Monday, 9 March 2015

The Political Quarterly seeks new co-editor

The Political Quarterly is seeking a new co-editor to work with Deborah Mabbett and to replace Tony Wright, who has been editor for twenty years.

We are looking for an editor who complements Deborah Mabbett’s interests in political economy, welfare state reform and regulation. We are particularly interested in applicants with expertise in political institutions, British parliamentary politics and political ideas. She / he must be committed to the ideals and aims of the journal as set out below.


The deadline is 1 May 2015. Applicants should supply a CV and a letter of application that explains what substantive contribution of interests and expertise they can offer PQ and sets out their views about the directions they would like PQ to take in terms of content, relationship to other journals, impact and relationships to academic publishing.

Applicants should contact Emma Anderson both for further information about the journal and to set up discussion with the editors or board members.

Editor Role Description

The Political Quarterly was founded in 1930 and has a distinct mission – to bridge the academic world and the world of public policy. It is not run as an academic journal, and the first requirement of an editor is the ability to understand and continue the PQ tradition. There is no system of academic refereeing for PQ, because it is not intended as an academic journal in that sense. This gives the editors greater freedom, but also greater responsibility. The main criterion for selecting articles is that they should have something to say about issues of political importance, and are able to say it in plain English without jargon.

The main tasks of the Editor include:

1. Assessing articles that are submitted for publication. There is a steady stream of articles that are submitted to the journal. Some of these are inappropriate for PQ and are best directed elsewhere, others need suggestions for editing and improvement before they are ready for publication. There are a number of people who write regularly for the Journal, although there is no obligation for the Editors to accept whatever they submit. All articles submitted are read by both editors, and both must agree before an article is accepted for publication.
2. Commissioning articles for publication. This is probably the most important part of the editorial role. The Editor has to be prepared to use his or her networks and contacts and those of Editorial Board members to commission articles on subjects that have topical political interest, as well as those judged to have lasting significance. Particularly valuable are speeches delivered by politicians and other public figures, for which after some light editing PQ is often a natural home. The Editors can also decide to have themed issues, a number of articles on a connected theme which make up part of one issue.
3. Commissioning special issues. There is one special issue every year, and the task of the Editors with the assistance of the Board is to identify firstly a topic and secondly an editor or editors for that issue.
4. Liaising with the Chair of the Editorial Board over the general running of the journal and the approval of expenditure.
5. Liaising with the Editorial Board. The Editors have a great deal of discretion, but they are appointed by the Editorial Board and are accountable to it. They give oral reports to the Editorial Board at its AGM.
6. Liaising with Co-Editors. The tradition of PQ is for there to be two Editors, who must both agree before an article can be accepted for publication. There is also a Literary Editor, two Reports and Surveys Editors who commission book reviews and reports for the Journal, and an Events Editor. Together with the Assistant Editors these form the Editorial team which meets regularly to plan issues.
7. Liaising with the Assistant Editors. Establishing effective ways of working and quick response times are vital to the smooth running of the journal.
8. Attendance at PQ meetings. These include meetings of the Editorial Board, normally two a year, and meetings of the editorial team, up to four a year.
9. Helping to select the winner of the prize for the best PQ article.
10. Promoting wider PQ activities and marketing. This involves attending PQ sponsored events – seminars, workshops, conferences, as well as the annual Orwell Prize, for which PQ is one of the major sponsors, and at which the best PQ article prize is announced. Having an awareness of marketing opportunities and liaison with the editorial office and Wiley.

Terms of office

Editors receive an honorarium and provision is made for their expenses to be covered. The appointment is initially for five years and subject to the approval of the Political Quarterly Board. The workload depends on the individual, but should be around 20 to 25 days per year. The honorarium can be adjusted to compensate more days, but it is expected that the new Co-Editor will have paid employment that is compatible with the position.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Call for proposals for special issues of Political Quarterly

Political Quarterly is pleased to invite proposals for special issues and special sections in 2015-16. Proposals should include a 2-3 page outline of the theme, its rationale and scope. PQ aims to 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 the special issue will conform to these aims.

Proposers are expected to name a group of at least four firmly agreed participants, along with a list of prospective invitees. An open call for further participants can also be made. The proposal should indicate the range of topics that the special issue will aim to cover and the planned number of papers. Papers should comply with PQ guidelines on length and style. The overall word length of a special issue should not exceed 70,000 words. Proposals for special sections of 15-30,000 words are welcome. 

Accepted proposals will be supported with funding from PQ for a workshop or similar event. Proposals should be accompanied by an indicative costing, working to an expected level of funding of between £500 and £2000. As a general rule, participants should submit draft papers before the workshop and final versions shortly afterwards, but proposals for preparatory events before papers are written will also be considered.

Please submit proposals for special issues or sections to by 31 July 2015.

Proposals will be reviewed by a subcommittee of the Editorial Board and decisions advised within six weeks.

Checklist for proposals:
1. The names and contact details of the proposers and firmly-agreed participants, together with brief biographical information;
2. The title of the proposal and 2-3 page outline, including an indication of the planned number of papers and range of topics;
3. Prospective invitees, and the wording of the open call, if applicable;
4. Planned workshop/ event location, date, size and indicative costing.

The deadline for final submissions of papers will be set in consultation with the editors. Final acceptance of submissions will depend on independent editorial review by PQ, and the editors reserve the right not to accept all the submissions to a special issue.

To find out more about PQ's style and guidelines, read our notes for contributors here.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Progressive Dilemmas: A Conference in Honour of David Marquand

David Marquand is one of the most eloquent and powerful voices in progressive politics in Britain. His remarkable career has spanned the worlds of political activism and political analysis, including periods in elected office, in journalism and in academia. Marquand’s numerous books and articles have sparked many important debates and exercised a major influence over the thinking of the British left. You can read a virtual issue with eleven of his papers published in PQ here, and see the conversation between Tony Wright and David Marquand here.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Leonard Woolf at the Political Quarterly

On the anniversary of the birth of Leonard Woolf on 25 November 1880, the Political Quarterly has made available for free twelve of his most famous essays written during his long association with the journal.

As co-founder of the Political Quarterly with William Robson in 1930, his 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.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Political Quarterly Annual Lecture

Recent Italian Politics in Historical Perspective

We were delighted that Paul Ginsborg took the Political Quarterly annual lecture on Tuesday 25 November 2014, 6.00 - 8.00 pm at the Institute for Government. The lecture, entitled 'Recent Italian politics in historical perspective' can be viewed here.

By whatever measuring rod one cares to adopt – economic, political, cultural – the Italian Republic has undoubtedly been in increasing difficulty since the early 1990s. The long dominion of Silvio Berlusconi in Italian politics has been only one, albeit highly significant, expression of a general decline, which has been accelerated by the global crisis from 2008 onwards. Faced with this situation, many distinguished commentators, both internal and external, have expressed doom-laden sentiments about Italy’s destiny. It is difficult to disagree with much of what they say, but I would like to urge caution. The Italian Republic – references to a second or third Republic seem to me to be rather spurious – has shown a remarkable capacity to survive. To explain why this is so, I intend to adopt a predominantly historical perspective, concentrating on three areas of enquiry: Italy’s cultural specificity as a Catholic and Mediterranean country; the perennial role of strong families acting as buffers against crises of varying dimensions; and the long-term European performance of Italy in relation to what Edward Thompson once called ‘the great arch of bourgeois revolution’. The picture that emerges is neither comforting nor cataclysmic.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Putting Neoliberalism in its Place

Neoliberalism is not as popular as its opponents seem so much to fear; in democratic politics it nearly always hides behind other ideologies and policy types, as its essential message that we should pursue no goals that cannot be achieved through the market is intrinsically unattractive to the majority of people. Its power lies in the wealth of its key supporters, and in the difficulty of raising coordinated opposition to it among post-industrial populations that have little sense of their political interests. The main base for hope of change in this comes from the as yet unrealised potential of women’s movements. You can read Colin Crouch's full article for free here.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Bernard Crick Prize

We are delighted to announce the winner of the Bernard Crick Prize for the best article in the Political Quarterly for 2013. The winner is Deborah Mabbett and you can read her article The Second Time as Tragedy? Welfare Reform under Thatcher and the Coalition for free here until the end of June.

Deborah received her award from Tony Wright at the Orwell Prize 2014 on 21 May 2014.