What’s happening to our democracy?

Stuart Wilks-Heeg, 28 February 2011

Our fourth Audit of UK democracy, due for publication later this year, deploys International IDEA’s ‘State of Democracy’ assessment framework and is built around 77 separate ‘search questions’. As we consider the huge evidence base which our Audit is generating, however, one ‘overarching’ question which is not part of the framework becomes increasingly dominant in our minds. Is democracy in the UK changing for the better or for the worse?

To evaluate how UK democracy is changing, our analysis must inevitably look both backwards and forwards. Much of the assessment in our 2011 Audit necessarily focuses on the impact of the political and constitutional reforms introduced by New Labour from 1997 onwards. Yet, the formation of the coalition government in May 2010, with a far-reaching constitutional reform agenda of its own, also requires us to evaluate the likely significance of an emerging set of constitutional changes. Continue reading