Monday, 2 November 2015

Progressive Dilemmas: A Political Quarterly and Policy Network Symposium

The success of the right in the 2015 UK General Election and the subsequent realignment of the UK Labour Party underline the need for a period of profound reflection on the purpose and electoral offer of progressive politics in the 21st century.
This event will offer a key platform for political and academic reflection on the challenges a centre-left politics faces in Britain. Topics and areas covered will include: changing values, societal trends and political fragmentation; territorial diversities and changing electoral geography; what it means to be ‘progressive’ in a 21st century open, global world; and prospects for new political alliances and realignments. For a full speakers' list and to read more about the symposium see here.

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.

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  

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

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Coalition Collection

On 11 May 2010, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats formed Britain's first full coalition government since 1945. Despite initial scepticism, their partnership has survived bitter disagreements over issues such as constitutional reform and Europe. Indeed, the parties have worked effectively together in a number of areas, notably foreign policy and education. This raises a number of questions. Why did some initiatives prove to be particularly contentious? Conversely, why was co-operation on other policies relatively straightforward? How did the two leaders seek to manage conflict both within and between their respective parliamentary parties?

In addition to exploring these questions, this special section examines some of the issues that will confront the next government regardless of its composition. Of particular concern are the UK's constitutional arrangements, the fallout from the Scottish independence referendum, and the nature of Britain's engagement with the EU and the wider world. With the forthcoming general election set to be the most unpredictable in a generation, it is hoped that this collection of articles will offer useful lessons for subsequent coalitions, while providing insights into the competing dynamics of conflict and co-operation at work within the Cameron-Clegg government. You can read the articles from the collection, edited by Judi Atkins, here free.

Introduction: Conflict, Cooperation and the Cameron-Clegg Government by Judi Atkins

‘Together in the National Interest’: The Rhetoric of Unity and the Formation of the Cameron–Clegg Government by Judi Atkins

The Liberal Democrats and the Coalition: Driven to the Edge of Europe by Eunice Goes

Unity and Distinctiveness in UK Coalition Government: Lessons for Junior Partners by Libby McEnhill

Interventionism by Design or Failure: The Coalition and Humanitarian Intervention by Timothy Oliver

The Coalition and the Decline of Majoritarianism in the UK by Oonagh Gay, Petra Schleiter and Valerie Belu

The Coalition and the Politics of the English Question by Richard Hayton

When Second-Best is Still a No-Brainer: Why Labour Should Shoot for a Majority Coalition in May 2015 by Ben Yong and Tim Bale

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 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.