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Politics and International Relations (PIR): Events


The Populist Signal: Why Politics and Democracy Need to Change

The Populist Signal: Why Politics and Democracy Need to Change
Hosted by: Oliver Escobar # University of Edinburgh; Speaker: Claudia Chwalisz # University of Sheffield; Speaker: Marco Biagi # SNP MSP Edinburgh Central; Speaker: Ailsa Henderson # University of Edinburgh; Speaker: Juliet Swann # Electoral Reform Society Scotland
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Date and Time
18th Sep 2015 15:00 - 18th Sep 2015 17:00
G43, Paterson's Land, University of Edinburgh

A deep sense of political alienation is a fertile breeding ground for populists. In her new report, The Populist Signal, Claudia Chwalisz argues that profound alienation, changing values, structural economic change and technology have together altered the British political landscape. Large swathes of voters feel that politics no longer represents or works for them.

A long term response to these trends requires a fundamental change in the way politics is done; rather than government for the people, government with the people. The report features new Ipsos Mori polling showing that most people would be willing to participate in randomly selected citizens’ assemblies, where ordinary people would have an influential role in policymaking at the local and national levels.

Inspiration from international case studies highlights the possibility for such change; governments and councils are being emboldened by the results of participatory deliberative democracy projects. The rise of populism can be seen as a corrective warning signal to parties and governments to revisit their approaches to governance and political representation.

The research for the Policy Network report was generously supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust. Edinburgh University’s Academy of Government is kindly hosting this event as part of their Public Sessions series.



Claudia Chwalisz, Senior Policy Researcher, Policy Network and Public Service Fellow, University of Sheffield 

Dr Mathias Thaler, Chancellor's Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Juliet Swann, Campaigns and Research Officer, Electoral Reform Society Scotland



Oliver Escobar, Lecturer in Public Policy, University of Edinburgh and Co-Director of What Works Scotland

Edinburgh Students