I’d like to share a few links with readers.
Everyone’s favourite elections expert from down under, Antony Green, is in the UK at the moment – in part to observe the ongoing referendum campaign, and in part for a vacation. He has a provided a very interesting contribution to the British Politics and Policy at LSE blog in which he writes that the experience with AV at the Australian state level suggests that AV in the UK may not change the national picture of who wins seats that much, but will increase the legitimacy of MPs who otherwise could not demonstrate that they have local majority support.
Human rights activist Jemima Khan has an in-depth interview with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. The comments from readers are the typical anti-Clegg knee-jerk reactions that have become the norm in the more left-wing media, but the interview itself is interesting.
One of the points Clegg raises in the interview is his concern the impact of his work might be having on his children:
He has successfully managed to keep his family out of the spotlight, “to create a firewall” between his world and theirs, although he worries constantly that “what I am doing in my work impacts on them emotionally, because my nine-year-old is starting to sense things and I’m having to explain things. Like he asks, ‘Why are the students angry with you, Papa?'”
This led James Forsyth to pen a thoughtful piece on the consequences of political abuse. Sadly, the comments there aren’t much better – not aimed at Clegg specifically, but at politicians in general, which then leads me to this piece by Steve Richards in the Independent calling for an end to the loathing of politicians:
Throw into the mix the fashion for a fairly aggressive media culture and it is not surprising we are where we are. It is a dangerous place to be. Think about the weird sequence. We vote, or some of us do, and then those who are elected are loathed. What would we prefer? Perhaps Prince William should not only get married but rule over us too.
Also from the Spectator, from a couple of weeks ago, a post by Alex Massie about the use of hyper injuctions in the UK, which prohibit individuals from even talking to their MPs about certain matters. There is growing concern that this might be a breach of parliamentary privilege.
From Canada, a rather depressing assessment of the House of Commons. Again, it’s a bit old (from February), but still worth reading.
And finally, a piece from ConservativeHome about what academics think of the coalition.