As was the case last year, 2019 has been a fascinating time to be writing about the UK constitution, its institutions and those involved in working within them. As the year draws to a close, blog editor Dave Busfield-Birch offers a roundup of the blog year just gone, as well as a look at the reach of the blog through the lens of its readership statistics.
2019 has been a year of constitutional flux and tension, with a new Prime Minister, a new Brexit deal and a new parliament, with a significant number of new MPs. The blog has benefited both in terms of increased general interest as a result, but also because there are niche topics being discussed in public now that would have generated little interest in other years. Few, for example, would have predicted in June 2016 that prorogation of parliament would be a hot topic and pose a constitutional dilemma that only the Supreme Court could solve.
Below are our most popular blogs from the past year, which follow a personal selection from me, at the end of my second year as blog editor.
Editor’s picks by category
Brexit and the constitution: seven lessons, by Jack Simson Caird.
Written back in June, but still relevant today, the Bingham Centre’s Jack Simson Caird discussed how the process of exiting the European Union has revealed that the relationship between law and politics was perhaps not as sound as it might once have appeared, and what lessons that had to teach us.
Leaving the European Union, leaving the Palace of Westminster: Brexit and the Restoration and Renewal Programme, by Alexandra Meakin.
This may well have been the post that I found most fascinating this year (in a very tight contest). Alexandra Meakin (now Dr Meakin — many congratulations) discusses the relationship between the UK’s upcoming departure from the EU and the plans for MPs and peers to temporarily move out of the Palace of Westminster. Her analysis shows that there is a correlation between an MP’s stance on Brexit and their position on how best to handle the restoration and renewal programme.
I also want to offer a special mention to the trilogy of articles on the role of parliamentary legal advisers and the desirability of publishing their advice, which you can read here, here and here. They make fascinating reading, despite (in the case of the first two) coming to oppposite final conclusions.
Elections, referendums and democratic engagement
Is there an app for that? Voter information in the event of a snap election, by Joe Mitchell.
Digital technology has transformed the way we access information and interact with services. Democratic services have not kept up, risking a situation where democracy is seen as out of date. Joe Mitchell argues that it’s time to dream big: the UK has an opportunity to create a new digital-first office of civic education and democratic information, to restore trust and grow public understanding of our democracy. Continue reading