Opinion

Personal views from University of Bath researchers on the news of the day

Posts By: Andy Dunne

UK votes for Brexit

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📥  EU Referendum, Public Policy

As the UK dissects the results of the historic referendum on membership of the European Union and the decision of the British people to vote to leave, academic experts* from the University are providing comment and analysis on what this now means for politics, democracy, the economy, business and for the rest of the EU.

* Additional comments will be added to this blog throughout the day.

An uncertain future for the EU.

An uncertain future for the EU.

A far from united United Kingdom – Professor Charlie Lees

“In every single way you cut the cake the United Kingdom is far from united on this issue. We’re divided by age, by our countries and regions and by people with degrees and those without.  

“Many might have voted ‘leave’ in the EU referendum with a view to protecting the UK from further encroachment of laws from Brussels. But now one of the unforeseen consequences will be that Scotland is likely to have another referendum on Independence, which the SNP is highly likely to win, and in Northern Ireland there will be renewed questions over Irish unification. In the long term it’s possible today’s result might actually be the first step in the break-up of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“Without doubt this is one of the most significant, momentous decisions in our lifetime. And reality is about to bite for the Brexit camp, especially with the Prime Minister’s decision to step down in the autumn.”

‘Europe’ at a crossroads: What lessons from a Brexit? - Dr Nick Startin 

"The UK’s vote to leave the EU is a symbolic turning point in the history of European integration and is already sending shockwaves through the institutions of the European Union. After an intensely fought campaign based largely around the issues of immigration and the economy ‘Europe’ finds itself at a crossroads. With Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty likely to be set in motion by the UK government formalising the process of leaving the EU, the result will serve to galvanise Eurosceptic voices across the continent. Far Right Front National leader Marine Le Pen is already calling for a referendum in France on EU membership and similar opinions are being espoused by other populist leaders such as Geert Wilders in the Netherlands.

"Is this the end of the European project founded in the rubble of the Second-World War? This will depend on how the EU’s elites respond to a UK Brexit. EU elites have been slow to respond to dissenting voices in the past and have not engaged sufficiently with them. Eurobarometer data tells us that public support and trust for the EU has declined across the member states in recent years on the back of the 2004 EU enlargement and the more recent economic crisis. The appetite for ‘ever closer union’ has waned in many nation. If the EU is to survive, the reform agenda (of which we hear so much) must be embraced as a matter of urgency. Transparency, accountability and democracy are the key. There needs to be further recognition on the part of the EU’s elites that a ‘one size fits all’ approach will only serve to divide rather than unite.  Failure to learn this lesion from the UK Brexit vote could lead to an unravelling of the EU as we know it."

The economic ramifications of Brexit - Professor Chris Martin

"The shocking decision to leave the European Union has plunged the UK into a severe political crisis. There is a risk that this spills over into a major economic crisis. The exchange rate has had the largest fall for many years. This has good effects (exports are cheaper) and bad effects (imported goods are more expensive, leading to less demand and more inflation). Large falls in the share price of major housebuilders, suppliers of luxury goods and consumer electronics firms suggests that the markets expect the bad effects to outweigh the good. In addition, Brexit has plunged the UK into a long period of deep uncertainty; uncertainty leads to less demand from consumers and less investment by firms, multiplying the already adverse effects of the fall in share prices.

"But the greatest worry is the very sharp drop in the share price of major banks. The financial crisis of 2008-9 showed the almost existential dangers of a financially vulnerable banking system. Policymakers need to take immediate action to offset these risks and to stop the economy being dragged down further. We need action from the Bank of England. It needs to provide massive support for the banking system. We may feel uncomfortable about providing further support for a deeply unpopular banking system, but there is no choice. The fall in the exchange rate will increase inflation. The Bank of England must ignore this and state that it will not increase interest rates while instability lasts. And we need action from the Chancellor. An emergency budget that raises taxes would make a difficult situation much worse. We need a commitment to increase government expenditure, to support demand and employment for as long as this crisis lasts."

Remain campaign defined by diffuse anxieties and beliefs - Dr Susan Milner

"The EU referendum campaign left voters feeling confused and frustrated about Britain’s place within the European Union. By relying on ‘Project Fear’ over a clear-headed assessment of the benefits and limitations of membership, the Remain campaign allowed the campaign to be redefined by more diffuse anxieties and beliefs. In this context, two key patterns of voting behaviour appear to have emerged.

"First, anger and disappointment of those who felt left behind by economic development translated into a classic rejection vote. The voting count showed this starkly as a geographical divide. Second, the Leave campaign was able in the last few weeks to channel the sense of democratic renewal which had galvanised the earlier Scottish referendum campaign and to articulate it in the theme of ‘regaining control’. In this they were undoubtedly assisted by EU leaders’ own failure to frame European integration as a people’s rather than an elite project. With both main parties revealing deep divisions, Britain’s electoral politics have become highly volatile and internal cohesion is under heavy strain. On one hand, it is not clear where the referendum result leaves the pro-membership swathes of the population – Northern Ireland and Scotland, many urban centres, and younger people who appear increasingly disengaged from mainstream politics. On the other, populist politicians are evidently making gains from growing social inequality."

Vote to leave the EU has imperilled the union - Professor Nick Pearce 

"The 20th century was a story of the contraction of England and the end of Empire. But only now is the reverse logic of Seeley’s master narrative being fully realised. England has voted to leave the European Union and in so doing has imperilled her own union. The wound of Irish partition has been reopened and Scotland now faces the prospect of another independence referendum. Only Wales has stood with England in choosing to leave the European Union.

"Empire gave Britain command of the global economy, until hegemony passed to the US. Trade and finance flows kept Britain afloat as it ceded industrial leadership to the US and Germany. Foreign direct investment and the City played the same role after we de-industrialised. Today, our economic weaknesses stand brutally exposed: Brexit has caused mayhem in the markets and a run on the pound. As we adjust to the shock, we will become poorer.

"What is England now? What is her role in the world? Alas, the referendum debate told us nothing of these things; it was sour, parochial and mendacious. It has destroyed a Prime Minister and there is rubble everywhere."

Read more from Nick via the IPR blog.

To Brexit and beyond - Professor Bill Durodié

"The decision by a net majority of the eligible electorate in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union is a triumph for our freedom and self-determination. It comes despite most predictions and the use of a politics of fear over more than twenty years on all issues from health and the environment to child safety and international security. The European Union as it was came into existence when the Cold War ended. Leaders the world over feared the uncertain consequences of the demise of the old politics of Left and Right. Avoiding risk rapidly became their new organising framework in a period devoid of other guiding principles. But their foremost though rarely stated fear, was always that of their own people. Despite the economic and migration concerns of the elites thrown up in the referendum debate it is those from whom power and authority truly derive who have now spoken the clearest. The European Union now stands discredited with an uncertain future as other electorates will surely take their lead from the United Kingdom and demand their own referenda to leave too. Of course, much remains to be done in the period ahead. This is only a first step. But it will lead to many other debates. It is those who do not fear change to whom the future belongs."

Read more from Bill via The Conversation.

The people have spoken - Professor Graham Room

"The people have spoken: they want out.  It is now incumbent on Parliament and Government to implement this decision: incumbent in a political – if not in a constitutional - sense. What terms of exit are likely to be agreed? What will the EU members be prepared to offer?  The Brexit campaigners argue that it will be in the interests of the EU to agree an early and generous exit agreement with the UK.  That is not self-evident.  Many expect the EU to negotiate a hard bargain, if only to discourage others who might think of heading for the exit, and in order to counter the right-wing nationalist elements which many of them face within their own countries.

"The key question is this: will the UK Parliament and Government feel themselves obliged to persist with exit, no matter how hard the terms which the EU offers?  Or will they take the view that under those conditions they would have no alternative but to put those terms to a new referendum?  Nothing in the EU Treaty would prevent the UK government from doing this: and then allowing the result of that second referendum to abort the withdrawal process. Is it not therefore possible that an informal alliance may now develop between the pro-European elites within the UK and their counterparts across Europe – aimed at ensuring that the deal which the EU offers is indeed meagre: in the knowledge that such a deal will oblige the government to put the terms on offer to a new referendum?"  

Read more from Graham via the IPR Blog.

A Treaty Revision too far for many Eurosceptics - Dr Alim Baluch

"The campaign has been incredibly shallow in terms of addressing the undeniable democratic deficit of the EU. The British Eurosceptic position is remarkably inconsistent. It generally opposes the Treaty Revision of Lisbon which effectively strengthened the European Parliament, thus reducing the democratic deficit. But it is exactly this Treaty Revision which went too far for many Eurosceptics. Now there is a Leave Vote, the absurdity of article 50 of the EU Treaty might trigger further anger at the EU as it calls for a unanimous vote of all 28 member states to agree to the modalities of Britain leaving. UKIP or media like the Sun might very well create the impression that Britain has to ask Germany or Estonia for permission to leave despite the referendum. A sense of indignation might be tapped into (and therefore be encouraged) ahead of future elections. Good times for Boris Johnson."

 

Reactions: EU Referendum

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📥  EU Referendum

This weekend Prime Minister David Cameron announced that an in / out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union would take place on Thursday 23 June.

Over the next few months in the lead up to the referendum via the Opinion blog you'll hear from academics around the University on what this might mean across a whole host of themes. Here, in this first post, Bill Durodié and Nick Startin from the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies give their initial reactions.

A referendum date on Britain's membership of the EU is now set for 23 June 2016.

A referendum date on Britain's membership of the EU is now set for 23 June 2016.

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Budget 2015: Our economists respond

  

📥  Election 2015, Public Policy

Experts from our Department of Social & Policy Sciences and Department of Economics give their reaction to measures announced in this week's Budget 2015 delivered by the Chancellor.

houses-of-parliament

Professor Paul Gregg

"There are two stand out announcements in the Budget. The first is the large planned rise in the minimum wage for those aged 25+ - the 'Living Wage Premium', as George Osborne has dubbed it. This drew heavily, as acknowledged in the Chancellor's speech, on the Report for the Resolution Foundation of a Commission, under the chairmanship of Sir George Bain, of which I was a member.  The other was the large cuts in financial support (tax credits) for low income working families with children.

"Tax credits were the centre piece of Labour's drive to reduce worklessness, by improving work incentives, and child poverty. On both counts there have been huge improvements since they were introduced. In addition, during the recession the government again turned to tax credits to ease the pain from the recession. It has thus become extremely expensive and given the strong jobs recovery and the deficit it is right that wages should support families more and tax credits less.

"As families on tax credits earn more, the Treasury takes around 75 per cent of this in higher taxes and lower tax credits. So, higher minimum wages save the Treasury a lot of money. But under the government's announcements, families are not going to just lose most of the earnings increase from the higher minimum wage, but will face stinging cuts in the tax credits.

"These cuts will be much larger for working families than those out of work. The IFS suggests a typical working family on tax credits will lose £1,000 a year. To make this up in earnings the family will need to earn £4,000 more as the government will take 75 per cent of the increase in taxes and lower tax credits. So they get hit twice by the Treasury as they try to defend their living standards.

"It can be no surprise that the government announces it wishes to change the measurement of child poverty away from the focus on incomes, just before it announces huge cuts in incomes for families with children."

Listen to Paul Gregg on Radio 4's World at One discussing the measures announced in the Budget (starts at 18 minutes, 50 seconds).

Dr Bruce Morley

"The budget is a bit of a mix in that it contains some revenue raising measures, some reductions in government spending, but also some more expansionary measures such as the proposed cut in corporation tax.

"Much of the emphasis regarding tax is a substantial reduction in tax avoidance, for instance they are expecting to raise significant extra sums by limiting the non-domicile tax status. The limiting of mortgage interest relief on buy-to-let investments to the basic rate of income tax only is a reflection that the UK housing market could be overheating in some parts of the country, partly as a result of the rise in buy-to let-investments. The bank levy is being phased out, reflecting the fears that the UK is becoming uncompetitive for banking services, although it is being replaced by a surcharge or tax on bank profits, which will also not help the competitive position of the city.

"The prediction is that the UK budget will turn to a surplus during the 2019/20 year, with a big reduction in the deficit this year to £69.5 billion. As always the forecasts for the budget deficit will depend on economic growth maintaining a rate of about 2.5 per cent per annum over the coming years, which is possibly a bit optimistic based on recent growth rates. Apart from the proposed reduction in tax avoidance, there will be cuts in welfare payments over the coming three years, although on the other hand there will be a new national living wage, set to reach £9 per hour by 2020. So, overall the main aim of the budget is to reduce the deficit through cuts to the welfare budget and increased tax income, but whether the target of a budget surplus is attained by 2020 will depend on levels of economic growth over the next few years."

Professor Chris Martin

“Most attention was on welfare, with far-reaching reforms and a freeze in working age benefits, whose real value may fall by nearly 10 per cent before the next election. Below the radar, two other things may be just as significant.

"First, limiting public salaries to increase by no more than 1 per cent over the next four years.  For the 1 in 5 workers employed in the public sector, this implies, at best, a continuing freeze in real wages. If inflation moves as predicted, it implies a fall in real income.

"Second, there was nothing to address the most serious problem faced by the UK: the fact that productivity is nearly 20 per cent lower than in 2008. French workers produce as much in four days as a British worker produce in a week. Until this productivity crisis is reversed, the economy will not prosper."

The window of free speech has now been firmly shut

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📥  Public Policy

Further to announcements this morning that a new counter-extremism bill will make up part of the upcoming Queen’s speech on 27 May, Professor Bill Durodié from our Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, who specialises in radicalisation and the politics of fear, has given his reactions.

Speaking from Bath, Professor Durodié said:

“The announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron today that a new counter-extremism Bill is to form part of the Queen's Speech on 27 May to provide authorities with new powers to tackle terrorism confirms that, as early as the first week of his new government, all pretence at inspiring and engaging has been set aside for legislating and coercing.

“When Home Secretary Theresa May told the Today programme that she wants to "bring people together to ensure we are living together as one society" she omitted to say that this is to be made mandatory, with severe penalties for those who will not comply or live up to what the authorities define as British values.

“The window for free speech has now been firmly shut just a few months after so many political leaders walked in supposed solidarity for murdered cartoonists in France. Observing the spirit of liberty unleashed 200 years ago the very British poet Wordsworth exclaimed "Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven!"

“Today, we face the twilight of freedom, and to be young is to be cowed and scrutinised, as the government implicitly reveals that it has given up on trying to understand the reasons why growing numbers of youths are disengaged from society. Interception and incarceration are their vision of the future for Britain."

Live Election Blog - #GE2015

📥  Election 2015

Throughout the night as the results start to emerge, we'll bring you the latest analysis and comment on what's happening across the country. With resident British elections expert, Dr David Cutts, we'll explore what's happening in different political battlegrounds and dissect the results from a number of marginal seats.

From Sheffield Hallam to South Thanet and local seats around the South West including here in Bath, we'll look at the performances of different political parties and consider (if the polls are correct) the prospects for a hung parliament.

For media wishing to speak to Dr Cutts please telephone Andy Dunne on 07966 341431 or email a.j.dunne@bath.ac.uk. ISDN interviews available.

LATEST

6.27 On air with BBC Bristol
David Cutts has hotfooted it from Bath to Bristol to take part in their Good Morning Breakfast programme to further examine the results, in particular those here in the West. Listen in from 6 - 9am where he'll be talking about all the latest news, including the Lib Dems losing one of their key South West seats, Paddy Ashdown's former seat, Yeovil. From 9am, he'll be on the BBC Points West Election Special too. We'll blog again later in the day...

5.40 Distinct lack of female representation in new Parliament

"For the Lib Dems it appears that there will be no women MPs. Labour's inability to win seats from the Conservatives means there's going to be little change in the number of women MPs in Parliament - even with the influx of successful SNP women in Scotland."

- Dr David Cutts

4.40 Conservatives take Bath - worst results for Lib Dems 'for a generation'.

“Given the national picture the local result here in Bath is not a surprise, but it’s a big upset for the party and reflects a terrible night across the country. Their South West heartland is crumbling all around.

“The Bath seat will mirror others in the South West. The Conservative vote is similar to 2010, but the Lib Dem vote has collapsed with centre left voters returning to Labour or the Green Party.

“Overall this is a disastrous night for the Lib Dems. This looks set to be their worst result for a generation.”

- Dr David Cutts

Election Result - Bath

04.32 Vince is gone (and Ed, Lynne and Simon)

"With the likes of Ed Davey, Lynne Featherstone, Simon Hughes and now Vince Cable all falling for the Lib Dems, there's little evidence that the personal incumbency factor is enabling local parties to buck the national trend - as they have in the past."

- Dr David Cutts

03.01 'Seismic losses' for Labour in Scotland, England and Wales

“We’re seeing a complete annihilation for Labour in Scotland to the SNP. Labour’s collapse in Scotland is unprecedented in modern times. Gordon Brown’s former seat – Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath – was one of their safest seats. It is a seismic loss.

“In England and Wales it now seems there’s barely any swing from Conservative to Labour. The Conservative’s hold in Swindon South is another illustration of Labour’s failure to convert a top target seat.

“For pollsters and election forecasters this is the darkest of dark night. They didn’t see this coming!”

- Dr David Cutts

02.13 'Tactical unwind' for the Lib Dems in South West stronghold

“As the results emerge it looks like Labour might have actually performed worse than the initial exit poll suggested. This looks bad for Labour in Conservative – Labour marginals.

“Here in the South West and for the Lib Dems in particular there has clearly been a ‘tactical unwind’ with Labour and Green supporters voting for their party instead of voting tactically for the Lib Dems to keep the Conservatives out.

“The South West is the Lib Dem strong hold but there might be big shocks ahead. Look out for David Laws’ seat in Yeovil and Steve Webb's in Thornbury and Yate. Both are under threat.”

- Dr David Cutts

01.35 Periscoping on the election

Dave Cutts is live on periscope right now with the BBC Politics and Ali Vowles looking ahead to the local seats here in the South West. Shocking results coming through.

Periscope - Election

23.53 Bleak prospects for Lib Dem big hitters and women MPs in next Parliament

“If the exit poll is correct, big hitters in the Lib Dems like Charles Kennedy, Danny Alexander, Ed Davey, Steve Webb, Norman Baker, Simon Hughes and Jo Swinson all could lose their seats tonight.

“On this basis of this there would be NO women Lib Dem MPs and, overall, certainly no great leaps in the number of women MPs in Parliament.”

- Dr David Cutts

22.10 'Meltdown' for Lib Dems and 'total disaster' for Labour
Dr David Cutts has arrived and has given his first reactions to tonight's BBC exit poll. He said:

“At this stage we have to exercise extreme caution with these results, but if these are correct the Conservatives have enough seats to go into coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

“This points to a complete meltdown for Lib Dems and a total disaster for Labour in seats where they are fighting the Conservatives. But for the Lib Dems a lot will depend on local circumstances and the popularity of the incumbent.

“On the basis of this exit poll around fifteen to twenty seats will be won by Labour from the Conservatives in these key battleground since 2010.”

David Cutts

21.40 All eyes on the election
We have BBC, Sky, ITN and a whole host of journalists here at the University tonight to cover the election. Throughout the campaign our researchers have appeared in international, national and regional media commenting on election developments. Read about it all here.

Media - Election

20.20 Who will win the race?
With election counting soon to take place inside, our athletes are outside the Sports Training Village being put through their paces tonight. Politically who will win the big race and how might this pan out locally here in the South West? Watch David Cutts' piece on the power of local campaigning and read his HuffingtonPost article on why the performance of the Lib Dems might be central to everything.

Running Track

18:47 - Reaching out to the Bath Studio School
Ahead of the result, Professor Charlie Lees headed to nearby Bath Studio School to talk to students on camera about the likely outcomes and why this election is important. Read Charlie's 'step-by-step guide to forming a coalition' and watch the video.

Charlie Lees - Bath Studio School

18:05 - What's at stake?
A week before the election researchers from our Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies and Department of Economics presented an 'Ignite: Election Special' event on the key issues at stake in this election. Watch it again.

15:13 - Engaged students
Throughout the day our students have been voting here on campus at the University polling station. Read Ben Bowman's take on the issues associated with young people's engagement in politics and the democratic process.

Students Polling Booth

14:00 - Stage set
Set up complete for the count and declaration for the hotly contested Bath seat which is taking place here at the University.

Bath General Election Count

 

Our experts in the media

📥  Uncategorized

Throughout the course of the election campaign, experts from the University of Bath have been called upon by the local, national and international media to give their views on what's happening.

Here's a snapshot of our election coverage to date:

International

Cameron, Heading for Win, Faces Tough Challenges Ahead - David Cutts for the Wall Street Journal on Election Night (8 May)

Nationalism on the march across Europe - Aurelien Mondon for CNN (30 April)

Greens in Final Push to Double UK Commons Seats in Bristol - David Cutts for Bloomberg (28 April)

National

Why the performance of the Lib Dems could determine the General Election - Huffington Post (5 May)

What the Lib Dems need to do in the South West - David Cutts on Radio 4's Today Programme from 1 hour, 20 minutes (1 May)

The rise and rise of 'Surging Sturgeon' - Charlie Lees for MailOnline (27 April)

General Election 2015: Decoding the manifesto minutiae - Michael Beverland quoted on the BBC Election pages (21 April)

TV Election Debate - Michael Beverland was interviewed for BBC 5Live Radio from 2 hours, 6 minutes (15 April)

Who do you trust - business leaders or economists? - Chris Martin picked up by Robert Peston for BBC (1 April)

Who will be in seventh heaven? - Mike Beverland assesses the strengths and weaknesses of candidates ahead of the 7-way TV debate (1 April)

'Are you OK Ed? Are you all right?' - Michael Beverland quoted in MailOnline (27 March)

Regional

Prospects for an EU Referendum following the General Election - Nick Startin for BBC Somerset (12 May)

The crisis of democracy - Aurelien Mondon discusses turnout and engagement in this year's General Election with BBC Bristol (9 May)

What happened in the West - David Cutts used throughout BBC 1 Points West's Election Special (8 May)

Dissecting the results in Bristol and surrounds - David Cutts for BBC Bristol's Election Special (8 May)

Analysis on North East Somerset seat - David Cutts in the Bristol Post (8 May)

Bad night for Labour - David Cutts in the Bath Chronicle (8 May)

Setting the scene for the General Election - Nick Startin on BBC Wiltshire (6 May)

Latest Ashcroft polls and the likely impact in the South West - David Cutts for BBC Points West and BBC Bristol (both 27 April)

Who will come out top in the debate tonight - Mike Beverland quoted in the Bath Chronicle

The likely election outcomes - Charlie Lees for BBC Gloucestershire looking ahead to 7 May (30 March)

The Conversation

European reactions to the UK election result - Aurelien Mondon (11 May)

Experts respond to exit poll - Fran Amery, Charlie Lees and David Cutts (7 May)

What does the next government hold for higher education - Roger King (6 May)

Want to form a coalition? Follow this simple step-by-step guide - Charlie Lees (6 May)

The next government will need to heed housing, if we’re to avoid another financial crisis - Bruce Morley (30 April)

Hate the players, love the game: why young people aren’t voting - Ben Bowman (30 April)

Manifesto Check: UKIP risks it all on a Brexit - Sue Milner (24 April)

A political party is threatening the union – and it’s not the SNP - David Moon (20 April)

Manifesto Check: Plaid Cymru’s top policies - Chris Martin (18 April)

Manifesto Check: UKIP’s top policies - Sue Milner (17 April)

Manifesto Check: the Conservatives take a combative approach to the EU - Sue Milner (16 April)

Manifesto Check: Tory defence policy talks tough but cuts deep - Simon Smith (16 April)

State of the Nation: welfare shifts towards the working poor - Paul Gregg (16 April)

Manifesto Check: the Conservatives' top policies - Sue Milner (14 April)

Manifesto Check: Labour leaves the door open to downscale Trident - Simon Smith (13 April)

Manifesto Check: Plaid Cymru rejects austerity, but their policies could cost taxpayers - Chris Martin (2 April)

Fact Check: will renewing Trident cost £100 billion? - Simon Smith (19 March)

Flat whites and fixies won’t save the economy, but there is some value in the creative pivot - John Hudson (17 March)

Cover story: Lib Dem manifesto tries to offer something for everyone - Steve Wharton (16 February)

 

VIDEO: To vote or not to vote?

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📥  Election 2015

Who will vote in the General Election and how will they vote? From Russell Brand's comments on not voting, to concerted campaigns to get more people registered to vote, the issue of turnout on Thursday is likely to have a big impact on the overall election results.

In our latest election video, researcher from the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, Dr Aurélien Mondon, asks 'does abstention mean people aren't interested in politics?'

"The problem today is that we only see politics as voting.

"Turnout doesn't necessarily mean that people are interested in politics. Some people come out to vote because they think it's their duty. Similarly, people not turning out to vote doesn't mean that they are switched off.

"The 35 per cent or so who will not turn out to vote next week might not be alienated or disengaged from politics. They might just chose to do politics differently."

Dr Aurélien Mondon, Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies

If you found Aurélien's interview interesting you might enjoy reading:

 

VIDEO: The prospects for UKIP

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📥  Election 2015

Much has been made in the run up to this year's General Election about the likely inroads UKIP could make and the prospect of more UKIP MPs in the House of Commons. But what are their chances, what do they need to do to mobilise support and will UKIP leader Nigel Farage win Thanet South?

In the latest election video, polling expert Dr David Cutts looks at their chances.

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