Has illiberalism brought the West to the brink of collapse?
Series: Pocket Politics

The West of which we speak is defined by the values of liberal democracy, individual freedom, human rights, tolerance and equality under the rule of law. This book explores how Islamist terror and Russian aggression as companion threats to the West when terrorists target Russia as well as the United States and its allies. The threats posed by Islamist terror and Russian aggression present themselves in very different ways. In the time of transatlantic traumas, the Islamist terrorist threat and the Russian threat have worked diligently and with some success. The book examines the hatred of Islamists towards Western democracies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union for their involvement in the Middle East politics for several decades. There is no single explanation for the rising popularity of illiberalism in the Western democracies; a combination of factors has produced a general sense of malaise. The book discusses the sources of discontent prevailing in the Western countries, and looks at the rise of Trumpism, Turkey and its Western values as well as the domestic tensions between Turkey's political parties. It suggests a radical centrist populist Western strategy could be applied to deal with the threats and challenges, reinvigorating the Western system. The book also touches upon suggestions relating to illiberalism in Europe, Turkey's drift away from the West, and the Brexit referendum.

Strategy and mobilisation
Series: Pocket Politics
Author: Andrew Monaghan

Under Vladimir Putin, the Russian leadership has consistently sought to shape a strategic agenda. This book discusses the strategy planning process and the legislative and policy architecture that has taken shape. It explores the nature of the agenda itself, particularly Putin's May Edicts of 2012, which set out Moscow's core strategic agenda. The book examines the questions raised by the numerous problems in planning and the extent to which they undermine the idea of Russian grand strategy. It explores what the Russian leadership means by a 'unified action programme', its emphasis on military modernisation, problems that Russian observers emphasise, strategy undermining, and the relation of mobilisation with the Russian grand strategy. The book argues that Russian strategy is less to be found in Moscow's plans, and more in the so-called vertical of power. The broader picture of Russian grand strategy, and the leadership's ability to implement those plans, is examined. The book discusses patriotic mass mobilisation often referred to as the 'Crimea effect', and the role of the All Russian Popular Front in the implementation of the leadership's plans, especially the May Edicts. It talks about the ongoing debate in the Russian armed forces. Finally, some points regarding Russian grand strategy are discussed.

Series: Pocket Politics
Author: Philip Norton

The United Kingdom has a parliamentary system of government. The House of Lords is the second chamber of Parliament. As with the House of Commons, there was no specific date on which we can say it came into existence. The House of Lords has its origins in the courts of medieval kings, starting with the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot and its Norman successor, the Curia Regis. It is distinctive for three reasons. The first is the very fact of its existence as a second chamber. Its second distinctive feature is to be found in its origins and its longevity. The third distinctive feature is that the members of the House are not elected. In this, the House is not unique. Several nations, including Canada, have appointed second chambers. The fact that members of the House of Lords are not elected is core also to understanding the debate on reform of the House. In order to give shape to the debate, the book adopts four approaches to reform: the four Rs of retain (keep the House as an appointed chamber), reform (have a minority of members elected), replace (have most or all members elected), and remove altogether (abolish the House and have a unicameral Parliament). It looks at the origins and development of the House of Lords and the reforms implemented, or proposed, in the period since 1911. The book draws out the problems inherent in trying to discern the future of the House of Lords.

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Series: Pocket Politics
Author: Edward Ashbee

This book explores how a candidate who broke with almost every single norm governing candidate behaviour, appeared to eschew the professionalised forms of campaigning, and who had been more or less disowned by Republican elites, prove victorious? The focus is on Trump and his campaign; the account does not go beyond the November election and its immediate aftermath. The book argues that the Trump campaign, like earlier populist insurgencies, can be explained in part by considering some defining features of US political culture and, in particular, attitudes towards government. It explains the right-wing populism that has been a recurrent and ingrained feature of the political process over a long period. The book discusses structural characteristics of the American state that appear to be of particular significance in shaping attitudes, as well as some other ideas and frames brought to the forefront by the Trump campaign during the course of 2015 and 2016. It also considers the shifts and swings amongst voters and suggests that these, alongside ideas about the state and the 'entrepreneurial' efforts of the campaign, form part of the explanation for Trump's eventual victory. The book assesses Trump's ascendancy as a function of, and reaction to, the strategies and discourses pursued in the years preceding 2016 by Republican Party elites. 'Trumpism' and European forms of populism are still in some ways weakly embedded but they may intensify the battles and processes of group competition between different constituencies.

Series: Pocket Politics
Author: Matt Qvortrup

This book is a series of 'remarks' and 'sketches', which together form a mosaic to show how the use of the referendum followed a strict, almost Hegelian pattern of the 'unfolding of freedom' throughout the ages. It outlines how referendums have been used in Britain and abroad, presenting some of the arguments for and against this institution. The book commences with an outline of the world history of the referendum from the French Revolution to the present day, and then discusses the British experience up to 2010. The book examines the referendum on European Economic Community membership in 1975, considering the alternative vote referendum in 2011 and the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. Next, the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum in 2016, especially the campaign leading up to it, is discussed. After the analysis of the Brexit referendum, the book touches on the Maltese referendum on divorce in 2011. It summarises some of the trends and tendencies in the use of the referendum internationally, highlighting that Britain is not a unique case in holding referendums. The book shows that, notwithstanding the general assumptions about referendums, these are not usually associated with demagogues and populism, but the referendum has tended to be used as a constitutional safeguard. However, in Britain, a country without a formal written constitution, these safeguards were not in place. For the referendum to work, for this institution to be a constitutional safeguard, it must be a people's shield and not the government's sword.

Series: Pocket Politics
Author: Alistair Cole

This book looks at the period 2015–18 in French politics, a turbulent time that witnessed the apparent collapse of the old party system, the taming of populist and left-wing challenges to the Republic and the emergence of a new political order centred on President Emmanuel Macron. The election of Macron was greeted with relief in European chancelleries and appeared to give a new impetus to European integration, even accomplishing the feat of making France attractive after a long period of French bashing and reflexive decline. But what is the real significance of the Macron presidency? Is it as transformative as it appears? Emmanuel Macron and the remaking of France provides a balanced answer to this pressing question. It is written to appeal to a general readership with an interest in French and European politics, as well as to students and scholars of French politics.

Series: Pocket Politics

This book looks at how the contract between the Chinese state and its citizens produces ready compliance and apparent support despite the problems of corruption, food scandals, air pollution and the constraints on personal freedom. It explores the ways in which China’s past is presented as both a mandate for political monopoly and a promise of a glorious future. It does so through the voice of China's own people, by exploring the lived experiences of a broad range of her citizens from across a wide range of socio-economic, rural, urban, ethnic and religious backgrounds. The volume aims to use an ethnographic approach to comprehend how Chinese people in the twenty-first century feel about key issues they face at crucial point in the nation's development.

Series: Pocket Politics
Author: Michael Clarke

British defence policy often appears to be a complex construct, surrounded by confusing technicalities. But it is not difficult to understand if the essential anatomy is properly understood. This book distinguishes the six most important elements in British defence policy – its essential anatomy – and outlines each of them using the most up to date information and statistics. It examines the costs of defence policy, the equipment choices, the personnel and human factors that make up military forces, the operational experience of British forces since the Cold War, the strategic policymaking structures for defence and finally the plausible futures it faces. Throughout this anatomy a series of difficult policy questions, as well as a number of broader conceptual challenges, constantly recur and in the final chapter on ‘futures’ these questions are drawn together in a critique of current British defence policy. This book is intended to take the atmosphere of technical obscurity – and much of the jargon – out of a wide range of highly specialised defence studies literature and distil it to give the reader a way of understanding this particular policy sector and the tools with which to make their own judgements about Britain’s defence policy during the current era.

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The dark side of politics
Series: Pocket Politics
Author: Wyn Grant

The term 'lobbying' derives from the particular location in which the activity supposedly takes place, the parliamentary or legislative lobby. In practice, most lobbying takes place elsewhere: in government offices, in restaurants or online. This book presents the arguments in favour of and against lobbying. It deals with the various types of lobbyists prevalent in Britain: insider groups, outsider groups, business lobbyists, and commercial lobbyists. The renewable energy industry and the alcohol industry are examples of associations engaging in business lobbying. The book examines how lobbying is carried out, how lobbyists frame or define a policy issue and challenge existing framings, the initative taken by governments to consult stakeholders, the role of social media in revolutionising lobbying, and the forming of advocacy coalitions. It considers three case studies of lobbying in action: the campaign to reduce sugar consumption, issues relating to fixed odds betting terminals, and the future of the Green Belt. The case for and against the regulation of lobbying is discussed next. The book looks at the UK system of regulating lobbying and the regulation prevalent in the European Union. It also examines the issue of whether the democratic process gets unduly distorted by lobbying. Electoral politics can still trump pressure politics.