Thursday, 10 May 2018

What went wrong with liberalism? And what should liberals do about it?

Timothy Garton Ash
The 2018 Political Quarterly lecture by Timothy Garton Ash

You can hear the podcast from 20 June here.

For at least two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, some version of liberalism was ideologically hegemonic in most democracies and largely set the agenda of globalisation. As we now face a global wave of anti-liberal populism and authoritarianism we are bound to ask how far – and in what ways – that liberalism contributed to this dramatic reversal. Many analysts have pointed to the growing inequality and shattering financial crisis, attributing them to the simultaneous financialisation and globalisation of capitalism, and to policies often characterised as 'neoliberalism'. But should other, and perhaps deeper, features of contemporary liberalism share some of the blame?

Having made the right analysis, what lessons should liberals (with a small l, including liberal centre-right and centre-left) learn? Do liberals have any good answers to populism at home and authoritarianism abroad? How can we fight back?

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Special Issues Proposals

Deadlines: 1 October 2018
Political Quarterly welcomes proposals for special issues and special sections of the journal, and for events which promote the journal and publicise recent or forthcoming articles. PQ aims to promote debate and publish articles on issues of politics and public policy that are authoritative, informed by expertise and academic insight, challenging, intellectually demanding and innovative. Proposals should indicate how they will conform to these aims.
Funding is available for workshops, seminars and small conferences related to special issues and sections. Amounts between £500 and £3000 may be applied for, to cover travel costs, room bookings and hospitality, and speaker honoraria. Applicants should note that fees of £200-£400 are also paid to authors of accepted articles and editors of special issues.
Read more here.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Leonard Woolf at the Political Quarterly

Twelve articles by Leonard Woolf - Free to view

As co-founder of the Political Quarterly with William Robson in 1930, Leonard Woolf's aims for the journal were made apparent in a 1927 circular in which it was stated:

"The function of The Political Quarterly will be to discuss social and political questions from a progressive point of view. It will act as a clearing-house of ideas and a medium of constructive thought. It will not be tied to any party and will publish contributions from persons of various political affiliations. It will be a journal of opinion, not of propaganda. But it has been planned by a group of writers who hold certain general political ideas in common and it will not be a mere collection of unrelated articles..."

The areas Woolf wrote about were varied and cogent, and in this collection, we hope we have paid tribute to his work by including articles on the future of broadcasting, Labour’s foreign policy, the League of Nations and the United Nations, the personality of Hitler, music in the eastern bloc and espionage, security and liberty to name just a few topics.

You can access these twelve articles here and we would be happy for you to share this wealth of archive material to new generations who may not know his work.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Podcast: Nobody Knows Anything: Why is Politics so Surprising?

Podcast: Nobody Knows Anything: Why is Politics so Surprising?

The Political Quarterly Annual Lecture by David Runciman was given on
5 December 2017, with comment from Ed Miliband MP and chaired by Polly Toynbee. You can hear it in full below.

The 2017 General Election was the latest in a series of events that took pollsters, pundits, prediction markets and politicians by surprise. At a point when digital technology is supplying more information than ever before, politics is becoming more unpredictable.

How are these phenomena related? Why have the voters become so hard to read? And is the volatility of electoral politics a sign that democracy is still working or is it an indication of the trouble democracy is in?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Crick Prize for Best Article 2016

The Political Quarterly is delighted to announce the prize winners for the Crick Prize for Best Piece.

Sukhdev Johal, Michael Moran and Karel Williams have won the prize for their article ‘Breaking the Constitutional Silence: the Public Services Industry and Government.' The authors have received their prize money of £1000 to be shared and the article has been made free for a month. You can read the article here.

The authors write:

"It’s an honour to receive the Political Quarterly prize for best article of 2016, in particular because of the association with Bernard Crick, a great editor and a great public intellectual. The paper tries to carry out the most important role of the public intellectual: to use the evidence and insights of dispassionate inquiry to throw light on a policy problem. In this case the problem is one of neglect: the absence of any attempt to incorporate the great power of the corporation into the constitution of the UK. Our work is part of a larger body of continuing research and advocacy on the Foundational Economy carried out with colleagues from a wide range of institutions in the UK and abroad."

Michael Moran, Sukhdev Johal and Karel Williams.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Reading the British General Elections. Archive articles since 1931

The Political Quarterly is delighted to present a virtual issue collecting together articles on British elections and their implications, stretching all the way back to our first general election in 1931. At a time of instant opinion and excited claims of electoral novelty, we hope you will take a few moments to look at the ebb and flow of British political life in a longer historical perspective. Revisiting this historical context of contemporary British politics shows us more precisely how British politics has—and has not—changed over the last few years.

You can read the collection with articles by Sidney Webb (1932), R B McCallum (1932), Harold J Laski (1936) Peter G Richards (1945 and 1950) Arthur Butler (1959), J Enoch Powell (1959), Nicholas Deakin and Jenny Bourne (1970), William Rodgers (1979), David Howell (1983), Samuel H Beer (1997), Peter Riddell (2005), Peter Kellner (July 2005), Tim Bale (2011) and Tony Wright (2015) here.

Ben Jackson and Deborah Mabbett

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Who should be called to account? Margaret Hodge in debate with Philip Collins and Lucy Barnes

You can hear the podcast of Tony Wright in Discussion with Lucy Barnes and Philip Collins here.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances at Westminster, Margaret Hodge was unable to attend.

In Called to Account, Margaret Hodge reviews her experiences as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee until 2015. She has particularly sharp things to say about tax avoidance by multinational corporations, and about the civil servants who are meant to ensure that taxes are paid by the high and mighty as well as the low and ordinary. In this event she will debate her assessments with Philip Collins of the Times and UCL’s Lucy Barnes, with Tony Wright in the chair. Is it possible to get corporations to pay more tax, or are current practices the inevitable result of Britain’s ‘bargain basement’ approach to competition with other countries for investment and jobs? And are Hodge’s criticisms of senior civil servants fair, given that they may not be supported in taking a tougher line by their political masters?

Chair: Tony Wright was an MP from 1992 to 2010, and played a leading role in the ‘Wright reforms’ to Parliamentary select committees. He is currently a visiting professor at UCL and Birkbeck.


  • Margaret Hodge has been MP for Barking since 1994 and was Chair of the Public Accounts Committee from 2010 to 2015.
  • Lucy Barnes is a lecturer in comparative politics at UCL, specialising in the politics of taxation.
  • Philip Collins is a columnist and chief leader writer for The Times, and chair of the board of trustees at the independent think tank Demos.

This event is jointly organised by the Political Quarterly and the Centre for British Politics and Public Life at Birkbeck.

You can sign up for your free place here.