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