British Politics and Policy at LSE

I recently discovered an excellent blog produced by the London School of Economics and Political Science, entitled British Politics and Policy at LSE. From the blog’s About the blog page: We seek to make available analysis of UK politics and public policy in an immediately accessible and highly relevant way for a wide readership, drawing primarily on the community of academics and researchers at the London School of Economics, but also including many outside contributors with LSE connections. We invite contributions and comments on blogs from any interested reader. I have already linked to a few entries from this blog in previous posts. I’d like to highlight a few others here today. Patrick Dunleavy wonders is this is the death […]

Musings on rep by pop

In countries with representative democracy, we elect people to a legislative body to represent us. The representatives form an independent ruling body (for an election period) charged with the responsibility of acting in the people’s interest, but not as their proxy representatives, that is not necessarily always according to their wishes, but with enough authority to exercise swift and resolute initiative in the face of changing circumstances. While following the results of the recent Australian election, I noted that Australia’s House of Representatives has 150 seats, less than half the number of the Canadian House of Commons (308). Of course, Australia has a smaller population than Canada, but not quite that much smaller. Australia has about two-thirds the population of […]

Loose cannon or plain speaker?

In a recent column, Con Coughlin asks if David Cameron becoming  the new Bush because of a series of foreign policy-related gaffes the British prime minister has made in recent weeks: First there was the diplomatic rift with Israel over David Cameron’s description of Gaza as a “prison camp”.  Then there was the outrage in Islamabad over the prime minister’s accusations that Pakistan was looking both ways in the war on terror. Now Mr Cameron has completed his hat trick of diplomatic faux-pas with his claim that Iran has a nuclear bomb. I’ve previously explained that according to journalist Michael Kinsley, a gaffe in politics is when a politician accidentally tells the truth, or inadvertently says something publicly that they privately believe is true, […]

Rethinking political labels

Recently, on ConservativeHome, Tim Montgomerie blogged asking “What is Right-Wing?” Montgomerie admits to being less than satisfied with most of the definitions found online, and invited others to proffer their own definitions of what constituted being “right-wing”. I found this post and the comments made by readers interesting because I too have been struggling with definitions of late. It isn’t simply the definition of “right-wing” that troubles me; I am finding most political labels to be inaccurate, at times meaningless and frequently misused by others. “Right-wing”, “left-wing”, “progressive”, “liberal”, “conservative”, etc., all face the same problem: there is little agreement on what they mean. The biggest problem for me is that most people tend to lump economic philosophy and positions […]

Government and e-democracy

Governments haven’t been the quickest to embrace the internet as a means to expand and facilitate public consultation, beyond the ubiquitous “Contact Us” forms on websites, and the ability to submit briefs by email. Even something as simple as a petition, at least here in Canada, still has to be submitted the old-fashioned way: on paper, with real signatures. I am certain every government, both in Canada and elsewhere, has its own reasons for not venturing into the digital world more enthusiastically. However, a couple of recent, but very different, exercises in e-democracy from two different sources might provide some insight into why e-democracy initiatives haven’t moved to the forefront: it’s too difficult to control. 1. From the UK: Spending […]

Progressively confusing

I used to have a blog called Vues d’ici, in which I mostly blogged about various aspects of Canadian politics. A few posts were different, addressing matters not specifically related to Canadian politics. I was reminded of one of them recently after reading an opinion piece by Tony Wright the Guardian entitled “We can’t all be progressives“. In his article, Wright, a former Labour MP, writes: “So now we have progressive Conservatism implementing a programme of “progressive” cuts, adhering to what George Osborne christened a “progressive budget”, with the Liberal Democrats as progressive partners. If everyone is now a progressive, either the term has to be dumped or a serious attempt has to be made to give it some meaning.” […]