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Rational Switch

Vernon Bogdanor

17 June 1982
Democracy at the Polls: A Comparative Study of Competitive National Elections 
edited by David Butler, Howard Penniman and Austin Ranney.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 367 pp., £5.75, March 1982, 0 8447 3403 9
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... It was R. B. McCallum who invented the word ‘psephology’ to describe the study of elections. Yet in 1955 he wrote of the act of voting as the last haven of free choice in an increasingly bureaucratised society, an ultimate redoubt to be defended at all costs against the assault of the social sciences. ‘The secrecy of the ballot, the pencilled cross in the secluded polling booth’, was, he said ...

On the Move

Stephen Sedley: Constitutional Moments

8 October 2009
The New British Constitution 
by Vernon Bogdanor.
Hart, 319 pp., £45, June 2009, 978 1 84113 671 4
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... New British Constitution and ask what new constitution that might be, one answer is that the British constitution, because it is always changing, is always new. But the veteran political scientist VernonBogdanor goes further. His thesis is that since the election of the Blair government in 1997 the pace and depth of constitutional change have increased to a point where a new shape of the state ...
21 July 1983
Governing without a Majority 
by David Butler.
Collins, 156 pp., £4.95, May 1983, 9780002170710
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Multi-Party Politics and the Constitution 
by Vernon Bogdanor.
Cambridge, 207 pp., £18.50, May 1983, 0 521 25524 4
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Decade of Dealignment 
by Bo Särlvik, Ivor Crewe, Neil Day and Robert MacDermid.
Cambridge, 393 pp., £27.50, June 1983, 0 521 22674 0
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... But for Britain’s antediluvian electoral system the House of Commons would now comprise around 160 Alliance, 180 Labour and 280 Conservative MPs – and the new books by David Butler and VernonBogdanor would have vanished beneath a stampede of eager buyers. As things are, though the distorted election results have robbed them of some of their topicality, they will be very widely and minutely ...
26 November 1987
Ruling Performance: British Governments from Attlee to Thatcher 
edited by Peter Hennessy and Anthony Seldon.
Blackwell, 344 pp., £25, October 1987, 0 631 15645 3
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The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Blackwell, 667 pp., £45, September 1987, 0 631 13841 2
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by David Pannick.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 215956 9
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... and self-fulfilment preached by the idealists. What do these ancient arguments have to do with the world of Ruling Performance, with David Pannick’s reflections on the English judiciary, or with VernonBogdanor’s Encyclopedia of Political Institutions? For one thing, they cast light on the hopes and fears most of us entertain in the face of government activity of all sorts. Realists who think it ...

Long March

Martin Pugh

2 June 1983
Renewal: Labour’s Britain in the 1980s 
by Shadow Cabinet, edited by Gerald Kaufman.
Penguin, 201 pp., £2.50, April 1983, 0 14 052351 0
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Socialism in a Cold Climate 
edited by John Griffith.
Allen and Unwin, 230 pp., £2.95, April 1983, 9780043350508
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Liberal Party Politics 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Oxford, 302 pp., £17.50, April 1983, 0 19 827465 3
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... by drawing the Unions deeper into government so as to make them responsible for its effects, rather than excluding them still further. The volume of 12 essays on Liberal Party Politics, edited by VernonBogdanor, provides the most comprehensive and satisfying recent discussion of the Liberals’ support, organisation, current strategy, ideas and policy. At first sight, it appears more historical and ...
18 February 1982
The People and the Party System: The Referendum and Electoral Reform in British Politics 
by Vernon Bogdanor.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £20, September 1981, 9780521242073
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... based are to be found in the constitutional contradictions and ambiguities which the Attlee generation failed to resolve. The most obvious of these contradictions is exposed in masterly fashion in Mr VernonBogdanor’s study of the debates over proportional representation and the popular referendum, which have been going on intermittently since the 19th century. The Whig-Radical doctrine of absolute ...

Can history help?

Linda Colley: The Problem with Winning

22 March 2018
... affect far more than the economy: the trick will be to see if this can be turned to the good, or at least to something halfway productive. In a recent pamphlet on the constitutional ramifications, VernonBogdanor has hinted at ways in which Brexit might conceivably have some constructive, albeit unpredictable, effects. As is becoming clear, and as Bogdanor sets out, Ireland represents a major ...

Smart Alec

Peter Clarke

17 October 1996
Alec Douglas-Home 
by D.R. Thorpe.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 540 pp., £25, October 1996, 1 85619 277 6
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... 3, his whole career seemed to have fitted him in providentially perverse ways: historically a common sentiment at such a juncture among the papabile. The old system for choosing a Tory leader, as VernonBogdanor has convincingly argued, disguised an efficient purpose behind the dignified euphemisms about waiting for the right name to ‘emerge’. Any system is open to some manipulation; and a ...
23 February 1995
Conservative Century: The Conservative Party since 1900 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball.
Oxford, 842 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 19 820238 5
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... than is usually assumed. Virtually every essay in the book earns its keep as an accessible introduction to its assigned topic; and some go further in staking out challenging interpretations. VernonBogdanor, in a combative survey of the selection of the party leader, argues that the Conservatives have always been shrewder in their methods than critics have allowed. In the days when the leader simply ...

A British Bundesrat?

Colin Kidd: Scotland and the Constitution

16 April 2014
... the European Communities Act, enjoyed a greater degree of entrenchment than common or garden laws. No longer, it seems, is the Act of Union the humble equal of the Dentists Act of 1878. The UK is, as VernonBogdanor and Anthony King have recently argued, halfway along the road to a written constitution. But there is still no special recognition of the Treaty of Union which created the British state; no ...
30 October 1997
... way was probably out: an Edward VIII-plus solution, with its terminal implications for the future of the institution. After September, can there be any doubt at all? There are still trusties like VernonBogdanor and Clive James who feel that ‘we’ cannot live without the institution, and hence – since this institution is unavoidably genetic – without the well-meaning Charles as a bridge to a ...

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