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A tilting Virgin Trains Class 390 Pendolino

This article aims to provide a summarising account of the railway system in Britain, chronicling how the system has developed over the years since its inception. The first section traces the origins of the British railway system back in the early 19th Century, and how the multiple competing private entities gradually consolidated throughout the Victorian era before then being nationalised for the majority of the 20th Century until the time of privatisation in the final decade of the 20th Century. The next section outlines and examines specifically the privatisation process itself between 1994 and 1997, before the following section moves on to discuss the changes made since the conclusion of the privatisation process in 1997 up until 2019. …


Exeter City vs Northampton Town in the 2020 League two playoff final, held behind closed doors at an empty Wembley stadium
Exeter City vs Northampton Town in the 2020 League two playoff final, held behind closed doors at an empty Wembley stadium
Exeter City vs Northampton Town in the 2020 League two playoff final, held behind closed doors at an empty Wembley stadium

As is the case across all industries, football continues to feel the effects of the fall out from the covid crisis. At the time of writing, the Premier league and Championship have successfully (so far) managed to resumed their fixture programme over the past fortnight. Meanwhile, League two has resumed and completed its play off campaign after the regular league season was curtailed, with League one set to follow suit similarly in the coming days. …


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The statue of Niccolo Machiavelli at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

Machiavelli believed that a successful Prince should appear to display the characteristics exhibited by both a ‘lion’ and a ‘fox’ because a combination of the characteristics from these paradigms is seen by Machiavelli as the most effective way for a ruler to acquire and maintain power. Acquiring and maintaining power has been described Machiavelli as “the only real concern of the political ruler” and therefore can be typified as the essential characteristic for a ‘successful Prince’.

The image of the lion that Machiavelli aims to convey can predominantly be seen as the representation of the qualities of strength and respect, which is what the lion was linked to in his time. The most obvious physical trait representative of a lion would be the willingness to be ‘war wise’. Machiavelli describes how a Prince should have no hesitation or even thought against waging war, and that he must also take great care in learning the ‘art’ and detail of war, ranging from “its institutions and its disciplines” (The Prince: Ch. 14, Para. 1). He goes on to emphasise how important this is to being a successful prince as it not only maintains those who were born into power, but can also be an effective method for those wishing to rise into power, thus satisfying the aforementioned definition of a successful prince. …


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Whilst classical realism and neorealism may be part of a broadly similar school of thought in the theory of international relations, it can be said that there are, in fact, a number of key and significant differences between these two theoretical approaches. The most important of these differences is how specifically the pursuit of power in the international system is determined. …


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Jeremy Corbyn with Theresa May during the state opening of Parliament in 2017

After the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007–2008, there appeared to be a distinct trend that electorate had begun to move away from and possibly even reject the two main parties in successive elections, with the Conservative and Labour parties only gaining a combined 65.1% and 67.2% of the vote in the 2010 and 2015 General Elections respectively, as well as both finishing behind UKIP in the 2014 European Parliament elections; the first time a party other than the Conservatives or Labour had won the popular vote in a national election since 1906. Nevertheless, in the 2017 ‘snap’ General Election, the electorate appeared to buck this aforementioned trend and embrace the two main parties again, with the two taking a combined 82.4% …


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In recent years, there have been a growing number of political scientists who believe that the adoption of deliberative political practices may, in theory, potentially enhance the quality of democracy in conventional representative democracies. Nevertheless, a significant flaw in this aforementioned paradigm in practice is that citizens do not appear to be particularly enthusiastic about participating in these deliberative political practices; as reflected by the low response rates in various previous instances where these deliberative political practices have taken place.

In the purest sense, ‘deliberative democracy’ can be characterised as a debate and discussion process between citizens at an equal level, with the resultant aim of producing political process legitimacy through justified, well-informed opinions founded upon logic and reason that are beneficial for the collective society as a whole (Chambers, 2003) (Guttman and Thompson 2000: 161). In practice, deliberative democracy manifests itself in two main forms; with these respectively being ‘mini-publics’ (i.e. Citizens’ assemblies), where participants gather in a forum setting to deliberate on a specified topic, and ‘participatory budgeting’, where participants deliberate together on how to allocate the financial funds of a particular public body’s budget. This article will focus upon the mini-public aspect of deliberative democracy, and will identify and then explain the main reasons as to why citizens decline to participate in deliberative mini-publics, with reference to real-life examples and empirical evidence. …


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Federalism, in its broadest from, can be defined as a governmental system characterised by the sharing of powers between a central (federal) government and regional (state) governments, with each governmental ‘layer’ having supreme sovereignty in some particular policy area. The United States’ (U.S.) governmental system is widely held up as a model example of a federal system, in addition to being amongst the world’s oldest (McKay, 2018: 66). This article will analyse how federalism in the U.S. is influenced by both the ‘vertical’ (state/national) and ‘horizontal’ (state/state) relationship dynamics, starting historically with how the U.S. initially established its federal arrangements in the constitutional settlement, before moving on to describe how the federal system developed and evolved in practice over time, with reference to specific examples. From this discussion of the historical context and development of U.S. federalism, the article’s main focus will be upon more contemporary topics (both vertical and horizontal) and how they have influenced the dynamics of U.S. …


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One man, One vote; a better form of democracy?

How holding referendums may be a potential solution to some of the principal shortcomings of the UK’s representative democracy system

Direct democracy can potentially offer a solution to the shortcomings of representative democracy by the use of referendums that would complement the extant arrangements of a representative democracy system. In its purest form, direct democracy can be defined as a set of procedures that allow citizens to make political decisions without the need for intermediary institutions (i.e. directly) (Matsusaka, 2005: 187). Conversely, meanwhile, representative democracy can be defined as a system where representatives on behalf of the wider citizen body make political decisions (i.e. indirectly) (Alonso et al, 2011: 23). It has been widely observed that representative democracy has a number of shortcomings, which come from a wide range of theoretical perspectives (Dalton, 2004). …


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Ever since the United Kingdom (UK) first joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, there has generally always been an element of euroscepticism in the UK, though the prevailing extent and nature of this has fluctuated throughout the progression of time. Broadly speaking, euroscepticism can be described as the position of opposing the idea of integration at the European-wide level. Euroscepticism can vary greatly in nature, from those who merely have some limited reservations about particular aspects of the European integration project, to those who advocate a reversal and even complete withdrawal of nation states from the integration project. …

About

Anant Patel

I am a University of Glasgow graduate whose main writing focus is on political analysis. I can be reached at anantpatel12@yahoo.com or linkedin.com/in/patela12

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