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11
Apr 2014
maria miller for blog
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What a dispiriting week for women. Following Maria Miller’s resignation, just three out of 22 Cabinet ministers are females – putting the UK government at a 15-year low and near rock bottom in comparison with other European governments. As the Counting Women In coalition has said, we’re going backwards not forwards on women’s representation.   […]
24
Mar 2014
sturgeon
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Last week I attended two different events which discussed the possibilities a written constitution presents to Scotland. This week I am due to attend another. Scotland has already begun to think about what a constitution might look like, regardless of the result of the referendum. The debate around constitutional rights is already a separate conversation […]
24
Mar 2014
close the gap
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Over the last few years, the European democratic deficit has reached almost epic proportions. Nearly three-quarters of the British people believe their voice doesn’t count in the European Union, and 68% don’t trust it. At the last European election only 34% turned out to vote, and it’s unlikely to be much higher this year. We […]
17
Mar 2014
Tasmanian devil
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The case for electoral reform has seldom been so clearly demonstrated as it was this weekend in Tasmania, Australia’s smallest state.   Elections in Tasmania differ quite widely from those held on the Australian mainland. For more than 100 years, the island has elected its lower house (the House of Assembly) by the proportional Single Transferable […]
12
Mar 2014
Elected Mayors
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This article was first published on Left Foot Forward   A BBC radio programme on postal vote fraud was aired last night, and it contained a call from a high court judge to scrap ‘on-demand’ postal votes. This knee-jerk reaction to the problem of fraud represents a complete failure to understand the real voting scandal – which […]
10
Mar 2014
North Korea flag
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This weekend the North Korean ‘election’ took place.   Of course, it wasn’t exactly democratic; it wasn’t really even an election. Each seat had only one candidate, and voters had the choice of voting either for them or against them. There is no secret ballot, votes are carried out in the full view of the […]
05
Mar 2014
Lovely cash
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With party funding in the news thanks to Labour’s special conference last weekend, we thought we’d find out what the public thinks about the relationship between money and political parties.   And it turns out that people have serious concerns.   Three-quarters of the public believe big money has too much influence on political parties, […]
05
Mar 2014
clegg farage for blog
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A date has now been set for Nick Clegg’s debate with Nigel Farage on the merits of Britain’s membership of the European Union. And it’s good news for our democracy.   People who are disengaged from party politics often claim it’s because politicians are “all the same” and don’t have any substantive argument with each […]
26
Feb 2014
PMQs for blog
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Prime Minister’s Questions hit the headlines last week following a Hansard Society report that found nearly half of their respondents thought it ‘too noisy and aggressive’. The Speaker, John Bercow, supported the report, criticising the ‘orchestrated barracking’ at PMQs.   But with all the focus on the decibels and ‘public school twittishness’ of MPs, the […]
25
Feb 2014
Nixon vs Kennedy
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Several commentators have suggested recently that there will be no leaders’ TV debates before the General Election in 2015. If they are right, it would be a step back for democracy in Britain.   TV debates, at their best, give a chance for real issues to come alive, and for voters to get a chance […]