Monday, 31 August 2015

Rotation in Government - a Discussion

Although once a classic democratic ideal, rotation in office is nowadays seen more as a natural consequence of competitive elections than a goal in its own right. The Political Quarterly has published a small collection with the lead article by Bob Goodin and Chiara Lepora, proposing that a strict rota, with each group taking a turn in office, might be preferable to ordinary electoral democracy in certain sorts of countries: nascent democracies, divided societies with persistent minorities and failed one-party democracies. Ways are suggested of combining intraparty democracy with interparty rotation.

You can read this article here, with four responses from Alan Ware, Peter Stone, Ben Saunders and Jason Edwards along with the response to the critics from Goodin and Lepora here. This collection is free for September.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Issue 86 3 out now!

In this quarter’s issue, you can read an article written by Robert Goodin and Chiara Lepora entitled “Guaranteed Rotation in Office: a ‘New’ Model of Democracy” and four responses from Alan Ware, Jason Edwards, Ben Saunders and Peter Stone. You will be able to read Goodin and Lepora’s response to those pieces in issue 86 4.

We also have articles on voter engagement and electoral inequality from Sarah Birch and Guy Lodge; press regulation by John Lloyd; the Committee on Standards in Public Life by Paul Bew; the growing power and autonomy of House of Commons Select Committees by Lucy Fisher; reports and surveys from Prem Sikka (tax avoidance) and Greg Power (parliamentary strengthening) as well as our book reviews. You can find the articles and reviews here.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

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.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Bernard Crick Prize for Best Piece 2014

The Political Quarterly is delighted to announce Alan Finlayson worthy winner of the Bernard Crick Prize for Best Piece 2014 with his article 'Proving, Pleasing and Persuading? Rhetoric in Contemporary British Politics' (85, 4: 428-36).

The criteria from the judges were as followed:

  • The Orwell test: Was the article written in good, clear English?
  • The scholarship test: Was its knowledge base sound and well grounded?
  • The Alzheimer test: Could I remember its contents clearly several days after reading it?
  • The durability test: Is it likely to be read some years later, or was it just good current comment?
  • The originality test: Did it have something distinctly new to say?

Finlayson’s article ‘Proving, Pleasing and Persuading? Rhetoric in Contemporary British Politics’ (85, 4: 428-36) just had something special. From a highly classical starting point – Cicero’s ideas on the use of rhetoric – and two speeches by Conservative prime ministers – Balfour in 1903 and Cameron in 2013 – he constructed an extraordinary critique of contemporary British public life. At the heart of it was a discussion around the observation:

The greatest difference between contemporary British political culture and the presuppositions of a rhetorical polity is the absence from the former of a strong sense of the ‘common’ – of a people that could and should meaningfully and purposefully govern and judge itself….. [This] is the outcome of an intellectual and principled objection, on the part of our political elite, on ethical as well as empirical grounds, to a politics based on the common good. (page 434)

You can read the article free here  

Call for proposals for special issues of Political Quarterly

Political Quarterly is pleased to invite proposals for special issues and special sections in 2016-17. 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 January 2016.

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.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Scotland Collection

The Scottish independence referendum was held on the 18th September 2014. With a voter turnout of 85%, 55% voted No to the question ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ Yet, the result did not settle the matter once and for all. Instead, attention has moved quickly to the report of ‘Smith Commission’, formed to produce a plan to introduce ‘extensive new powers’ for the Scottish Government, and the outcome of the UK General election, which will determine which parties will have the greatest say in its implementation.

The special issue examines the key issues that arose during and after the referendum. It suggests that the Scottish experience, of designing and debating referendums, provides a model for a large number of comparable countries. What some describe as a parochial debate has taken on international importance. It also discusses a series of perhaps counterintuitive arguments: the links between the UK and Scottish Governments could become stronger as greater devolution produces more shared responsibilities; constitutional reform did not go hand in hand with reforms to strengthen the Scottish Parliament or other political reforms; Scotland is generally less left-wing than many of the debates suggested; and, devolution does not lead to inevitable differences in Scottish policy.

Paul Cairney

You can read all twelve articles in the collection for free here

Monday, 18 May 2015

Reflections on UKIP and the 2015 Election

The General Election produced a stunning Conservative victory, defying the polls. London stood out as the most prominent Labour bulwark, and many in the Westminster village remarked that minority voters played a key part in Miliband’s success in the capital. Trevor Phillips and Richard Webber, in their insightful analysis of London’s politics, point out that two-thirds of minority Londoners voted Labour while two-thirds of White British Londoners opted for UKIP or the Tories in the European elections, foreshadowing a Britain in which ethnicity eclipses class as the master cleavage. In the wake of his victory in May, Cameron stuck to his promise of a European referendum, hinting at a ‘deal’ from the EU which will convince British voters to remain in Europe. Andrew Geddes’ piece is sceptical that he will succeed, nicely dispelling the notion that far-reaching change is possible within the EU. Should Cameron fail to get a deal, the beneficiary will be Nigel Farage, who, despite recent ructions within UKIP, promises to play a large role in the Brexit campaign. Speaking of UKIP, Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin’s article predicted they would attain over 10 percent of the vote and they were correct – their essay explains why UKIP’s base is so resilient and why its appeal is unlikely to fade any time soon.

You can read the articles for free here:

Superdiversity and the Browing of Labour by Trevor Phillips and Richard Webber

The EU, Ukip and the Politics of Immigration in Britain by Andrew Geddes

Understanding Ukip: Identity, Social Change and the Left Behind by Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin

Eric Kaufmann