Posts Tagged

British Politics

The impact of Brexit on India depends upon the general election of the UK scheduled for December 12, 2019. With Conservatives in power, Brexit seems to bring opportunities for India on many fronts. However, if the Labour Party comes into power, it may reverse that impact. The reason is the varied ideologies of both the parties concerning India. Historically, Indian National Congress (INC) had taken the Conservative Party with a pinch of salt. The racial slurs by Prime Minister Winston Churchill of the Conservative Party on the Bengal famine of 1943-44 and his remarks during the debate of the Independence Bill in British Parliament in 1947 had turned Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the INC against the Conservatives. However, …

In Britain, the government dominates parliament. This claim is a staple of “textbook” descriptions of British politics. Academic literature also suggests the British government’s power over parliament is unusual in international terms. As a result, the government’s struggle to secure parliament’s support for its Brexit deal has been widely seen as evidence that Brexit has challenged – or even overturned – this conventional wisdom. However, in this blog post we argue that recent events can be better understood as an acceleration of pre-existing trends in Britain’s political institutions and political parties that have weakened government’s grip over parliament. The Brexit process may have challenged the government’s ability to control parliament, but it was pushing at an open door. Three institutional …

Cybersecurity has become a major concern for governments, companies and citizens, as some of their most sensitive information is routinely stored and communicated online. Rogue attackers can steal confidential information or corrupt their databases, potentially leading to critical security incidents ranging from reputational damages and economic losses to national security risks. The threat, however, works in two ways. While companies and governments are concerned about being targets of digital infiltration, they have used these technologies to obtain extensive information from common citizens for crime and terrorism prevention or commercial purposes. Collecting geolocationdata and screening social networks are now common practices, relatively easy to carry out due to the embedded features of modern devices. For years, many surveillance practices were conducted …

Reshuffles are a chance to revive the fortunes of a Prime Minister by changing the faces of their Cabinet and Government. January’s offered much but delivered less; the occupants of key Cabinet positions remained in place after all. May’s big beasts stood their ground, seemingly immovable; Justine Greening was the most prominent and the only woman to exit the Cabinet. The optics of Theresa May’s reshuffle became, at this point, about increasing diversity. But this neither told the real diversity story of the reshuffle, nor made an adequate case for diversity in the executive. Increasing diversity in their Cabinets appears to be of increasing importance to leaders and has been shown to have beneficial impacts on both policy outcomes and …

The liberal philosopher A.C. Grayling is one of the foremost opponents of Brexit. No doubt he salutes the bravery of those Tory MPs dubbed ‘mutineers’ by the Daily Telegraph when they brought about Theresa May’s first Commons defeat as they supported an amendment to her EU withdrawal bill to give Parliament a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal”. These Tory MPs defied the so-called ‘party whip’. Whips are MPs appointed by parties in Parliament to do what they can to make sure party members vote the way the party wants. Grayling is not a fan of the whipping system in general: he regards whipping as ‘undemocratic’, and he connects it to increasing levels of mistrust in MPs and …
Photo of sign that reads "polling station".

Some six months before Theresa May called a surprise general election, The Road to Somewhere was published. In it, David Goodhart argues that the old political divide, between left-wingers and right-wingers, has been superseded. The electorate, Goodhart claims, is now better divided between “anywheres” and “somewheres”.  Peter Wiggins looks at the Goodhart argument in the context of the 2017 general election. Of “Anywheres”, “Somewheres” and “Inbetweeners” According to The Road to Somewhere, roughly 25% of the population are “anywheres” – they are mobile, metropolitan, liberal, tolerant, at home wherever they may be, and wary of group attachment. These voters are likely to be highly educated, and they tend to approve of “mass immigration,” subscribing, as Goodhart puts it, to “progressive …

Theresa May has this morning announced that she intends to call a general election on June 8 in a bid to increase the size of her parliamentary majority and to reduce the ability of opposition parties to extract concessions from the government during Brexit negotiations. This raises the question of how she plans to achieve the election, given that the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (2011) removed the Prime Minister’s ability to trigger general elections. Under the Act, an early election can only be called under two conditions; (i) if the government is defeated in a vote of no confidence and parliament does not vote to express confidence in a government within two weeks, or (ii) if a two-thirds parliamentary majority endorses …

In earlier generations voters were spoiled for choice. Between 1832 and 1885 many had more than one vote in general elections. The British parliament contained county and borough constituencies and these, depending on size, would return two to four MPs with voters able to vote for as many candidates as there were seats to be filled. A recipe for chaos, perhaps, but there were advantages to these multi-member constituencies. For instance, the Liberals could put up a left-wing radical as well as a traditional Whig, thus broadening their appeal to the electorate. [One wonders whether such an approach could appeal to the modern Labour party]. The upshot was that electors had a choice of which MP to turn to for …