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Category: Politics

Populist and Extreme Parties: To Ban or Not To Ban?

Written by Fernando Casal Bértoa and Angela Bourne.

Extreme, populist and anti-systemic parties are on the rise! Only this year elections in the Netherlands and Bulgaria and Germany returned excellent results for radical right parties (e.g. Party of FreedomAlternative for Germanyor Ataka). Even in usually quiet Liechtenstein The Independents (DU), a right-wing populist party, managed to obtain more than 18 percent of the votes. In France, Marine Le Pen came second in the presidential elections. Last Sunday the Freedom Party of Austria got more than 20 percent of the vote, and in countries like Greece or Slovakia support for neo-Nazi parties (i.e. Golden Dawn or People’s Party Our Slovakia) reach a notable 7 percent of the electorate.

Digital campaigning and the 2017 election: The rise of Facebook and satellite campaigns

Written by Kate Dommett and Luke Temple.

Digital technology is now central to political campaigns and in the 2017 General Election we think there were two developments that have important implications for UK politics. The first was the developing role of Facebook. The second concerns what we describe as ‘satellite campaigns’. Both of these complicate election regulation law, and raise questions about whether parties still have control over their campaigns.

Ruth Davidson, the Queen of Scots who will be the Tory party’s saviour?

Written by Mark Stuart.

While the Prime Minister licks her wounds in England, another female Tory leader north of the Border has emerged as the new star of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. Last Thursday, Ruth Davidson presided over a dozen spectacular gains for the Scottish Tories.

Remarkably, after years in the wilderness, Davidson engineered her Party’s best performance since 1983, including the spectacular toppling of former SNP leader, Alex Salmond in Gordon and the scalp of Angus Robertson, the Leader of the SNP’s Westminster MPs in Moray.

Jeremy Corbyn will explain Labour’s 2017 defeat by going back to 1983

Written by Steven Fielding.

“… for the first time since 1945 a political party with an openly socialist policy has received the support of 8½ million people. … the Labour manifesto commanded the loyalty of millions of voters and a democratic socialist bridgehead has been established from which further advances in public understanding and support can be made. …It is no wonder that the establishment still fears the Labour Party and its ideas so much. For they know that it is the only real challenge to their privileges.”

No, this is not a leaked draft of Jeremy Corbyn’s concession speech, one all the polls suggest he will need to deliver on June 9th. It is an excerpt from a Guardian article written by Tony Benn published within days of Labour’s cataclysmic 1983 defeat. That election – coincidentally held on June 9th – saw the Conservatives win a 144-seat majority and reduced Labour to 27.6 per cent of the vote, just 700,000 ahead of the Social Democratic Party-Liberal Alliance, and to a mere 209 MPs. It was Labour’s worst result since 1935.

Conservative immigration policy: a tragicomedy in two parts?

Written by Helen Williams.

It’s been a bruising week for Mrs May’s Team. Mocked for her non-appearance at the BBC debates and visibly uncomfortable at press conferences, the Prime Minister should be very clear that what once appeared to be a guaranteed Conservative landslide in the 2017 General Election is now increasingly in danger of becoming a hung parliament.

After a disastrous public response to the social care proposals (deftly dubbed the ‘dementia tax’), Mrs May appeared to completely rebrand her campaign, attempting to shift the focus back to Brexit and immigration. Gone is the prominent slogan ‘Theresa May: strong, stable leadership in the national interest’ (with the words Conservative Party difficult to locate); now it’s ‘Theresa May and the Conservatives: a Brexit deal for a bright future’.

General Election 2017: A Futile Election

Written by Steven Fielding.

This has been the most tragic, weirdest and most unnecessary of election campaigns in British history. Some see the return of two party politics – with UKIP, the Liberal Democrats and SNP all looking likely to lose support – as a reassuring echo of elections past. But nothing else is familiar or comforting.

General Election 2017: Will Wales wake up feeling blue on June 9th?

Written by Siim Trumm.

The electoral pendulum is in full swing in Wales. Only in the course of last few months have the polls gone from showing a narrow Labour lead to suggesting a historic Conservatives’ majority to indicating a Labour triumph. Whether a lot of Welsh voters will wake up on June the 9th feeling blue because the country is not blue enough or too blue seems to be anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain, this is gearing up to be one of the most unpredictable elections in Wales.

Immigration in the 2017 General Election: Families

Written by Helen Williams.

As the Remain campaigners were perhaps too slow to recognise, the real battleground of the EU Referendum was immigration, not the economy (although the two are, of course, inextricably linked in practice). Immigration has remained the focus of Theresa May’s approach to Brexit, underpinning her oft-repeated stance that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK’ (Conservative manifesto (hereafter CM), p. 36) – a statement that cannot make sense if speaking from an economic perspective. Labour’s manifesto directly counters this: ‘In trade negotiations our priorities favour growth, jobs and prosperity. We make no apologies for putting these aims before bogus immigration targets’ (Labour manifesto (hereafter LM), p. 28). This is also a direct swipe at the Tories’ continued commitment to reduce annual net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands (CM, p. 54). Both parties’ statements on migration address Brexit, the economy, healthcare, students, and families. The position they take on each of these show remarkable differences. This blog specifically looks at the issue of family migration.