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Idealism versus pragmatism in politics and policymaking: Labour, Brexit, and evidence-based policymaking

Idealism versus pragmatism in politics and policymaking: Labour, Brexit, and evidence-based policymaking

Paul Cairney aims to highlight some important links between three current concerns: Labour’s leadership contest, the Brexit vote built on emotion over facts, and the insufficient use of evidence in policy. In each case, there is a notional competition between ‘idealism’ and ‘pragmatism’ (as defined in common use, not philosophy); the often-unrealistic pursuit of a long term ideal versus the focus on solving more immediate problems often by compromising ideals and getting your hands dirty. We know what this looks like in party politics, including the compromises that politicians make to win elections and the consequences for their image, but do we know how to make the same compromises when we appeal for a more deliberative referendum or more evidence-informed policymaking?

The new top-up powers for Scotland on welfare represent the advent of ‘defensive devolution’

The new top-up powers for Scotland on welfare represent the advent of ‘defensive devolution’

There is a lively debate in Scotland over the extent of the Scottish government’s new powers over welfare, with the Scotland Bill in Westminster being strengthened by Government amendments. Gavin Kelly discusses the political implications of the move, and describes the new arrangement as representing ‘defensive devolution’. 

By 9th November 2015 0 Comments Read More →
Recent events regarding ‘stop and search’ in Scotland should deliver some sharp lessons in political accountability

Recent events regarding ‘stop and search’ in Scotland should deliver some sharp lessons in political accountability

The rise and recent fall of mass stop and search in Scotland is an extraordinary phenomenon. Here, Dr Kath Murray examines the implications for human rights and argues that recent events in Scotland should deliver some sharp lessons in political accountability.

By 6th November 2015 0 Comments Read More →