Parliament and democracy

Blogs about devolution, the devolved nations and the Union can be found here.


Politics and the peerage
You’ll never get politics out of the Lords, and nor should you. The problem isn’t including politics — it’s excluding voters (16 August 2020)

‘This is not a debate’
Sometimes you can say that once you’ve built a settled consensus. Otherwise, you’ll lose the debate you tried to spurn (25 July 2020)

Take votes seriously
We’re treating the whole electoral process as a partisan football, and it’s bad for democracy (28 October 2019)

Legitimacy’s limits
Parliament has the right to cancel Brexit without a referendum. That doesn’t make it wise (16 September 2019; cross-posted at Harry’s Place)

In praise of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act
It’s been blamed for a multitude of sins, but has done more good than harm during the Brexit process (14 September 2019)

Free votes
Or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the Whip (5 January 2016)

Lords in limbo
Apply the Salisbury Convention in spirit as well as letter, please (13 May 2011)


Crowning complexities
I used to be a convinced republican. I’ve concluded it’s more trouble than it’s worth (23 February 2020)

Symbols matter
The case for a republic (13 April 2011)

Electoral reform

Revisiting representation
Reasserting parliamentarism means deliberation and debate. For that, we need the main strands of opinion properly represented in Parliament (13 March 2017)

Why I’m voting ‘Yes’ to AV
AV isn’t perfect and it won’t fix every problem.  But it’s a better and a fairer way of choosing our representatives than the one we’ve got (1 May 2011)

If we get fairer votes, we need some better stats too
When AV produces hung parliaments, it provides more information about what voters prefer. But if we want that information, we need to record it (7 April 2011)

Coalitions, majorities and mandates
Our present position isn’t an indictment of coalition government: it results from a belief that people won’t vote for frankness in a general election (9 February 2011)


Public good
The Cummings farrago exposes a government which doesn’t grasp its own role (25 May 2020)

Trashing the BBC comes at a price
Progressives should defend public service broadcasting. Flirting with the anti-BBC lobby has helped imperil it (17 February 2020)

We shouldn’t cheer the milkshaking of right-wingers. Here’s why
Well-meaning people cheering the sight of Nigel Farage covered in milkshake isn’t harmless. The coarsening of our politics is a real problem, and this is part of it (New Statesman blog, 21 May 2019)