Professor Emeritus Roger Eatwell and Dr Peter Allen from the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, have made important contributions to the recent ResPublica conference, Tomorrow’s Democracy.
ResPublica is an independent non-partisan think tank, which aims to establish a new economic, social and cultural settlement for the United Kingdom. Their conference was held in Newport and featured a range of talks exploring where democracy is today, and where it is headed next.
Professor Roger Eatwell was part of the panel addressing ‘Is Global Democracy dying?’ with journalist and political commentator Paul Mason, Professor Eric Kaufmann from Birkbeck, University of London, and Emily Mansfield, Country Forecast Director at The Economist Intelligence Unit. A Professor Emeritus in Comparative Politics at Bath, Eatwell has been researching European and American fascism, the far right and populism since the 1980s.
During the talk, he discussed his recently published book National Populism: the Revolt against Liberal Democracy’. Co-authored with Matthew Goodwin, Professor of Politics and International Relations at University of Kent, the book went straight into the Sunday Times Top 10 Non Fiction list in the first week of publication.
Professor Eatwell provided his own take on the book, criticising the excessive focus on immigration in academic accounts of national populist voting. He stressed the need to also look at factors like anger about the failings of liberal democracy, including the way in which it has become far less directly representative of the working class people and their concerns about community and equality, issues that extend far beyond the impact of immigration.
Dr Peter Allen, Reader in Comparative Politics at Bath, took part in a discussion on whether increased diversity in politics would lead to greater political participation, with Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, and Jess Blair, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Cymru.
Drawing on his book, The Political Class: Why It Matters Who Our Politicians Are, Dr Allen argued that although there is some evidence that increased diversity among politicians does increase participation in some instances, bringing about this effect should not become a de facto condition of entry for groups who have previously been absent from political institutions.
Dr Allen’s broader research focuses on political representation, gender quotas, and public opinion, and has been published in a range of national and international peer-reviewed journals. He recently completed an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant exploring patterns of political ambition across Britain.