Political parties are crucial to British democracy, providing the foundations for mobilising voters. Their constituency branches are key links between voters and Parliamentary candidates and their activities require two vital resources – people and money. Much has been written on the decline of party membership but far less on money.
In this much-needed new book, Ron Johnston and Charles Pattie use the latest research and hitherto unpublished material to explore financial differences across the UK’s three main parties in the four years leading up to the 2010 General Election. They look at how much local parties raise for election campaigns and find that the more money candidates spend then, the better their performance. Analyses of their annual accounts, however, show that many local parties are unable to raise all of the money that they are entitled to spend on such campaigns. This reveals an unhealthy picture of grassroots party organisation in which the capacity to engage effectively with many voters is concentrated in a relatively small number of constituencies and is likely to remain so.
This timely and essential book will make a major contribution to the literature on British elections and parties, especially to continuing debates regarding party funding. It will make important reading for academics, students, politicians, civil servants and others interested in this topic.
In what ways is the meaning and practice of politics changing? Why might so many people feel dissatisfied and disaffected with electoral politics? What approaches do political activists use to raise issues and mobilise people for action? What role does the internet and social media play in contemporary citizenship and activism? This book brings together academics from a range of disciplines with political activists and campaigners to explore the meaning of politics and citizenship in contemporary society and the current forms of political (dis)engagement. It provides a rare dialogue between analysts and activists which will be especially valuable to academics and students across the social sciences, in particular sociology and political science.
In the century since women were first eligible to stand and vote in British general elections, they have relied on news media to represent their political perspectives in the public realm.
This book provides a systematic analysis of electoral coverage by charting how women candidates, voters, politicians' spouses, and party leaders have been portrayed in newspapers since 1918.
The result is a fascinating account of both continuity and change in the position of women in British politics. The book demonstrates that for women to be effectively represented in the political domain, they must also be effectively represented in the public discussion of politics that takes place in the media.
Exploring unique survey and interview data on the personality characteristics of British politicians, this book provides a timely psychological analysis of those individuals who pursue political careers and how they represent their constituents once elected.
Focusing specifically on the Basic Human Values of more than 150 MPs as well as hundreds of local councillors, Weinberg offers original insights into three compelling questions: Who enters politics and how are they different to the general public? Do politicians’ personality characteristics matter for their legislative behaviour? Do voters really get the ‘wrong’ politicians?
Taking a fresh psychological approach to issues that are predominant in political science, this book casts new light on the human side of representative democracy.
Remaking governance focuses on the dynamics of change as new strategies - active citizenship, public participation, partnership working, consumerism - encounter existing institutions. It explores different sites and practices of governing, from the remaking of Europe to the increasing focus on ‘community’ and ‘personhood’ in governing social life.
The authors critically engage with existing theory across political science, social policy, sociology and public administration and management to explore how ‘the social’ is constituted through governance practices. This includes the ways in which the spaces and territories of governing are remade and the peoples constituted; how the public domain is re-imagined and new forms of state-citizen relationships fostered and how the remaking of governance shapes our understanding of politics, changing the ways in which citizens engage with political power and the selves they bring to that engagement.
Remaking governance is essential reading for academics and students across a range of social science disciplines, and of interest to those engaged in policy evaluation and reform.
Reviving local democracy offers a vivid and persuasive critical examination of New Labour’s programme for the modernisation of local government, providing a balanced view of the democracy and participation debate. Since 1997, the Blair government has sought to mobilise popular participation through local referenda, new political structures, electoral reform, and the creation of powerful new elected mayors. Through these mechanisms it is hoped that the lack of public interest and persistently low election turnouts will be overcome.
The book draws on a wide range of new survey data to relate the crisis of local politics and governance to wider changes in the political culture. The author goes on to evaluate the government’s proposals to reverse decline, asking whether this programme of reform is likely to succeed. With the aid of a series of recent surveys of both public and councillor opinion, and the successful blending of historical and empirical analysis, she offers an assessment of the realities which the democratic renewal project will have to confront in its implementation.
The book is topical and timely, and highly accessible, and will appeal to students, those involved in local government, and anyone concerned to see local government become more representative, responsive, and open to popular participation.
Social Democracy is on the back-foot, and increasingly centre-left political parties are struggling to win office. Bringing together a range of leading academics and experts on social democratic politics and policy, Why the left loses offers an international, comparative view of the changing political landscape, examining the degree to which the centre-left project is exhausted and is able to renew its message in a neo-liberal age.
Using case studies from the UK, Germany, Spain, France, Australia and New Zealand contributors argue that despite different local and specific contexts, the mainstream centre-left is beset by a range of common challenges. Analysis focuses on institutional and structural factors, the role of key individuals, especially party leaders, and the atrophy of progressive ideas in explaining why the centre-left is currently in retreat. Why the Left Loses is aimed at stimulating wider debate about the fortunes of the centre-left.
Available Open Access under CC-BY-NC licence. 50 years after the establishment of the Runnymede Trust and the Race Relations Act of 1968 which sought to end discrimination in public life, this accessible book provides commentary by some of the UK’s foremost scholars of race and ethnicity on data relating to a wide range of sectors of society, including employment, health, education, criminal justice, housing and representation in the arts and media.
It explores what progress has been made, identifies those areas where inequalities remain stubbornly resistant to change, and asks how our thinking around race and ethnicity has changed in an era of Islamophobia, Brexit and an increasingly diverse population.
Why do democracies fall apart, and what can be done about it?
This book introduces students to the concept and causes of democratic decay in the modern world. Illustrating the integral link between public commitment to democratic norms and the maintenance of healthy democracies, it examines the key factors in decaying democracies, including:
• Economic inequality;
• Populist and authoritarian discourse;
• Declining belief in political institutions and processes.
Drawing on real-world developments, and including international case studies, the book outlines the extent to which there is a ‘democratic recession’ in contemporary politics and shows how transnational networks and technology are impacting on this development.
Although there is a growing body of international literature on the feminisation of politics and the policy process and, as New Labour's term of office progresses, a rapidly growing series of texts around New Labour's politics and policies, until now no one text has conducted an analysis of New Labour's politics and policies from a gendered perspective, despite the fact that New Labour have set themselves up to specifically address women's issues and attract women voters. This book fills that gap in an interesting and timely way.
Women and New Labour will be a valuable addition to both feminist and mainstream scholarship in the social sciences, particularly in political science, social policy and economics. Instead of focusing on traditionally feminist areas of politics and policy (such as violent crime against women) the authors opt to focus on three case study areas of mainstream policy (economic policy, foreign policy and welfare policy) from a gendered perspective. The analytical framework provided by the editors yields generalisable insights that will outlast New Labour's third term.