The 2015 British General Election: Parties, Politics, and the Future of the United Kingdom

UK election signs
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 (All day)
IGS Library, 109 Moses Hall
UC Berkeley

The British General Election of 2015 may be a watershed for the country, with profound consequences for its party system and internal unity. This one-day conference will examine the 2015 election and its outcomes, looking at the role of candidates, issues, and the electoral laws. In particular, the conference invites discussion about the implications of the upsurge in minor party voting, the success of Scottish nationalism, and the challenges facing the Conservative government for the future of the UK's political system and the country's place in Europe.

This event is co-sponsored by the British Politics Group and the Center for British Studies

Panel 1: Parties, Candidates and Campaigning

Paper 1: Shuffling the House of Cards? The Profile of Candidates and MPs in the 2015 General Election

Rosie Campbell (Birkbeck, University of London), Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson (University College London), Chrysa Lamprinakou (University College London), Marco Morucci (Parliamentary Candidates UK)

Paper 2: Grunts in the ground game: UK Party Members in the 2015 General Election

Tim Bale (Queen Mary University of London), Paul Webb (University of Sussex)

Panel 3: The Changing British Party System – Minor Parties and Third Parties

Paper 1: Coalition in a Plurality System: Explaining Party System Fragmentation in Britain 

Jane Green (University of Manchester), Ed Fieldhouse (University of Manchester), Chris Prosser (University of Manchester)

Panel 4: David Cameron and the Conservative Party – Past, Present and Future

Paper 1: Evaluating British Prime Ministerial Performance: David Cameron in Political Time 

Nick Randall (University of New Castle), Kevin Theakston (University of Leeds), Chris Byrne (University of Leeds) 

*Bolded names indicate conference speakers

10:00 a.m. Opening Remarks

Terri Bimes, Director of the Anglo-American Studies Program at IGS

Susan Scarrow, President of the British Politics Group and Professor (University of Houston)

Mark Bevir, Director of the Center for British Studies and Professor (UC Berkeley) 

10:30 a.m.–noon : Parties, Candidates and Campaigning

Chair: Mark Bevir (UC Berkeley) (tentative)

Paper 1: More Similar Than Different? The Profile of Candidates and MPs in the 2015 General Election

Rosie Campbell (Birkbeck, University of London), Jennifer vanHeerde-Hudson (University College London), Chrysa Lamprinakou (University College London), Marco Morucci (Parliamentary Candidates UK)

Paper 2: Grunts in the ground game: UK Party Members in the 2015 General Election

Tim Bale (Queen Mary University of London), Paul Webb (University of Sussex)

Paper 3: Who Supports Gender Quotas? Evidence from the 2015 General Election

Peter Allen (Queen Mary University of London), David Cutts (University of Bath), 

Discussant: Thomas Mann (Brookings Institute and UC Berkeley)

12:00-1:45 p.m. : The Challenges of Polling in the UK

(boxed lunch provided)

Jon Cohen (Vice President of Survey Research, Survey Monkey)

Doug Rivers (President and CEO of YouGov/Polimetrix; Political Science Professor, Stanford University)

Jane Green (Co-Director of the 2015 British Election Study)

Jon Mellon (BES Research Fellow; postdoctoral research fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford)

Moderator: Laura Stoker (UC Berkeley)

1:45-2:00 p.m. Break

2:00-3:15 p.m. : The Changing British Party System – Minor Parties and Third Parties

Chair: Janet Laible (Lehigh University)

Paper 1: How Coalition Government Leads to Minor Party Voting (in the absence of proportional representation): A Case Study of the 2015 British General Election

Jane Green (University of Manchester), Ed Fieldhouse (University of Manchester), Chris Prosser (University of Manchester)

Paper 2: The Long and the Short of the SNP Breakthrough: What, How, and Why This Matters for British Politics

Richard Rose (University of Strathclyde), Mark Shephard (University of Strathclyde)

Paper 3: The Liberal Democrats: From Despair to Where?

Andrew Russell (University of Manchester), David Cutts (University of Bath)

Kim Twist (UC Berkeley)

3:15-3:30 p.m. Break

3:30-5:00 p.m : David Cameron and the Conservative Party – Past, Present and Future

Chair: Terri Bimes (Anglo-American Studies Program, UC Berkeley)

Paper 1: David Cameron in Political Time

Nick Randall (University of New Castle), Kevin Theakston (University of Leeds), Chris Byrne (University of Leeds) 

Paper 2: Shaping the Issue Agenda and Shaping Reputations? The British Conservative Party’s Campaign on the Economy in 2015

Jane Green (University of Manchester), Will Jennings (University of Southampton), Jon Mellon (BES Research Fellow and Nuffield College, University of Oxford)

Paper 3: The Human Rights Act 1998: Dead, or Just Resting?

Richard Maiman (University of Southern Maine)

Discussant: Tim Bale (Queen Mary University of London)

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.  Reception - IGS Library and Courtyard