‘English Votes for English Laws’ won’t worry the new government - but the West Lothian question may well do

by Daniel Gover and Michael Kenny

Following the election result some pundits have suggested that English votes for English laws might be an obstacle to the government, given its reliance on support from non-English MPs, whilst others have suggested the procedures might provide the government with an enhanced English majority. In this post Daniel Gover and Michael Kenny explain that neither of these possibilities is likely to occur. However, the territorial balance of the new Commons could cause the West Lothian question to come back to the fore – though not solely in relation to England.

An Article a Day: 12 June 2017

by Maha Rafi Atal

Reactions to the election and predictions for the way forward, as well as a long look at Russian politics, a profile of Chelsea Manning, and a sobering assessment of the gadgets that govern our lives. 

An Article a Day: 5 June 2017

by Maha Rafi Atal

As we get ready for Thursday's election, we're reading up on the history of the Daily Mail, what the UK government actually does and how it pays for it, and what those elusive young voters actually want from their representatives. Plus, Brazil's ongoing corruption scandal, and a controversial take on race and class in France.

Looking for the Liberalism of the ‘left-behind’

by Peter Sloman

The British party system is a tough old beast, but as the UK prepares to head to the polls for its third major national vote in three years, there are signs that the tectonic plates of political identity are finally shifting. The Liberal Democrats have been quick to position themselves as the voice of disgruntled Remainers, but Peter Sloman points out that there has always been another side of the Liberal heritage -- the deep vein of liberal populism that has been the foundation of the party's support in Scotland, Wales, and the West Country. If Labour and the Liberal Democrats are to regain ground in the wake of the Brexit vote, they will need to reach beyond the cosmopolitan cities and find new ways of connecting with the provincial culture of the Celtic fringe.

The revenge of the crocodile: Northern Ireland’s election brings new uncertainty

by Barry Colfer

Northern Ireland’s latest election on 2 March provoked soul-searching among unionists as Sinn Féin pulled within one seat of becoming the largest party. As the Stormont parties struggle to put together a new executive, the province’s future is more than an inconvenience to be resolved in the context of the Article 50 negotiations. The current instability may yet give rise to another full-blown constitutional crisis before power-sharing turns twenty.

New Zealand’s election: Is there life after John Key?

by Carys Goodwin

For New Zealand politics, the biggest earthquake of 2016 wasn’t Brexit or Donald Trump, or even the colossal 7.8 that hit Kaikōura in November – it was the resignation of our Prime Minister, John Key. His departure has transformed the landscape of the election campaign, which his successor, Bill English, has decided will culminate on 23 September (strategically situated on a Saturday that won’t conflict with an All Blacks rugby match). The last New Zealand general election in 2014 flew by under-the-radar in international terms. We’re a small, distant country, with 4.5 million people, and what most people understand about us is either Lorde or Lord of the Rings. Yet as in other countries, election year is when all the absurdities bubble to the surface.

Was David Cameron a ‘disjunctive’ Prime Minister?

by Peter Sloman

The aftershocks of the EU referendum are likely to provide political scientists with rich pickings for years to come. In a timely new article, Chris Byrne, Nick Randall and Kevin Theakston have drawn on Stephen Skowronek's typology of US presidential leadership to characterize David Cameron as a 'disjunctive' leader, presiding over the disintegration of the neoliberal settlement established by Margaret Thatcher. Yet with the impact of Brexit still uncertain and the Conservatives riding high in the polls, this approach is deeply problematic. Cameron is better seen (in Skowronek's terms) as an 'orthodox innovator', who successfully repackaged Thatcherism for a new generation but struggled to cope with the internal tensions which his modernization project created.

24 hours at the Public Policy Hospital

by Dennis Grube

For governments, 2017 will be the year that finally confirms that public policy is no esoteric science. It’s a dirty, hands-on, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of business that is inextricably bound together with the wider forces of politics. Where politics leads, policy will follow. In the process, some of the cherished beliefs of public policy from the past few decades will find themselves under extraordinary attack. To paraphrase Bette Davis - paradigm change is no place for sissies.

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