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“The Best Democracy Money can buy”

Mark Twain’s description of the American system remains as pertinent today as it was when he uttered in the nineteenth century. This piece in today’s Guardian is absolutely packed with interesting figures about campaign finance, the role of SCOTUS in regulating campaign finance and the contribution of Pressure Groups to campaigns. All in all it … Continue reading

It’s all in the wording

Referendums are viewed by some a twenty first century incarnation of direct democracy that will halt the participation crisis, by others they are the tool of dictators. What most people on either side of the argument agree on is that the wording of the question is imperative to achieving a fair and democratic result. This … Continue reading

Conservative Party Factions

In Unit 1 you are required to know about divisions within as well as between the parties. There has been a lot of attention on the Labour party of late, with people examining the pros and cons of Blue, Red, Purple and Black Labour. There has been less said about the formal groupings within the Tories. … Continue reading

Scottish Referendum

Alex Salmond is currently outlining the mechanics of the referendum on Scottish Independence, the news tonight will no doubt cover this in depth (Newsnight BBC 2, 10.30pm) and the papers will make good copy tomorrow. But in brief outline: The referendum will take place in autumn 2014 The Scots will work with the Electoral Commission … Continue reading

House of Lords defeats the government again…

The House of Lords defeated the government on its proposal to cap benefits at £26000. This is what can be described as a multi- purpose example, working for Unit 1 and Unit 2. While the Lords will claim this is evidence that an unelected chamber has its uses (doing the right thing in the face … Continue reading

Tories and Europe and Judges and Civil Liberties

David Cameron’s decision to urge the ECJ to reform is interesting in terms of both Units 1 and 2. An analysis of the relationship between the UK/ Conservatives and Human Rights can be found at the LSE Blog http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/2012/01/25/human-rights-bpp-round-up/ However this is an important case study for various different reasons aside from the preservation of … Continue reading

Good News for Obama?

Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina may have halted the straightforward march of Romney towards the Republican nomination (his tax return probably hasn’t helped either…). While the Newt’s renaissance may be halted in Florida it seems as though this has contributed to a lightening of the mood in the Obama camp… On a serious note the editorial in today’s Telegraph looking into … Continue reading

The Politics of Protest- on both sides of the Atlantic

Left Foot Forward have an interesting post looking at the nature of protests against government austerity and economic hardship in both the USA and the UK. This piece http://www.leftfootforward.org/2012/01/the-new-politics-of-protest/ is littered with excellent examples of the Pressure Group topic in Unit 1 and its counterpart in Unit 3. It also examines the nature of pluralism and … Continue reading

The Return of Newt

Newt Gingrich’s hopes of becomming the Republican nominee had looked dead in the water until his surge in South Carolina. The failure of Romney to win in South Carolina, raises questions about his electability in the South and has blown the Republican Primary wide open. It appears that Mitt Romney may have a ‘base’ problem- … Continue reading

Socialism- Alive and Well?

The political parties are jockeying for position on the ideological spectrum. With Cameron embracing ‘compassionate capitalism’ and Ed Miliband seeming to U- Turn on the issue of cuts and austerity. Socialism has been seen as a largely defunct concept in British Politics- since Labour became New Labour in the 1990s- however its had a few … Continue reading

An exciting year for reform buffs

The Electoral Reform Society (in itself a good example of a pressure group, which is used to provide expert information for government e.g. to the Commission looking into reforming the Lords) blog has provided a great run through of all the elements of constitutional and electoral change we can expect during 2012- it runs through … Continue reading

America is more divided by class than race

According to the Pew Research Centre- America’s divisions based on class have supplanted those based on race as the key cleavage in US society. This piece from yesterday’s Guardian suggests that while the US Presidential election of 2008 was fought on the issue of race, the battle on November will be fought on class lines. … Continue reading

House of Lords Reform- Any prospect for change?

An interesting piece from the UCL Constitution Unit Blog on House of Lords reform, (I know you are sitting Unit 2 as I write this, but it is interesting…). Have a look at the link to ‘Lord Tyler’s handout at the bottom of the page. http://constitution-unit.com/2012/01/18/prospects-for-lords-reform-a-view-from-the-joint-committee/

Can Labour beat the Conservatives in 2015?

Ed Milliband has had a tough weak, with serious question marks being raised about his leadership, and the policy direction of the party (Ed Balls suggested this week that parts of the Coalition’s economic ‘Plan A’ would have to be accepted) Tim Bale (University of Sussex and speaker at the next meeting of the Skidelsky society) … Continue reading

More Revolting Tories

We’ve mentioned the propensity of the current crop of Tory backbenchers to revolt before, (for detailed analysis have a skim through the posts on the Nottingham University politics blog- if you are interested in the statistics http://www.revolts.co.uk/). The EU referendum rebellion, in October 2010 makes and excellent example. However the size of that rebellion (itself a post … Continue reading