Some reading for Election Day

It’s election day in the UK and I’m not allowed to say very much, or Oxfam could get into trouble. So instead, here are some of the best pieces on democracy and elections that have appeared on this blog over the years. Any comparison with current events in Britain is purely accidental. Honest.

Democracy’s Retreat: a ‘how to’ guide.

Book Review: How to Rig an Election

Should we focus more on Women’s Political Empowerment when Democracy goes off the Rails?

What are the links between authoritarianism, democracy and development?

10 Killer Facts on Democracy and Elections

The first piece is a beautiful bit of writing from a 2018 Economist essay. Here’s a sample, without comment:


Credit:“polling station” by secretlondon123 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

‘A democracy typically declines like this. First, a crisis occurs and voters back a charismatic leader who promises to save them. Second, this leader finds enemies. His aim, in the words of H.L. Mencken, a 20th-century American wit, “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Third, he nobbles independent institutions that might get in his way. Finally, he changes the rules to make it harder for voters to dislodge him. During the first three stages, his country is still a democracy. At some point in the final stage, it ceases to be one.’

Happy election day everyone – you never know. And if you’re eligible, do please make sure you get out and vote.

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