Recent blog posts from around the School

Blog: Do select committees deserve 'universal praise'?

Blog: Do select committees deserve 'universal praise'?
Description
In this post, Dr Stephen Bates and Dr Mark Goodwin argue that a more rounded evaluation of Select Committees is needed to assess whether they deserve 'universal praise'.
Date:
Friday 22nd May 2015

Blog: A new typology of local government systems

Blog: A new typology of local government systems
Description
Written by Pawel Swianiewicz. "Typologies of the European systems of local government are important and frequent point of reference for many scholars. But the trouble for scholars from my part of Europe is that the most popular classifications concentrate on Western part of the continent, totally disregarding the post-communist Central and Eastern Europe."
Date:
Friday 22nd May 2015

Blog: The Wedding of the Century: More Evidence of a Soft Exit for Chechnya?

Blog: The Wedding of the Century: More Evidence of a Soft Exit for Chechnya?
Description
By Karena Avedissian. In Chechnya, the wedding of a 17-year old girl and a middle-aged policeman has put centre-periphery relations and the growing divergence of regional arrangements in Chechnya and the rest of the Russian Federation in the spotlight.
Date:
Friday 22nd May 2015

Blog: A day for devolution

Blog: A day for devolution
Description
Written by Daniel Goodwin. "The Cities Devolution Bill, with careful attention to principle as well as expediency and in the context of wider constitutional renewal, could just be the way to start to make that happen and help to address the wider devolution challenges which the UK faces following the General Election".
Date:
Friday 15th May 2015

Blog: The emergence of city regions

Blog: The emergence of city regions
Description
Written by Jon Bloomfield. The structures of sub-national government in the UK are about to undergo major change not just in Scotland but across the major conurbations. As George Osborne has said "In a modern, knowledge-based economy city size matters like never before."
Date:
Thursday 14th May 2015

Blog: The other 1215 Charter: 800 years of elected mayors

Blog: The other 1215 Charter: 800 years of elected mayors
Description
Written by Chris Game. "You'd not have known it from the national media, either before Election Day or since, but the 650 parliamentary contests weren't the only ones taking place in the UK last Thursday. It was the year in local government's four-year election cycle that almost all English district and unitary councils – 279 of 293 – had elections, and there were votes too for six mayors, for many parish and town councils, plus the odd local referendum."
Date:
Tuesday 12th May 2015

Blog: The Ties that Bind: War, History and Power in and around Today's Russia

Blog: The Ties that Bind: War, History and Power in and around Today's Russia
Description
By Dr. Kevork Oskanian. It is difficult indeed to overstate the importance of victory day in Russia. In its solemnity, it is as close to a religious festival as any secular event could be. The Soviet Union was adept at filling the void left by its Marxist atheism with ritual and symbolism, and, more than on other days of the contemporary calendar, its imprint was still palpable on May 9th, 2015.
Date:
Tuesday 12th May 2015

Blog: The other 1215 Charter: 800 years of elected mayors

Blog: The other 1215 Charter: 800 years of elected mayors
Description
Written by Chris Game. "The LGA's Magna Carta web pages have recently featured a delightful homophone – sounds the same as another word, but different spelling and meaning. Among this summer's many MC commemorative events will reportedly be "a programme of inciteful lectures and talks" (my emphasis)."
Date:
Thursday 7th May 2015

Blog: Why the zero-carbon homes policy hasn't gone to plan

Blog: Why the zero-carbon homes policy hasn't gone to plan
Description
In this post, Max Lempriere, PhD Researcher at The Department of Political Science and International Studies discusses why the zero-carbon home policy has not gone to plan. First Published on The Conversation 15th April 2015
Date:
Thursday 7th May 2015

Blog: A marriage made in heaven?

Blog: A marriage made in heaven?
Description
Written by Catherine Staite, Director of INLOGOV. The ESRC, LGA and SOLACE have created a new role – that of Research Facilitator for local government – with the aim of supporting strong and productive relationships between researchers, policy makers and practitioners. I'm very pleased to take on that role, with the active support of the INLOGOV team of academics and expert practitioners.
Date:
Thursday 7th May 2015

Blog: Preparing future leaders: The Total Leadership Programme

Blog: Preparing future leaders: The Total Leadership Programme
Description
Written by Daniel Goodwin – Senior Associate Fellow. The Total Leadership Programme is an exciting new venture which is designed to help senior local government managers prepare themselves for a chief executive role. It's a partnership between INLOGOV and SOLACE, which fills a serious gap in provision nationally. It is open not only to directors in councils but also to people at a similar level within private sector firms who work in the public sector and who might be considering such a move too.
Date:
Thursday 7th May 2015

Blog: The West Midlands – a bellwether for the election?

Blog: The West Midlands – a bellwether for the election?
Description
In this post, Cherry Miller discusses the key battleground seats and issues in the West Midlands. The original version of this post was published as part of the General Election 2015 series on the LSE British Politics and Policy Blog on 14th April 2015.
Date:
Friday 24th April 2015

Blog: Deaths in the Mediterranean are a direct result of ongoing crisis in north Africa

Blog: Deaths in the Mediterranean are a direct result of ongoing crisis in north Africa
Description
Written by Professor Paul Jackson, a political economist working predominantly on conflict and post-conflict reconstruction. A core area of interest is decentralisation and governance and it was his extensive experience in Sierra Leone immediately following the war that led him into the area of conflict analysis and security sector reform.
Date:
Friday 24th April 2015

Blog: Make elections work for you: check the polls, but follow the money

Blog: Make elections work for you: check the polls, but follow the money
Description
Written by Chris Game. "Spoiler alert: this is a blog about elections, but not local elections – mainly because it's about election betting, and, with one conspicuous exception, which will be mentioned, our modern-day local election contests and candidates are rarely of sufficiently general interest to attract much serious fixed odds betting."
Date:
Friday 24th April 2015

Blog: Seventh Annual POLSIS Postgraduate Colloquium

Blog: Seventh Annual POLSIS Postgraduate Colloquium
Description
This all day event is a brilliant opportunity for staff and students to find out what the School's PhD students are working on, as well as an opportunity for all our PhD students and staff to get together and discuss ongoing research.
Date:
Monday 13th April 2015

Blog: Council Tax Support – anatomy of a Pickles' localism triumph

Blog: Council Tax Support – anatomy of a Pickles' localism triumph
Description
Written by Chris Game. Shortly before the dissolution of Parliament, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles issued an apparently self-penned eulogy of his ministerial record, entitled on the Government's own website, in characteristic, cod Churchillian, style: Local Government: Delivering for England. It makes an interesting document, as would be hoped of one requiring two separate links.
Date:
Friday 10th April 2015

Blog: Authoritarianism and the securitization of development in Africa

Blog: Authoritarianism and the securitization of development in Africa
Description
Written by Jonathan Fisher, lecturer in IDD. Jonathan Fisher and David M. Anderson published the article: Authoritarianism and the securitization of development in Africa this January, 2015. We asked Jonathan what drives his research interest in this field and to address some of the issues captured in the article.
Date:
Thursday 2nd April 2015

Blog: The cyber threat to the United Kingdom

Blog: The cyber threat to the United Kingdom
Description
Written by Gavin Hall, Doctoral Researcher in POLSIS. When the new government takes office in May 2015 one of the first tasks will be to initiate a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).
Date:
Monday 30th March 2015

Blog: Queen Cersei and the evaporating Revenue Support Grant

Blog: Queen Cersei and the evaporating Revenue Support Grant
Description
Written by Chris Game, Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV. Next week is the last week of Hilary Term, or revision week at the end of Spring Term, as it's known here at the UoB and most other universities who feel no great affinity to the probably inappropriately named 4th Century St Hilarius of Poitiers. Over the many years in which I lectured undergraduates, I used rather to like it: end of the course/module in sight, legitimate chance to share and spread gossip about approaching local elections, lecture attendances boosted by students desperate for exam hints. Plus, nowadays, plenty of discussion-prompting visual aids – one of which is the pretext for this blog.
Date:
Friday 20th March 2015

Blog: In Crimea, Time for Pressure

Blog: In Crimea, Time for Pressure
Description
By Liana Fix - Associate Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations and Visiting PhD Researcher at the University of Birmingham. Forgetting about Crimea and the fate of the Crimean Tatars means implicitly acknowledging Russia's claim to the region. Instead, the international community must demonstrate to Russia that its arbitrary interpretation of international law regarding Crimea has long-term consequences. We are not yet in a post-Crimea phase.
Date:
Thursday 19th March 2015

Blog: Grubby-handed local politicians? It's called local democracy and devolution, Sarah!

Blog: Grubby-handed local politicians? It's called local democracy and devolution, Sarah!
Description
Written by Chris Game, Honorary Senior Lecturer, INLOGOV. The BBC's Radio 4 Today programme isn't what Americans would call a Hot Talk show, and nicely spoken presenter Sarah Montague, even in her own fantasies, is no shock jock. So listeners must have been slightly surprised to hear her, while questioning the proposed devolution of NHS funding to Greater Manchester's combined authority, talk of "local politicians sticking their grubby hands into the decision-making process".
Date:
Friday 13th March 2015

Blog: International Women's Day and Britain's gender gap of shame

Blog: International Women's Day and Britain's gender gap of shame
Description
Written by Chris Game. Sunday sees the 107th celebration of International Women's Day (IWD), and for the 102nd year on March 8. It's a longer history than is often supposed and, reflected in its still occasionally used Leninist title – International Working Women's Day – a more socialist one.
Date:
Friday 6th March 2015

Blog: What is local government for?

Blog: What is local government for?
Description
Written by Howard Elcock. Do we know what local government is for? Is it just a device for providing services to people at the behest of the central government, or does it provide local citizens with a means of making policy choices about what they want their councils to do?
Date:
Thursday 5th March 2015

Blog: Gender & the Research Excellence Framework: An Analysis of the Politics & International Studies Unit of Assessment (I)

Blog: Gender & the Research Excellence Framework: An Analysis of the Politics & International Studies Unit of Assessment (I)
Description
Written by Dr Fran Amery, Dr Stephen Bates and Professor Steve McKay . Ever wondered about the gendered dimensions of the REF returns and rankings for the Politics & International Studies Unit of Assessment? Well wonder no longer.
Date:
Thursday 5th March 2015

Blog: Gender & the Research Excellence Framework: An Analysis of the Politics & International Studies Unit of Assessment (II)

Blog: Gender & the Research Excellence Framework: An Analysis of the Politics & International Studies Unit of Assessment (II)
Description
Written by Dr Fran Amery, Dr Stephen Bates and Professor Steve McKay. This is the second of two posts on gender and the Research Excellence Framework (you may also be interested in this post on what titles of outputs submitted to the Politics & International Studies Unit of Assessment tell us about (sub-)disciplinary trends).
Date:
Thursday 5th March 2015

Blog: A Corpus-Based Analysis of REF Output Titles for Politics and International Studies*

Blog: A Corpus-Based Analysis of REF Output Titles for Politics and International Studies*
Description
Written by Dr Stephen Bates. Have you ever wondered what the titles of outputs submitted to the REF tell us about disciplinary trends, foci and boundaries? Well, thanks to the wonder of corpus linguistics and Laurence Anthony's AntConc, wonder no longer.
Date:
Wednesday 4th March 2015

Blog: The expansion of arms-length government is not necessarily at odds with democratic accountability

Blog: The expansion of arms-length government is not necessarily at odds with democratic accountability
Description
How democratic is arms-length government? Catherine Durose, Jonathan B. Justice and Chris Skelcher argue that those who consider it to be an undemocratic phenomenon over-simplify, and make the case for assessing the question in a more citizen and community focussed manner.
Date:
Monday 2nd March 2015

Blog: The future is analogue – confirms local government's Honey Man

Blog: The future is analogue – confirms local government's Honey Man
Description
Written by Chris Game is a Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV. Of all the reactions to Northamptonshire County Council's controversial 'Next Generation Model' – abandoning service provision in favour of outsourcing everything to 'specialist social enterprises' – few can have been as measured and dispassionate as my colleague Ian Briggs' reflections on the merits or otherwise of Public Interest Companies (PICs).
Date:
Thursday 26th February 2015

Blog: All eyes on Manchester

Blog: All eyes on Manchester
Description
Written by Catherine Needham, Reader in Public Policy and Public Management at the Health Services Management Centre. If you live in Birmingham, like I do, you could be forgiven for feeling slightly green-eyed at what is going on in Manchester at the moment. After the unprecedented devolution package that the city secured at the end of 2014, it has today been announced that Greater Manchester will be given complete control of its £6 billion NHS budget.
Date:
Thursday 26th February 2015

Blog: Getting to Grips with Public Interest Companies

Blog: Getting to Grips with Public Interest Companies
Description
Written by ian Briggs. The recent announcement by Northamptonshire County Council heralding a move towards a 'next generation model' where four public interest companies are to be established to deliver front line services and leaving a core client organisation of around 150 employees adds to the growing number of councils (and other parts of the public sector) who are seeking to adopt this model. What is interesting here is that is goes far beyond the tired rhetoric of what is best, direct public provision or privatisation?
Date:
Tuesday 24th February 2015
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Departmental news

Podcast: Emancipation without agenda? – The recovery of non-Western subjecthood and its implications for the study of world politics

Podcast: Emancipation without agenda? – The recovery of non-Western subjecthood and its implications for the study of world politics
Description
This discussion assembled scholars from different fields and of diverse regional expertise to present the different forms of non-Western subjecthood that they identify or envisage in order to discuss the possibility and constellations of non-Western subjecthood and corresponding forms of agency. The event thus made an attempt to link recent theoretical debates about a 'post-Western' IR with insights from other disciplines to show how post-colonial agency operates both within the framework of the international state system, but also appears in more diffuse and less obvious ways that serve to challenge and re-shape this system.
Date:
22/05/2015

IGS podcast: 50 Years of German-Israeli Relations: Reflections on History, Memory and International Politics

IGS podcast: 50 Years of German-Israeli Relations: Reflections on History, Memory and International Politics
Description
IGS Symposium. Speakers: Lorena De Vita (Aberystwyth University); Harald Kindermann (former FRG Ambassador to Israel); Shimon Stein (former Israeli Ambassador to the FRG); Ruth Wittlinger (University of Durham).
Date:
22/05/2015

Podcast: Take A Chance: Trust-Building Across Identity Groups

Podcast: Take A Chance: Trust-Building Across Identity Groups
Description
Speaker: Professor Andrew Kydd (University of Wisconsin). Trust is central to cooperation and it is often taken for granted that trust is higher among members of an identity group than between groups. However, apart from assimilation or creating new overarching identities, we lack a compelling explanation for trust-building.
Date:
22/05/2015

Podcast: Violence, Civilization and Humanity

Podcast: Violence, Civilization and Humanity
Description
Speaker: Professor Andrew Linklater (Aberystwyth University). The ICCS Distinguished Lecture Series continues on the 18th May with a talk from Professor Andrew Linklater, arguably one of the 50 key thinkers writing in the field of International Relations today. Professor Linklater will discuss his recent research on 'Violence, Civilization and Humanity'.
Date:
22/05/2015

Undergraduate Open Days - 26-27 June 2015

Undergraduate Open Days - 26-27 June 2015
Description
Our Undergraduate Open Days offer you the perfect opportunity to hear first-hand from our current undergraduates and teaching staff about living and learning at Birmingham.
Date:
22/05/2015