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Turn out predicted to hit record low

The next set of elections in the UK will be to select the new Police Commissioners. The notion of elected police commissioners was a central part of the Conservative manifesto in 2010. With turnout predicted to hit a new low of 18% questions are being raised about the legitimacy of the protest. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9483006/Turnout-of-18-predicted-for-police-commissioner-election-shambles.html The Electoral … Continue reading

Conference Season

After the long summer break party politics returns with a vengeance this weekend as the party conference season starts. The conference season will see the media indulge in a brutal post- mortem of each party: their policies, leaders and unity will all be disected by TV commentators and newspaper editors alike. Will Clegg survive until … Continue reading

The Rise of UKIP

A worrying thought in many ways- but this piece that Mr Carr Hill spotted in the Guardian makes interesting reading about the potential impact of UKIP on the Conservative performance at the next general election. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/19/ukip-force-shape-2015-election

The Electoral College

The Electoral College is the defining process behind the election of a US President. That check on the excesses of democracy put in place by the Founding Fathers dominates discussion of presidential elections because ultimately however many votes you win won’t help you if you can’t convert it into electoral college votes (just ask the Bull … Continue reading

Swing States

Ultimately most US Presidential elections boil down to the behaviour of voters in Swing States- we all know how Texas and New York will vote in November, the interesting part of US election night is always what happens in the ‘purple’ states with no defined, predictable Republican or Democrat tendencies. This excellent graphic from the … Continue reading

It you find you are getting Hague confused with Heseltine…

Some of you are fairly confident with the background to British politics and can explain what the poll tax riots were etc. Others (understandably) still find the last twenty years a little hazy. If you want to get some of that background information sorted out this clip from Andrew Marr’s History of Britain is a … Continue reading

Lions and electoral systems

If you are still a little puzzled by the workings of AMS- this short video explains the system through the medium of zoo animals. What more could you want from a youtube clip- mixed member hybrid electoral systems and lizards! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT0I-sdoSXU It’s worth noting that when the narrator talks about MMP (mixed member plurality system) … Continue reading

A divided nation?

We keep telling you this but the single most important narrative in American politics is the process of partisan polarisation. This trend influences almost every aspect of American politics and was clearly evident at the Party Conferences. This piece from today’s Guardian suggests that the two conventions showcased two very different parties: one, the Democrats driven … Continue reading

The reshuffle

David Cameron conducted his first major reshuffle last week and the details of who is in or out; promoted or demoted dominates the Sunday papers. The Guardian’s Andrew Rawnsley suggests that Cameron has provided a masterclass in how NOT to reshuffle a cabinet. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/09/andrew-rawnsley-cameron-cabinet-reshuffle There have been quite a few grumblings this week that the … Continue reading

Negative Campaigning

Negative campaigning is the process of discrediting your opponent rather than focusing on your own attributes. It has been on the rise in American poltics for a while and is closely linked to the process of political polarisation. Negative campaigning has long been associated with disillusionment and political apathy and the continued rise of negative … Continue reading

Convention Fatigue

The convention season is drawing to a close as well as Bill Clinton and Paul Ryan we have seen U2 and Clint Eastwood take to the stage as the conventions become less about policy and more about showmanship and the media. The problem with the modern convention is the theme of the Economist’s Lexington column … Continue reading

The changing ideology (?) of US political parties

The Washington Post has an interesting piece about the changing nature of the policy platforms put forward by American political parties. In the terminology of a Unit 1 UK politics question we would be discussing this in terms of ‘ideologies’ however as American politics has historically been ‘ideological- lite’ the notion of an evolving platform is perhaps … Continue reading

The Cabinet Reshuffle

David Cameron reshuffled his Cabinet this afternoon. With several high profile scalps and demotions this is arguably the biggest assertion of the PM’s power over government thus far. Needless to say the online editions of the broadsheets and magazines have already produced enormous amounts of copy on this story. Here are some of my favourites … Continue reading

Newsweek on Obama

There are two excellent pieces available on the Newsweek website. The first is written by the British historian Niall Fergusson (who has Republican sympathies) examine why Obama deserves to be defeated in November. There are lots of examples of what Fergusson refers to as broken promises. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/08/19/niall-ferguson-on-why-barack-obama-needs-to-go.html The inability of Obama to deliver what he … Continue reading