Again, Universities are in the news accused of being incubators for ideological purism and rejection of opposing viewpoints. A part of this is whether academics are more ‘left’ than the general population, which other blog posts suggest is probably the case.

Another part of this — which seems to me to be more important — is whether the distribution of ideology is more narrow amongst University employees than other occupations. Essentially, I would guess that many occupations are on average more ‘left’ or ‘right’ than the ‘general’ population, for a bunch of reasons: self-selection into the jobs, education required for…


A lot (too much?) has been written on declining trust — in political institutions, leaders, each other — in the last few years, and especially the last few weeks. Conservative HQ posing as ‘Fact Checkers’, it was said, completely undermined public trust in what was being said.

Despite the concern, there has not been a real shift in polls on trust; a small dip from an already shockingly low baseline. …


Boris Johnson has prorogued Parliament in order to facilitate leaving the European Union with no deal or — perhaps alternatively — to force the EU’s hands in reopening talks. The move has been widely condemned as undemocratic. There has also been suggestion that Johnson’s team are considering even more controversial moves, such as refusing to resign after a vote of no confidence or advising the Queen to not give Royal Assent to any Brexit-delaying legislation.

Although scare-mongering should be avoided — especially calling it a coup, which is if anything insulting to the many actual coups around the world —…


One of the biggest and most debated questions in political science is whether there is a legitimacy crisis. Seminal, widely-cited texts explore the causes and consequences of this apparent crisis, but there is still little agreement on whether there even is a crisis of legitimacy. [1]

Such a question should, on first blush, be relatively easy to answer: just collect the responses to surveys and graph the averages over time. And still, there is little agreement over whether there is any decline in perceived legitimacy. …


Richard Norrie and David Goodhart yesterday wrote an article reporting data from the new recorded hate crime statistics released by the Home Office, as well as from the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW). In the article, they show that the data in the two are not in agreement: recorded hate crime has been increasingly rapidly, whilst the CSEW data shows a long-term decline in hate crime. Since the CSEW does not rely on individuals reporting hate crime, it is seen as an overall more accurate representation of the trends in England and Wales today. …


When learning about the publication process and inevitable experience of rejection, early career researchers (ECRs) will often be told that ‘rejection is part of the job’ and ‘even top professors get rejected’ — a recent journal article describes this well. The advice is usually to plough on, have faith in yourself, etc. This is true, and is nice to hear, but to me misses the point.

At least for me, the anxiety isn’t about getting rejected. I don’t take it personally, I recognise the somewhat arbitrary nature of peer review, and that many good papers get rejected — justly and…


This tweet from Tim Bale five days ago caught my eye, based off of NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey, and gave me pause for thought:

They’re right. There has been a gradual trend towards ‘Britishness’ over the last two-or-so decades, with the percentage of English identifiers shrinking marginally over this period. Does this mean it’s becoming less important — that it matters less? That the growing, albeit marginal, political and academic attention is misplaced? That is what the message seems to be.

That might be the case, but I don’t think this graph shows it. …


So, hate crimes are in the news again after the Home Office’s release of the new data on October 17th. Thus began an avalanche of news stories about the alleged increase and its relationship with Brexit: Business Insider, the BBC, Al Jazeera, The Independent. And, along with it, all the debate that proceeded last year’s release as well. This primarily revolved around two controversies: whether it actually did happen; and, if it did, whether this represented an increase in reporting or actual crimes. I wrote on this exactly a year to the day, and argued that Brexit almost certainly increased…


Guy Verhofstadt’s book occupies a unique genre. On the one hand, it is unapologetically, aggressively pro-Federal Europe. On the other, it provides a critique of the current incarnation of the European Union that would make even Nigel Farage blush. Of course, the difference lies in their answer to the problems of European integration: for Verhofstadt, it is federal Europe; for Farage, and other Eurosceptics and nationalists, it is a return to national democracy of old.

Verhofstadt embeds his argument in a highly rationalist framework. He argues that Europe must unite to compete on the global stage (Chapters 4–5), to deal…

Daniel Devine

PhD @ Southampton & Research Fellow, TrustGov. https://trustgov.net

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