How healthy is our local democracy?

Unlock Democracy has published a new pamphlet by Liberal Democrat Party President Ros Scott, charting the decline of local government. In How Healthy is our Local Democracy?, Baroness Scott cites four main areas where local politics has declined in recent years: finance, bureaucracy, media and competitive elections.

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Sam CoatesComment
Protecting rights: how do we stop rights and freedoms becoming a political football

This pamphlet is based on a speech given by  Francesca Klug at the Convention on Modern Liberty in 2009, in a workshop of this title. Our lecture and pamphlet series are intended to provoke debate on and interest in issues relating to democracy and human rights. As an organisation promoting democratic reform and human rights, we may disagree with what our contributors say - but we are always stimulated by and grateful to them.

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Sam CoatesComment
Continuing the journey towards a modern constitution for Britain

This pamphlet is based on a speech given by Charles Clarke at Labour Party Conference in 2008, at an Unlock Democracy lecture. In this pamphlet, Charles Clarke provides an analysis on what democratic reform is needed now. While Unlock Democracy support many of the reforms he suggests, we do not necessarily agree with his stance on the Alternative Vote or the Secondary Mandate.

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Sam CoatesComment
British Citizens and the European Union - findings from a deliberative process

British citizens' knowledge of the policies and institutions of the European Union is notoriously shaky. Not only does this prevent us from having a meaningful national debate on Europe, it also restricts politicians' ability to make policy based on a genuine engagement with public opinion. This report is intended to begin a serious debate about Britain’s future relationship with Europe

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Sam CoatesComment
My Election: A Voter’s Eye View of the 2007 Scottish Elections.

This project was designed to measure the level of contact voters had with political parties and with the state in the run up to the 2007 Scottish elections. From 2 April until 3 May, 251 volunteers in seventy one Scottish constituencies recorded each time they were contacted about the election. This included both direct contact, such as letters, leaflets, canvassing and facetoface campaigning activity; and indirect contact, by which we mean more impersonal forms of advertising, such as Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs), posters and newspaper adverts.

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Sam CoatesComment
Women in the Chamber: Barriers to Female Representation in Local Politics

The three main political parties now seem to be agreed upon the urgent need to increase female representation in parliamentary politics. But is local government being overlooked? As well as being an important tier of governance in its own right, local government is also a key training ground for national-level politicians. If the under-representation of women is not tackled here, it seems unlikely that it will be tackled at all.

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Sam CoatesComment
General Election 2005: What Voters Saw

Despite the intense media scrutiny of national campaigns, very little attention is generally paid to the campaigning material delivered through potential voters’ letterboxes or to the contact they have with parties on the telephone or the doorstep.This project set out to analyse both the quality and quantity of literature delivered by the parties in Great Britain during the General Election campaign. 

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Sam CoatesComment
Life Support for Local Parties

This pamphlet brings together a collection of work conducted for the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd over the summer of 2003 focusing on the health of political parties at a local or constituency level. The work was carried out to make-up part of the JRRT’s contribution to the Electoral Commission’s review of the funding of political parties.

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Sam CoatesComment
Broadening Participation: Thinking Beyond Party Membership

The paper argues that with parties haemorrhaging members and finding themselves forced to campaign with an ever decreasing number of active members, the time has come for parties to reconsider their definition of membership. Parties should consider introducing different, less involved and cheaper, forms of membership. In particular the paper argues that parties should introduce registered supporter schemes to operate alongside membership schemes.

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Sam CoatesComment