Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Coalition, the Davies Commission and the Wicked Issue of Airport Expansion

Photo Mark Winterbourne
Once again, the possibility of a third runway at Heathrow is back on the policy agenda in what appears to be the endgame of a creeping policy reversal by the Coalition. Ambushed by a sustained campaign in favour of aviation expansion, many commentators interpreted the Davies Commission to be an attempt by the government to defer its need to make a decision until after the 2015 election. But the announcement of the Commission’s interim conclusions has surely thrust airport expansion squarely into the political arena once more, thus reactivating antagonisms and cleavages over the future of the industry. This renewed politicization of the issue should be seen in the context of the failure of New Labour to forge a broad societal consensus about the future of aviation in the face of a skilful anti-expansion campaign, which connected the issues of airport expansion, the aviation industry and climate change in a heady mix. It also suggests that the return of a technocratic style of politics led by an expert commission might not be enough to resolve what has become a ‘wicked issue’ for all parties and governments.

Steve Griggs and David Howarth

You can read the full article here.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Berlusconi, Boehner and the Brink: Lessons for Political Reform in Britain

Alan Ware
The Italian and American crises in the early autumn of 2013 may seem grotesque to observers, but in many ways they are merely extreme instances of how it has become more difficult in democratic countries to provide for what political scientists used to call ‘the aggregation of interests’. There is now a less widespread belief that your interests will be taken into account, and this has given rise to a greater willingness to risk harm to the political system by your insistence that they be given priority. One consequence is to make it even more important than it previously was that reform of institutions is not undertaken in an ill-informed or complacent way. Unlikely though it might seem at first glance, there are lessons to be learnt by British political reformers from the events in Rome and Washington.

You can read the entire article by Alan Ware here.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Political Quarterly at War 1939-1945

London by Moonlight 1940 © IWM (D717)
In the second of our virtual issues, we felt it fitting to follow on from our first collection 'Reading the Thirties: The Rise of Fascismand Totalitarianism', by republishing several articles from the period 1939 to 1945, ensuring that this valuable resource might be freely available to anyone who is interested in politics, history and social change.

As you might imagine, the PQ archive has many, many fascinating and poignant articles and choosing just a handful for this collection was not easy. We are pleased we have been able to include articles written by Kingsley Martin, Leonard Woolf, William Robson, Barbara Wootton, Barbara Ward, Harold Laski, GDH Cole , RHS Crossman, John Parker, DN Pritt, Tom Harrisson, DW Brogan, A Creech Jones  and ‘Politicus’, touching on themes such as how the war was to be paid for; the colonies during the war; what was to happen to Germany after the war; the situation of women; France; the Italian and German Alliance; and the Ministry of Information.

We do hope you find this collection interesting and useful and that you will enjoy reading these frank and insightful articles from this era. You can see the collection here.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Better Government by Gus O'Donnell

In the latest issue of the Political Quarterly, Gus O'Donnell lays out his plans for better government.

"My aim here is to propose some of the key reforms that I believe would lead to better government. As you would expect given my work championing the use of wellbeing as the objective of policy, better government for me is a government that enhances wellbeing. But I also believe that better processes also matter, so we need to worry about the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’ of government achievements."

You can read the full article here.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Making Capitalism Fit for Society

Medical Sciences Building, University College London UCL, Thursday 30 January, 2014, 5.30 pm. You can register here.


The Political Quarterly, in conjunction with the department of Politics at UCL and The Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life at Birkbeck are hosting a public debate about Colin Crouch's new book Making Capitalism Fit for Society on 30 January 2014 at 5.30 pm in Bloomsbury.

In his book, Colin offers ways of challenging neo-liberalism. He argues that accepting capitalism need not mean we have to accept the full neo-liberal agenda of unfettered markets and absent social provision. He offers instead a vision of a more assertive social democracy with a range of policy options. The book builds on the ideas that Colin has been developing and advocating since his Post Democracy (2004). It has attracted considerable attention in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia where its proposals are being debated across the political left. We think that the debate should be brought to the UK.

Panellists are: David Coen (UCL), Helen Thompson (Cambridge), Andrew Gamble (Cambridge), Virginie Guiraudon (Sciences Po) and chair Tony Wright (Birkbeck and UCL).

For more information about the event please contact Emma Anderson and register here.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

One Nation

For the Labour Party Conference in Brighton this year, we published a special issue featuring four articles on One Nation. The articles were written by Stewart Wood, Tim Bale, Amarjit Lahel and John Gaffney, and Mark Wickham Jones. These articles will appear in the forthcoming issue 84 3, due out soon.

You can read them here:


Introduction - Reflections on One Nation Labour by Michael Jacobs









Monday, 16 September 2013

PQ and the Fabians at the Labour Party Conference

Spin Alley: Debating the Leader’s Speech

The Political Quarterly are pleased to be sponsoring the Fabian Society event, Spin Alley: Debating the Leader’s Speech, on Tuesday 24 September at 19:15 – 20:30, Mercure Brighton Seafront Hotel.

Jessica Asato (PPC, Norwich North – Chair), Jackie Ashley (Columnist, The Guardian), John Denham MP, Michael Jacobs (Political Quarterly), Marcus Roberts (Deputy General Secretary, Fabian Society) will be discussing the main issue of the day.

We will be handing out free copies of the One Nation collection appearing in our next issue due out soon, with articles from Stewart Wood, Mark Wickham-Jones, John Gaffney and Amarjit Lahel and Tim Bale.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

From our Archives: The Middle East

Since 1930 we have published many articles on the situation in the Middle East written by prestigious academics, diplomats, writers and journalists. We have been through our archives and have selected three articles from 1931, ‘Ten Years of International Mandates’ by Norman Bentwich, Attorney-General of Palestine; 1946, ‘Patterns of Power in the Arab Middle East’ by “Henricus” and from 1955, ‘Strategy in the Middle East’ By T. E. M. Mckitterick. We hope you find these articles interesting and will offer an historical perspective of the region.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Issue 84 2 out now!

The latest issue of Political Quarterly is now available. Highlights include:

• A personal and profoundly insightful account by Ron Amann of how the police in Britain are governed, drawing on his experiences as a member of the West Midlands Police Authority before its abolition last year. This article, a major contribution to our understanding of modern public administration, is available to view here.

• An analysis by Ron Johnston of how high education student fees actually work: are they really ‘fair and progressive’? This article is also free to view and can be read here.

• Katherine Dommett on Liberal Democrat fortunes in the Coalition Government

• Peter John on the new political science of policy experimentation and behaviour change

• Norman Bonney on the new role of the Church of England

And many more.

Don’t forget, to access the whole issue online you can subscribe to Political Quarterly at a special rate of £10 for a year – unbelievable value!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Reading the Thirties: The Rise of Fascism and Totalitarianism

Image Bundesarchiv. Bild 137 048390 Foto: Hoffmann
The Political Quarterly is pleased to present our first virtual issue, a foray into the depths of our archives, and a new venture where we examine a theme at close quarters via articles written for the journal over the last eighty years. The founding of The Political Quarterly in 1930 by Leonard Woolf, Kingsley Martin and William Robson created a space for academics and non-academics alike to write about issues of the day that concerned them. It quickly became a vessel for high-quality writing in good, clear English, and which now provides us with a valuable source of archive material for readers in the 21st century. Following on from the recent digitisation of the journal, we are pleased to be able to share many of these articles with a new audience and this first virtual issue charts the rise of Fascism and Totalitarianism in the 1930s.

Marc Chagall mural Krakow Jewish Quarter
You can read the full introduction here and explore the many articles from Leonard Woolf, Leon Trotsky, Carl Joachim Friedrich, Benito Mussolini, Harold Laswell, Elizabeth Wiskeman, Ernst Toller, H R G Greaves, Freda Utley, "Miles", "Genevan" and Charles H Wilson. You can access all of the articles here.

Monday, 6 May 2013

The Future of Capitalism


The Political Quarterly Annual Lecture

4 June, 6.30 - 8.00 pm New Theatre, East Building, LSE

The Political Quarterly are delighted to announce that John Kay will be giving the annual Political Quarterly lecture on 4 June 2013 at LSE. You can find more details here.


The crisis of 2007-8 was a major setback for supporters of a neoliberal economic philosophy: yet in its aftermath neither the political left nor the political right have been able to offer a coherent account of the strengths and limitations of a market economy. This lecture will attempt to fill that gap.

Julian Le Grand will be chairing and the respondent to John Kay is Mariana Mazzucato.




Response to Mulheirn and Jacobs debate

Alan Finlayson's response to Ian Mulheirn and Michael Jacobs' debate on the social market and its discontents.

"The debate between Ian Mulheirn and Michael Jacobs, published in Political Quarterly, provides a clear view of the fault lines that are taking shape within the British Labour left; divisions that do not derive simply from differences in tone, attitude or policy detail but which are rooted in fundamentally different conceptions of individuals, societies and government. Only when such differences are fully recognised can Labour properly clear the ground and coordinate a coherent political response to the coalition government. Accordingly, this response is intended to help clarify the ‘shape’ of these differences, indicating something of their origin and highlighting their political and philosophical orientation..." Read the full response here [pdf]

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The social market and its discontents – analysing capitalism and public policy

In this Political Quarterly debate held at the Institute for Government on 15 April, Ian Mulheirn and Michael Jacobs discussed whether or not the social market offers the right framework for addressing the big public policy challenges of the day. 

Social market theorists argue that public policy should promote the use of market mechanisms, as the most effective means of allocating resources both in the private sector and in many public services.  They argue that neither free-market fundamentalism nor statist approaches offer a role for government that will result in either socially acceptable or economically efficient outcomes from the market economy.   

But critics argue that the huge number of problems generated by economies today - from the financial crisis to environmental degradation, from growing inequality to the concentration of corporate power - requires a more systemic government role in shaping and constraining market forces.  Who is right? 


You can watch the debate here 

You can read Ian Mulheirn's article here, Michael Jacobs' article here and Ian Mulheirn's reply here.

Please feel free to comment below.


Ian Mulheirn is Director of the Social Market Foundation. Michael Jacobs is Visiting Professor in the School of Public Policy at University College London and Co-Editor of The Political Quarterly. Chair Polly Toynbee is columnist for the Guardian.




Monday, 11 February 2013

Scotland, renewable energy and the independence debate: will head or heart rule the roost?


All rights Supercod
David Toke
Five energy experts led by Dr David Toke of the University of Birmingham cast doubt on notions that Westminster would continue to pay for the achievement of Scottish Governmental renewable energy targets if Scotland becomes independent. Renewable energy development is a centrepiece of SNP policy. The Scottish Government has led the way in the pursuit of ambitious renewable energy objectives, but it is still the case that without the subsidies paid by electricity consumers in the rest of the UK, the Scottish Government's ambitious targets for renewable energy would be politically unachievable. You can download the article free here.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Northern Ireland


Image courtesy of Sippakorn
In October 2011, a number of experts from Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland gathered to debate the Northern Ireland Peace Process in an Age of Austerity at a roundtable at Birkbeck College, University of London. Contributors to the roundtable provided articles for a Political Quarterly special issue in early 2012. Articles concentrated on how tougher economic times would affect dissident Republicanism and Protestant paramilitarism, as well as on the broader question of how the Peace Process would be affected by government cutbacks. This was followed by a successful discussion of the papers by leading Northern Ireland politicians, journalists and academics at the Political Studies Association conference in Belfast in April. The general view, with some dissent, was that many of the dynamics that were driving both the Peace Process and sectarian violence had a long trajectory, and would not be greatly affected - for good or ill - by economic austerity.

As we enter 2013, the themes discussed in the special issue continue to resonate. The tempo of dissident Republican activity remained high throughout 2012, with numerous successful and foiled attacks. In November, David Black, a 52-year-old father of two, was shot on the M1, becoming the first prison officer to be murdered in Northern Ireland in almost 20 years. Dissident republicans joined forces to form a reconstituted IRA, promising further attacks in the New Year. Meanwhile, Belfast City Council's decision in December 2012 to cease flying the Union flag apart from on designated days led to weeks of rioting by loyalist protesters. Though Unionist politicians condemned the violence, many supported the aims of the protesters. The violence reflected a theme of continuing Unionist angst over their demographic, economic and political decline which began in the dying days of the Stormont period. As with much else in the province, the vagaries of peace and conflict appear to be rooted in long-term dynamics.

Details of the special issue can be seen here and you can read four of the articles that came out of the conference here free:





Eric Kaufmann
Birkbeck


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Political Quarterly special subscriptions offers for 2013 – just £27 or £10!



The Political Quarterly is pleased to let you know that from 2013 you can subscribe to The Political Quarterly for just £27 a year – or a mere £10 for the online edition.  For this you will get four action-packed issues plus a special PQ book on the state of democracy in the UK. Amazing value!

The next issue of The Political Quarterly will be out in the New Year. It includes:

  • A debate between Ian Mulheirn and Michael Jacobs on whether we are all social marketeers now
  • An analysis of the social composition of the Parliamentary Conservative Party in the wake of ‘plebgate’ and the ‘arrogant posh boys’ accusation
  • Analyses of public attitudes towards the poor and welfare by Peter Taylor-Gooby, and towards immigration and public trust in politics by Lauren McLaren
  • Kenneth Morgan on the left and constitutional reform – from Gladstone to Miliband
  • Oliver Daddow on the shifts in British foreign policy from Blair to Cameron


So order your subscription today!  Click here.