published on September 7th, caused shock waves both North of the border and in Westminster when it showed Yesmarginally ahead, the first lead for the “yes” campaign in many months.

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