Classics, Literature, Philosophy, Poetry & Politics

Never Mind The Ballots: Elections, Parties And Voters In The Uk

All CategoriesClassics, Literature, Philosophy, Poetry & Politics

Course synopsis

Do elections really matter? Are party differences illusory? Are voters consistently and irreversibly cynical? And is it naïve to argue that certain, proposed reforms – like proportional representation, further devolution, or lowering the voting age – would make much difference to the health of UK democracy?

These are just some of the questions we shall discuss during this whistle stop tour of democratic politics in Britain. During our six, springtime sessions we shall thus examine how the UK’s various elections emerged and evolved; what our main political parties stand for (if anything) and how they seek public support; how these parties have been spooked by ‘insurgent’ parties like UKIP and the SNP; how voters have become increasingly detached from party loyalty; and whether voters are now drawn to ‘alternative forms of democracy - such as frequent referenda, shouty protest movements and cybernetic pressure groups.

If you are sceptical and distrustful of Britain’s political class, this course is unlikely to change your attitude. In fact, be warned: it could plunge you even more deeply into dismay and despair, prompting wholesale disengagement from current affairs. On the other hand, it might provide a firmer understanding of how we reached our present mess, and how our politicians might respond in the decades ahead. In the process, we shall also see if Elvis Costello’s view of a failing marriage (“I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused”) could yet be applied to our own view of modern British politics.

Start date Tuesday 16th April

Course Tutor: Richard Kelly (BA, MA, Phil), author of British Political Parties Today and co-author of Changing Party Policy in Britain.

Book your place

Summer 2023/2024
Tuesdays, 19:30 - 21:30

About the teacher

Richard Kelly

Richard Kelly BA, MA, MPhil

More about this teacher