Politics

Alistair Cole

François Hollande was elected as France’s second Socialist president in May 2012. By his mid-term in office, his presidency had broken all records in terms of unpopularity, and there was a widely diffused public perception of the individual being a poor fit for the accepted institutional role. The chapter interprets Hollande’s descent in terms of the ambiguities surrounding his election as a ‘normal’ president in 2012; the result of a particular style and discourse; the unintended consequences of the political responses to the terrorist attacks of 2015; the longer-term impact of economic crisis; and the failure to bring down unemployment. All of these factors recalled the weak political, partisan and sociological bases of Hollande’s support from the outset. The chapter considers in detail the events of 2016, which culminated in the decision not to stand as a candidate in the 2017 presidential election.

in Emmanuel Macron and the two years that changed France
Alistair Cole

The chapter narrates the internal politics of the French right in 2016 to 2017, from the promise of virtually assured victory following François Fillon’s nomination as presidential candidate in November 2016 to the depth of despondency less than six months later, as Fillon failed to win through to the second round. Most of the analysis centres on the figure of Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the most influential politicians of his time. As the campaign gathered pace, Sarkozy appeared as a ‘has been’, as did Alain Juppé, the former premier whose welfare reforms had brought the country to a standstill in 1995. The fate of Sarkozy, Juppé and Fillon gave an early indication of the wide-scale rejection in 2017 of the old – both parties and politicians – who had outstayed their welcome. To add insult to injury, the Fillon scandal (which involved the candidate employing family members as political advisors) ran against the grain of the public’s demand for more transparency and honesty in its politicians.

in Emmanuel Macron and the two years that changed France
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Emmanuel Macron and the remaking of France
Alistair Cole

Has Macron changed the course of French politics? There are methodological dangers in drawing any too firm conclusions. These are inherent in the ‘great man’ version of history, where a focus on the individual ignores deeper forces and underlying heavy variables. They are also temporally contingent; the observed period is a short one, undoubtedly too short to permit firm conclusions. During the period under observation, Macron benefited from a favourable set of circumstances, with an overall presidential majority, the absence of an effective opposition and a vacuum of leadership in France’s main partners. The Macron project is above all a hybrid political and economic project. Macron has set out to reaffirm the centrality of the presidency and rehabilitate the discourse of the State.

in Emmanuel Macron and the two years that changed France
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Neil Collins and David O’Brien

This book focusses on the experience of Chinese people in their everyday lives. Ordinary individuals seek to conduct their lives in the context of the political system – complying and complaining as circumstances allow. Within limits, the CCP seeks to respond to public concerns. The public agenda may be amended to make environmental concerns, corruption and nationalism more prominent but the Party’s record of responsiveness to everyday concerns suggests political continuity rather than change.

in The politics of everyday China
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Peter John, Sarah Cotterill, Alice Moseley, Liz Richardson, Graham Smith, Gerry Stoker and Corinne Wales

The idea of deliberation is well established as a think strategy. But can it deal with controversial issues of public policy in an online environment? This chapter reviews the literature on this subject and reports a unique experiment in large-scale online deliberation involving 6,000 citizens. Drawing on evidence from these online debates on community cohesion and youth anti-social behaviour, it shows how online engagement can influence knowledge and opinions about public policy options.

in Nudge, nudge, think, think (second edition)
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Peter John, Sarah Cotterill, Alice Moseley, Liz Richardson, Graham Smith, Gerry Stoker and Corinne Wales

This chapter discusses an experiment on donating organs. It asks whether the nudge strategy of changing choice architecture can encourage people to agree to donate their organs after their death. It then outlines a second experiment testing whether a booklet alone or a booklet combined with a discussion (a think strategy) would cause people to be more willing to donate their organs. In this experiment, the elements of think and nudge were tested together.

in Nudge, nudge, think, think (second edition)
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.

National questions in a global era
Ben Wellings

This chapter examines the continuing elision between England, Britain and the United Kingdom that exists in political rhetoric despite twenty years of devolution. Accordingly this chapter shows how English nationalism is simultaneously expressed by and subsumed within a defence of British sovereignty that leads to a particular framing of major political – and especially constitutional – dilemmas in British politics. From the 1990s this defence of British sovereignty led to a nationalist logic of leaving the EU and reconnecting the United Kingdom with a global-era version of the ‘English-speaking peoples’: the Anglosphere. By making English nationalism the independent variable, this chapter lays the foundations of the argument that Brexit was a moment of English nationalism.

in English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere
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.

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The future of nudge and think
Peter John, Sarah Cotterill, Alice Moseley, Liz Richardson, Graham Smith, Gerry Stoker and Corinne Wales

Written specially for the second edition, this epilogue reviews the field since the book first came out in 2011 and assesses the future of nudge and think in light of subsequent developments in public policy. There has been a fast-moving agenda for nudge, which has gone from being the newcomer to an established policy tool. But it has also been an important time for think, which has matured as a form of governance. This chapter asks whether recent developments have followed the first edition’s recommendation for nudge and think to work more closely together. It also proposes a modified version of nudge, ‘nudge plus’, which incorporates elements of think and takes forward the vision of a decentralized, citizen-active form of nudging argued for in the first edition.

in Nudge, nudge, think, think (second edition)