• Campaigning in a crisis – the race for the US Presidency

    Campaigning in a crisis – the race for the US Presidency

    How do you campaign when you can’t campaign? In the UK the scheduled May elections were delayed for a year but in the US there is the Presidential and other elections in November and, more trickily a series of primary contests to select candidates. Primaries (and caucuses) select delegates according to candidate.  The delegates then […]

  • Voting from behind bars – more changes on the way?

    Voting  from behind bars – more changes on the way?

    For many UK politicians, the question of votes for prisoners is politically toxic.  David Cameron said the prospect made him feel physically ill and when the issue has come up in Parliament it’s been a rare person who has ventured an opinion in favour. But the tide could be moving in favour of the franchise […]

  • How do Parliaments cope in a ‘lock down’?

    How do Parliaments cope in a ‘lock down’?

    In a public health crisis such as coronavirus, buildings have had to be closed and gatherings banned.  That has included political institutions such as the House of Commons, which went into recess early. Yet if Parliament cannot meet, not only can there be no legislative progress, there also can’t be proper scrutiny of the Government.  […]

  • Taking over from Corbyn – New Leader, Old Problems

    Taking over from Corbyn –  New Leader, Old Problems

    Saturday’s (4 April) “reveal” of the Labour leadership result would under normal circumstances be a big news event.  The coronavirus crisis however means the contrast with the big noisy 2015 announcement event will be stark.  There will be no room full of party activists, candidates, journalists and MPs, no clapping, no leaping onto a stage […]

  • The Week in Politics – 7 October

    No sooner than they were back, they’re set to be off again! The Government plans to prorogue Parliament on Tuesday (8th) to prepare for the following week’s Queens Speech. That means no Prime Minister’s Questions and generally less of everything. (There could still be time though for a vote on the latest Brexit plan as […]

  • The Week in Politics – 30 September 2019

    The Week in Politics – 30 September 2019

    This week sees the Boris Johnson speech at the Conservative Party Conference, potential co operation by anti-Brexit MPs in the Commons, the formation of a new Government in Austria and a key debate in the Canadian General Election. Firstly, the PM speech. Party Conferences are designed to fulfill a range of roles. They are about […]

  • EU elections 2019: the story so far

    In my third article about the Euro elections I’m focusing on the campaigns so far (here are parts one and two). European elections are always tricky campaign-wise. The constituencies are in fact massive regions which makes it harder to mount an intensive campaign. They often come soon after other elections, which means activists are tired. […]

  • EU election manifestos: unread, but still important

    As polling day in the European elections (23 May)  gets nearer, I am writing a series of articles about the messages and communications techniques involved.  Today I am focusing on that staple of elections – the party manifesto. Despite the, sometimes lengthy, arguments about phrasing and content, virtually no one actually reads manifestos. No one, […]

  • Parties launch for unexpected elections

    Later this month we have an unusual, and potentially defining, political event. In previous years, the five yearly European Elections have been low-key. Most parties have run campaigns about anything but Europe. Many voters haven’t bothered to turn out. Electoral regions have been too big for any real sense of a constituency link. And the […]

  • Developing the Independent Group’s brand

    They say a week is a long time in politics but frankly it feels at the moment as if a day is a long time. February’s drama has included eight Labour MPs leave the party to become part of the Independent Group, followed by three Conservatives doing the same. The political world has been awash […]