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Geography and the British electoral system

Representational democracy is at the heart of the UK’s political constitution, and the electoral system is central to achieving it. But is the first-past-the-post system used to elect the UK parliament truly representative? To answer that question requires an understanding of several factors: debates over the nature of representation; the evolution of the current electoral system; how first-past-the-post distorts electoral politics; and how else elections might be conducted. Running through all these debates are issues over the representation not only of people but also of places. The book examines all of these issues and focuses on the effect of geography on the operation of the electoral system.

The essentials
Series: Politics Today
Author: Bill Jones

'Politics' with a big 'P' is concerned with how we, individuals and groups, relate to the state. This book commences with a definition of political activity with a focus on conflict, and government and democracy. Britain is, arguably, the oldest democracy in the world, though it took many centuries for it to evolve into its current 'representative' form. Conflict resolution depends on the political system involved. The book draws together all the elements of government, explaining the British system of governance, which is democracy but utilises representatives. Civil service advises ministers and carries out the day- to-day running of government. The book then describes the transformation of the British system of governance from an absolute monarchy to a representative democracy. It examines how economic changes have affected Britain over the centuries, and presents some thoughts on the absence of a modern British revolution. It presents an account of Britain's economic history, the class developments and differences, and the absence of a modern revolution despite astonishing levels of income inequality. Factors that might influence the political culture of Britain are discussed next. The book also touches upon the sources of British constitution, the process of constitutional amendments prevailing in the U.S. and Britain, current British politics, and the development of pressure groups in Britain. Finally, the history of party government in Britain, and details of the Conservative Party, Labour Party, the Social and Liberal Democrats, House of Commons, and Britain's international relations are discussed.

Wider still and wider
Author: Ben Wellings

English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere is the first sustained research that examines the inter-relationships between English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere. Much initial analysis of Brexit concentrated on the revolt of those ‘left behind’ by globalisation. English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere analyses the elite project behind Brexit. This project was framed within the political traditions of an expansive English nationalism. Far from being parochial ‘Little Englanders’, elite Brexiteers sought to lessen the rupture of leaving the European Union by suggesting a return to trade and security alliances with ‘true friends’ and ‘traditional allies’ in the Anglosphere. Brexit was thus reassuringly presented as a giant leap into the known. Legitimising this far-reaching change in British and European politics required the re-articulation of a globally oriented Englishness. This politicised Englishness was underpinned by arguments about the United Kingdom’s imperial past and its global future advanced as a critique of its European present. When framing the UK’s EU membership as a European interregnum followed by a global restoration, Brexiteers both invoked and occluded England by asserting the wider categories of belonging that inform contemporary English nationalism.

Abstract only
Helen Thompson

bedevilled with currency and trade problems that fuelled temptations to hyperinflation in some states and to deflation in others, neither of which was domestically or externally conducive to democracy succeeding. In deliberate contrast, the architects of the post-Second World War world believed that creating an international economy that was safe for representative democracy was crucial to the peace. The onset of the Cold War transformed the geo-politics of the Bretton Woods settlement, and the European economic crisis of 1947–48 revealed that the post-war pegged exchange

in Might, right, prosperity and consent
Helen Thompson

the gradual emergence of the modern state when several European monarchs sought to establish a monopoly over legitimate violence, and to exclude external legal intrusion in their affairs. In doing so, the most successful created states that claimed to rule as single sovereign entities, large territories inhabited by vast numbers of subjects divided by class, religious faith and mores. Out of the problems this generated, those who led them eventually turned to the idea of representative democracy and nationhood, only to discover that authority grounded in the idea of

in Might, right, prosperity and consent
Abstract only
Helen Thompson

M1218 - THOMPSON TXT.qxp:GRAHAM Q7.3 10/3/08 13:10 Page 1 Introduction This is a book about the external economic conditions that have shaped the success and failure of democratic states. The book begins from the premise that in the modern world the international economy is central to the problem of maintaining representative democracy as a pressure that can weaken it and a potential opportunity for strengthening it. In conception the book starts from a moment of departure in the world and moves backwards and forwards from that moment. In 1944, reflecting on

in Might, right, prosperity and consent
Direct or representative democracy?
Philip Norton

one of direct democracy versus representative democracy. The motivation for holding a referendum may be one of political expediency – not least holding together a party (as with the 1975 and 2016 referendums) or a coalition (the 2011 referendum) – but the justification is one of enabling voters to determine the outcome on a key issue of public policy. The principal argument advanced for referendums is that advanced by Vernon Bogdanor, namely that they supplement, rather than challenge, representative government by seeking the approval of the people. 14 Various

in Governing Britain
Riots and extraparliamentary participation
Matt Qvortrup

M801 QVORTRUP TEXT MAKE-UP.qxd 5/4/07 1:42 PM Page 58 Gary Gary's G4:Users:Gary:Public:Gary 4 Bottom–up politics: riots and extraparliamentary participation Citizen politics is many things, but a major aspect of it is to speak up for oneself and one’s community. In this chapter I consider a number of different forms of political engagement, all of which share the feature of being unrelated to representative democracy. Citizen government and involvement include a broad range of activities, legal as well as illegal, new as well as old. Having looked at

in The politics of participation
Abstract only
Matt Qvortrup

than in the past? And, if so, has that made the world become more democratic? Could it be that referendums are linked with the growth in social movements in recent years and the tendency to use alternative channels to challenge the status quo (see Della Porta 2006 )? Or, conversely, is the undeniable prominence of referendums undermining representative democracy, as some (Topaloff 2017 ) have suggested? Or is the growing number of referendums just an indication of a weaker political class prone to miscalculations, as others (Glencross 2016 ) have suggested? All

in Government by referendum
Bill Jones

system of law; to have a directly economic role, as a prime employer, in macro and micro intervention, and in the provision of infrastructure; more controversially, to have a civilising aim – government reflects the widely held norms and values, but can also help shape them, in the educational system and elsewhere; to foster regional and transnational alliances and pursue global goals. Source: Giddens (1998), pp. 47–8. Representative democracy and its requirements Britain is, arguably, the oldest democracy in the world – though it took many centuries for

in British politics today