Help us compile a Democracy reading list

We love discovering new books to read here at Demsoc, and we especially love to discover new books about anything relevant to democracy. We asked internally for suggestions of some good books - suitable for beginners - that contain discussion about democracy and directly related topics. Below are five of our suggestions. What do you think should be on this list? We want you to tell us about the books you think are a must-read for someone that is starting to delve into the subject... the books that have influenced the way you think,…Read more

Immigration – the flashpoint between member states and the EU

In a blog post, Hugo Brady of the Centre for European Reform describes the current tensions between member state politicians and the EU institutions on immigration. National politicians need to be seen to be tough on it, EU politicians need to protect it (in the guise of freedom of movement, one of the main purposes of the EU).

Tough decisions

IpsosMORI Social Research Institute have short new piece out, giving ten bits of advice to those involved in public sevice reforms in this era of cuts. Tough Decisions (PDF) is good in itself, but all the better for referencing our Democracy Pays white paper on the front page.

Europe’s economic and foreign policy government

Herman van Rompuy is not known as a charismatic politician but, if you have time to read it, he gave a very thoughtful speech yesterday at the College of Europe in Bruges. In it, he talks about the role of the European Council (rather than the Eurozone ministers or the Parliament) as Europe's nascent "economic government", and the difficulty of creating co-ordinated foreign policy among 27 state actors with different histories and outlooks. On economics and the eurozone, van Rompuy said:

The bad manners of dissolving Parliament

Assuming the General Election in the UK is on 6 May, the election will be called on 12 April. The constitutional and ceremonial practice of calling an election involves the Great Seal of the Realm, royal proclamations and lots of other historical flummery. The political calculation, since the dissolution date is in the hands of the Prime Minister, is sharper.

Oscars switch from FPTP to AV – will it change the result?

You know you're a real political geek when you care more about the voting method used to select the Oscars' best picture pick than you do about the films themselves. Yes, I am talking about myself. Even so, I suggest that you read Hendrik Hertzberg's article on the topic in the New Yorker.

Eurabia: No such thing

The Brookings' Institution's Justin Vaïsse takes apart the Eurabia myth in this excellent short piece inForeign Policy. He points out the concept's stylistic links to fear of "Eurocommunism" in the 50s and general anti-European and anti-internationalist sentiments on the American right, and correctly positions Melanie Phillips as "on the fringe far right" in European debate. Here's some of the good stuff: If these books insist so much on the future, it is because current [evidence for Muslim take over is] unimpressive. According to the higher range of estimates by the U.S. National Intelligence…Read more