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A winner-takes-all democracy in a divided country

There are times when the British way of doing politics feels not merely unreformed, but unreformable. Not so long ago there was a coalition, a novelty in this country, which talked of overhauling the voting system, democratising the Lords and fixing election dates so they ceased to be a prime ministerial plaything. The first change died the death quickly, in a forgotten referendum, the second more slowly, ensnared in Westminster’s arcane procedures. Now—with Theresa May’s snap election—the shift to fixed terms has also been exposed as an illusion. After the unexpected return to single-party government two years ago, the oldest rule in the constitutional book, that an administration in possession of a Commons majority can do as it pleases, is asserting itself anew amid an extraordinary renaissance by a Conservative tribe which is—as Geoffrey Wheatcroft explains on p20—the most ancient and successful political party of the lot.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s June issue: Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Martha Gill and Helen Pidd examine the election chances of the three main political parties. Wheatcroft explores the Tories’ remarkable ability to rise from the ashes and assert dominance, Gill questions why the Lib Dem revival isn’t quite getting off the ground and Pidd examines Labour’s prospects after poor performances in the recent council and mayoral elections. Also in this issue: Christine Ockrent asks if France’s new President Emmanuel Macron can charm the parts of France that didn’t initially vote for him, AC Grayling assesses whether the rise and rise of drone warfare warrants a new ethical code for conflict and Francine Stock explores whether Pixar can continue to captivate modern audiences.