How effective is the Open Government Partnership? Should the EU get involved?

How effective is the Open Government Partnership? Should the EU get involved?

The OGP is a partnership between national governments and the wider public, working together to develop ways of increasing public participation in government and make government more transparent and accountable. The UK has been involved since 2011, and many other countries in Europe and around the world are too.   So, if this partnership is doing good work, and with the EU facing challenges, perhaps it’s time the EU got involved? Currently you have to be a nation state to join the open government partnership, but there may be ways of it getting…Read more

UK – EU Parliamentary Elections

Political Background The UK long backed European integration in theory, but has always been less certain about involvement itself. Winston Churchill backed a United States of Europe, but when the European Coal and Steel Community was started his successor as PM, Clement Attlee described it as made of “Six countries, four of which we had to save from the other two”. The country initially joined EFTA, but as that trade agreement fell behind the nascent EEC, it began to be attracted to membership. The country applied for membership in the EEC first in…Read more

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). For most of Northern Ireland’s political history it has been dominated by the UUP. Formerly a branch of the Conservative Party, the UUP still most closely resembles the British Conservatives ideologically, with an ideology that is more economically and socially liberal than the harder line DUP. The party ran in electoral alliance with the Conservatives in 2009, but this year is running alone. Nonetheless, the UUP spans a wide spectrum and some members are closer to Labour. The party was surpassed by the DUP in 2003, with unionist voters…Read more

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). The DUP is Northern Ireland’s dominant unionist party. The party emerged from non-conformist Protestantism in the early 1970s, as The Troubles were starting. For most of its history it has been led by Reverend Iain Paisley who founded the radical Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster. The party is perhaps the most socially conservative in the entire United Kingdom, with some DUP representatives supporting intelligent design, for instance. The party holds fairly anti-gay rights views. The party’s leader, Peter Robinson, described homosexuality as an ‘abomination’ as recently as 2008. Nonetheless…Read more

Sinn Fein (lit. ‘We Ourselves’)

Sinn Fein (lit. ‘We Ourselves’). Sinn Fein is the only political party in the European Parliament to have a presence in two member states, as the party campaigns across Ireland, as part of its insistence that Ireland remains is or should be one country. Sinn Fein is a party name which echoes throughout 20th century Irish history. The original Sinn Fein was a nationalist party which led the establishment of the Irish republic before two splinters, the pro-Treaty Fine Gael, and the anti-Treaty Fianna Fail emerged from it. The remaining, more radical, Sinn Fein was…Read more

Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales.

Plaid Cymru - Party of Wales. Plaid, as they are commonly known, are Wales nationalist party. Unlike the SNP, Plaid have always been less keen on Welsh independence and have actually only tended to promote it quite recently. In reality it is truer to think of Plaid as a Welsh language party (though the party has attempted to move away from this view in recent years). The party enjoys close relations with its Scottish equivalent, the SNP. Plaid tends to lean to the left of Welsh Labour (which is really saying something!) backing…Read more

Scottish National Party (SNP)

Scottish National Party (SNP). The SNP is a Scottish separatist party. The party won a majority of seats in the Scottish parliament in 2011 and hence forms the Scottish government. The party traditionally tried to avoid questions of left and right, but moved clearly to the left in the early 80s. In recent years it has moved closer to the centre, though it still broadly claims to be a social democratic party. Nonetheless, the SNP’s base is actually diverse and takes in large numbers of former Conservative Party voters. The party has begun…Read more

British National Party (BNP)

British National Party (BNP). The BNP is a far-right party. The party is led by Nick Griffin, and has a reputation as racist. The party banned non-white membership until forced by court to open up membership rules. The party has been accused of fascism and supports voluntary expatriation of ethnic minorities. The party won significant support in some local areas prior to 2009, and reached its peak when it won two MEPs including Griffin. The party has been in crisis since then. Soon after his election Griffin appeared on the BBC TV show…Read more

Green Party

Green Party. Technically the UK does not have one Green Party, but three (with separate Green Parties in Northern Ireland and Scotland). Nonetheless the three cooperate quite closely. The only party with seats in the European Parliament is the English and Welsh Greens however. The Greens are fairly weak in the UK due to Britain’s political system which tends to squeeze them out, though they won a seat in the national parliament in 2010 in the politically radical seaside resort of Brighton. The British Greens tend to lean towards a more eco-socialist style…Read more

Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems technically only date from 1988, but are the representative of one of Britain’s oldest traditions. For much of its history the Liberals, who predated the Lib Dems, were the predominant opposition to the Conservatives. The Liberals were surpassed by Labour in the early 1920s and then slowly collapsed as they lacked clear purpose. The party became relegated to a few fringe seats in isolated areas of rural Wales, Scotland and Cornwall. The party began to make a comeback in the 1960s however, as it pioneered a new form…Read more