Oliver Latham investigates whether a government’s popularity has an effect on the level of scrutiny it will face in the media – finding that a scandal hitting a government eight points behind in the polls will receive sixty per cent more coverage than an identical scandal hitting a government that is eight points ahead.
George Philip argues that the war between the UK and Argentina changed the politics surrounding the Falkland Islands. Prior to 1982, the government was looking for a way to transfer authority. Now, since the memory of the war is still very much in the public mind, the British position is verging on intransigence.
UKIP has watched as its competitors on the mainstream and radical right have exited the electoral field. Robert Ford writes that previously Conservative-voting ‘strategic Eurosceptics’ along with the BNP’s ‘polite xenophobes’ have joined UKIP’s ranks giving Nigel Farage and his party an unprecedented political opportunity.
Andrew Bowman, Ismail Erturk, Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal, John law, Adam Leaver, Michael Moran and Karel Williams have recently published a report for the CRESC on the British banking industry and the Libor scandal. In this article, they call for a more comprehensive investigation than the one announced by the Prime Minister on Monday, and argue that the banking crisis is a crisis of politics.
The centre-left has been outflanked on issues of immigration and identity. Labour must connect with the ‘culturally threatened’, writes Matthew Goodwin or risk undermining the public’s trust in the political system even more.
Northern Ireland’s suicide rate has doubled since the Good Friday Agreement. Michael Tomlinson explains that the toxic mix of greater political stability and increasing social isolation is putting those born into the Troubles at much greater risk of suicide than their British or Irish counterparts.
Stephen Brookes argues that the biggest change to police governance since the formation of the modern British police service is about to go ahead almost unnoticed by the vast majority of the British public. The reforms may well strike at the very heart of police independence.
Paul Gregg discusses the case for a focus on predistribution: policies that target income inequality in a preventative sense rather than interventions in terms of higher taxes and benefits. He highlights the benefits of predistribution; for instance, that the political space for action is substantially greater than for tax and benefit redistribution, as well as highlighting a key constraint: indirect interventions often lack the power to overturn the deeper processes already at work.
While the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement attracted much discussion of its immediate political significance, Kimberley Trewhitt suggests that it was a missed opportunity to address much longer term problems. She argues that projections for spending on health and pensions should worry us greatly and that much needed reform will only become more difficult with time.
John O. McGinnis demonstrates how new technologies combine to address a problem as old as democracy itself: how to help citizens better evaluate the consequences of their political choices. Ana Polo Alonso thinks we can support or dismiss McGinnis’s proposals, but we cannot deny that the author makes a major effort to bring forth ingenious measures to really ‘accelerate democracy.’
Accelerating Democracy: Transforming Governance through Technology. John O. McGinnis. Princeton University Press. December 2012.
"Liberal Terror." Brad Evans. Polity. February 2013. ---
Despite living in the most secure of times, we see endangerment everywhere. Whether it is the threat of a terrorist attack, a natural disaster or unexpected catastrophe, anxieties define the global political age. While liberal governments and security agencies have responded by advocating a new catastrophic topography of interconnected planetary endangerment, our desire to securitise everything has rendered all things potentially terrifying. This is the fateful paradox of contemporary liberal rule, writes Brad Evans in his recent book. Liane Hartnett finds that the Orwellian tone may not appeal to all, but the importance of Evans’ project ought not be understated.
"Reforming the Unreformable: Lessons from Nigeria." Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. MIT Press. October 2012. ---
Corrupt, mismanaged, and seemingly hopeless: that is how some of the international community viewed Nigeria in the early 2000s. Then Nigeria implemented a sweeping set of economic and political changes in an attempt to reform the unreformable, writes Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. This book aims to tell the story of how a dedicated and politically committed team of reformers set out to fix a series of broken institutions, and in the process repositioned Nigeria’s economy in ways that helped create a more diversified springboard for steadier long-term growth. Joel Krupa recommends the book to readers interested in the future of energy and the region.
"Social Research After the Cultural Turn." Sasha Roseneil & Stephen Frosh (eds.) Palgrave Macmillan. January 2012. --- Social Research after the Cultural Turn aims to address fundamental questions facing those working in the social and human sciences today: How have the epistemological and political contexts of social research changed? Can we still define a distinct sphere of ‘the social’ to research? What distinguishes social research from cultural studies and the humanities? Donna Peach writes that the breadth of topics and depth of enquiry into epistemological and methodological assumptions makes this book a useful companion for academics in any area of the social sciences.
"Psychology and Politics: a Social Identity Perspective." Alexa Ispas. Psychology Press. December 2012. --- This book covers a wide range of political topics, such as the way in which categorising ourselves into groups influences how we perceive the social world, the implications of categorisation for social influence, and the mechanisms underlying obedience under authoritarian regimes. Yves Laberge thinks this book serves as an excellent update on the social identity perspective.
"After the Spring: Probation, Justice Reform and Democratization from the Baltics to Beirut." Johannes Wheeldon. Eleven International Publishing. June 2012. --- This book argues that a central aspect of democratization in the Middle East should include reforming the justice system. Focusing on probation, it proposes a three-tier model to understand efforts to reform penal practices, develop community-based alternatives to punishments, and promote the greater participation of society, featuring case studies from Russia, Estonia, and especially Latvia. Ruth Houghton encounters many unique insights into Latvian social and political culture, useful for future development projects.
"Eminent Parliamentarians: The Speaker’s Lectures. Philip Norton" (ed.). Biteback. October 2012. --- In 2011, John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, instigated a series of public lectures in which current parliamentarians reassessed the careers and characters of earlier parliamentary giants. This book brings together those lectures, and will surely be of interest to political historians and Westminster researchers. Reviewed by Paul Wingrove
Portrait of a Party: The Conservative Party in Britain, 1918-1945. Stuart Ball. Oxford University Press. April 2013. --- The Conservative Party is the least investigated and understood of British political parties, despite its long record of success. Using an original approach and a wide range of sources, Stuart Ball analyses the nature and working of the Conservative Party during one of the most significant and successful periods in its history. Academic historians will likely find Ball’s study a fruitful endeavour, especially if they are working on related or tangential historical themes, concludes Jason Brock.