Could the SNP block a Labour Budget? No

Colin Talbot looks at the reality after Scottish National Party claims that they could block any budget if the Labour Party is leading a minority Government. The SNP are claiming they can ‘block Labour budgets’, ‘end austerity’ and ‘stop Trident’. Their problem however is simple – most of what they say is based on assuming […]


Plain packaging essential to save children from smoking-related deaths

In the last days of the old Parliament, MPs agreed that from May next year cigarettes may only be sold in plain packaging. Dr Peter Mackereth congratulates politicians for their willingness to stand up to the tobacco industry, but warns the companies are fighting back. Almost a quarter of children aged 11 to 15 in […]


Should We Welcome “Three-Parent Babies”?

The House of Commons voted for a small but significant change in the law when it expressed its approval for the legalisation of mitochondrial transfer. Iain Brassington, Senior Lecturer, in the School of Law at The University of Manchester explores the issues the debate hinged on and whether the right decision was made. Mitochondrial illnesses arise […]


‘Neither Unified, Nor Uniform – So What Civil Service for the Twenty-First Century?

In the final part of our special series on the Civil Service, Francesca Gains and Dave Richards sum up the debate and assess the future of the service during a period of great change. The most striking theme to emerge from the Policy@Manchester series of Civil Service ‘stocking-taking’ blogs by Martin Stanley and Colin Talbot […]


Civil Service Accountability to the Public Part III

In the latest blog in our series on the Civil Service , Martin Stanley continues his examination of whether senior officials should be more accountable – especially to MPs – for the advice that they give to Ministers.  Whatever the strength of the arguments for and against greater civil service accountability, there does seem to […]


Continuity and Change in the Civil Service III: Changing Accountability

The unwritten British constitution as it affects Civil Service accountability – especially to Parliament – is going through an incremental, but very significant, change, argues Professor Colin Talbot. At the heart of the British constitution lies the concept of separation of the administrative elite from the political elite. This is very different from other countries […]


Civil Service Accountability to the Public part II

In the second of three blogs Martin Stanley examines whether senior officials should be more accountable – especially to MPs – for the advice that they give to Ministers. This is the fourth post in our series on the Civil Service. How would officials react to greater public scrutiny?  Most of them, I suspect, would […]

By admitting women bishops, Church may avoid closer scrutiny of gender inequality

The decision of the General Synod to allow women to become bishops ends an unpopular (if legally protected) policy of gender discrimination. It brings the Church of England into the modern world while drawing on ancient traditions of shared leadership, explains Professor Kate Cooper. A collective sigh of relief could be heard round the Anglican […]


Nomination of Mr Juncker – A tentative step forward for European democracy?

David Cameron failed to block Jean Claude Juncker from being nominated by the European Council for the post of European Commission President. Dr. Georgios Papanagnou takes a look at some of the weaknesses in the campaigns by Cameron and the British media. In the end “this time was not so much different” – Jean Claude […]

Fixing our European Parliament is first step to greater democracy

A series of reforms that started roughly around the late 1970s have transformed the European Parliament from an ineffective institution to an assembly with significant powers, writes Dr Georgios Papanagnou. But he argues that there is much still to be done – and this should be an urgent priority for the European political class. There […]