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Mile End Institute

MEI Blog

From ‘mutual aid’ to ‘mask diplomacy’: reflections on Covid-19 and the twinning movement - Dr Caterina Mazzilli and Dr Holly Eva Ryan
6 September 2020

In the midst of the worst pandemic in recent history, sister cities have shown themselves to be resourceful actors, ready to step in when inter-governmental relations come to a standstill.

Should the House of Lords be reformed or abolished? Dr Robert Saunders
27 August 2020

Liberal, Labour and Conservative governments have all sailed into the Bermuda Triangle of Lords reform, though few have completed the voyage.

The A-levels fiasco will cripple our crisis-ridden universities - Dr Lee Jones
26 August 2020

The fiasco over A-Level results has only deepened the suffering of a university sector mired in market-driven chaos.

Behind the Beirut explosion lies the lawless world of international shipping - Professor Laleh Khalili
17 August 2020

The disaster has roots in a global network of maritime capital and legal chicanery designed to protect businesses at any cost.

One Year as Prime Minister: Boris and Brexit – Professor Anand Menon and Dr Alan Wager
24 July 2020

A time traveller arriving from July 2019, interested in seeing how politics has moved on, and what progress had been made with Brexit, might be forgiven, at first blush, for thinking nothing at all had changed. ‘Britain close to abandoning hope of Brexit trade deal’, declared the Daily Telegraph this week. Déjà vu all over again.

Boris Johnson’s first year - Professor Tim Bale
23 July 2020

As a classicist, Boris Johnson hardly needs reminding that hubris can lead to nemesis. But hubris must have been hard to avoid. After all, his first six months as Britain’s eighteenth Conservative prime minister were, frankly, little short of miraculous.

Prorogation struck at the very heart of parliamentary democracy. But it was not an isolated incident. Dr Robert Saunders
22 July 2020

When the time comes to write the history of Boris Johnson’s premiership, historians will not be short of material.

Immigration was the most polarising issue of the last decade. Has Johnson’s first year seen a new centre-ground emerge? Sunder Katwala
21 July 2020

What would “taking back control” mean for immigration?  That central question would determine how far the government would make its own choices about immigration in Boris Johnson’s first year as prime minister.

COVID-19 and Captivity - Gabriel Lawson
15 July 2020

Gabriel Lawson writes about prisoners-of-war dealing with isolation and its absence. 

A Real New Deal Needs Redistribution of Wealth and an Empowered Workforce, Not Just Government Spending - Dr Noam Maggor
6 July 2020

As progressives in the United States are fond of saying, “The New Deal was a great idea. It is time we tried it”. For its modern critics, the New Deal, as implemented, was not ambitious and transformative enough. A true New Deal would have conceded a lot less to capitalist interests, better protected the environment, and more aggressively addressed racial and gender disparities (rather than exacerbating them).

Should No.10 prepare for a ‘war on woke’? Professor Tim Bale
2 July 2020

According to research published this week, it is underlying socio and cultural (as opposed to economic) values that keep the Conservative Party and its electoral coalition together and give it the best chance of connecting with the voters it will need to win again in 2024.

Coronavirus: our study suggests more people have had it than previously estimated
30 June 2020

By Professor Norman Fenton, Dr. Magda Osman, Professor Martin Neil, and Dr. Scott McLachlan.

After COVID19 - Lord Peter Hennessy
24 June 2020

Lord Peter Hennessy asks what we might learn from the experience of another hinge moment: 1945, when an exhausted but victorious Britain launched a new social contract.

The UK state after COVID-19: Britain needs a system of government which is holistic, anticipatory, and intelligent - Dr Patrick Diamond
22 June 2020

While Cummings’s vision for reforming government looks even more questionable in the light of the pandemic, it is not sufficient simply to attack ideas of reform, writes Patrick Diamond. He explains what system of government Britain needs in order to be better able to solve problems in the future.

India’s internal migrants are citizens too – the government must protect them by Professor Parvati Nair
17 June 2020

The largest mass migrations in South Asia since the time of partition are taking place in India during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indians are on the move in every direction from the major urban centres, criss-crossing the nation on their way homeward to towns and villages across the country.

The anti-Brexit movement: failing to Remain (united)
16 June 2020

With the UK in lockdown and Covid-19 still on the rampage, it is easy to lose sight of the looming deadline for Britain and the EU to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Talks between Brussels and London have stalled and no progress on the key issues has been made.

Coronavirus destroys jobs and worsens inequality, with or without full lockdown - Dr Tim Lee
12 June 2020

Coronavirus plunged the world into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many governments are trying to revitalise their economies by gradually lifting lockdown measures, including the UK

A Statement from the School of Politics and International Relations
10 June 2020

The Mile End Institute is situated within the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) at Queen Mary University of London. This piece affirms the School’s solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and provides resources recommended by the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee.

New data reveals a crisis of support for Black, Asian and minority ethnic women
9 June 2020

Professor Sophie Harman has contributed to new polling analysis which reveals the pressure on Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Populist party supporters: Informed, uninformed or misinformed?
8 June 2020

Supporters of populist parties are often portrayed as politically naïve or misinformed, but to what extent does this image reflect reality? Drawing on a new study, Stijn van Kessel, Javier Sajuria and Steven M. Van Hauwaert present evidence that populist party supporters are not less informed than supporters of other parties. However, supporters of right-wing populist parties had a greater tendency to give incorrect answers to political knowledge questions, suggesting there are key differences between the characteristics of left-wing and right-wing populist voters.

Cummings, Covid and the British Establishment - Professor Tim Bale
5 June 2020

By the Establishment, I do not only mean the centres of official power—though they are certainly part of it—but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised. The exercise of power in the United Kingdom (more specifically, in England) cannot be understood unless it is recognized that it is exercised socially.

A reformer from a bygone era: What the Cummings saga tells us about British governance - Dr Patrick Diamond
1 June 2020

Patrick Diamond writes that the Cummings coronavirus row has wider implications for the machinery of British government. These revolve around the status of political advisers and the future of Cummings’s state reform visions.

It Could Happen Here - Professor Sophie Harman
27 May 2020

It couldn’t happen here. A one-off event, at first as big as the 2008 financial crisis, and then equal to if not bigger than the end of the Second World War. Unique in its reach, impact, and cause. Locking down populations, shifting work, school, and childcare patterns, and reorienting whole health, social, political and economic systems to manage a health crisis all seemingly without precedent.

Why the Netanyahus Are Embracing 'Christian Europe' - Dr Toby Greene
18 May 2020

Jewish nationalists defending ‘Christian Europe’ and attacking ‘evil globalism’? For Benjamin Netanyahu and conspiratorial son Yair, the illiberal Islamophobic ethnonationalism of Europe’s radical right is just too enticing.

Advice for the Leader of the opposition - Dr Robert Saunders
16 May 2020

Leading the opposition is an extraordinarily difficult job. In fact, it’s at least four different jobs at the same time, each of which needs different skills.

Covid-19 and British politics: what are the threats and opportunities? Professor Tim Bale
15 May 2020

It’s an ill wind, they say, that blows nobody any good. And the coronavirus crisis is no exception. It’s too early to tell how – or how much – it will change UK politics in the long term. But we can at least make some educated guesses about the short- to medium-term opportunities and threats it presents to the Conservative government and to its Labour opposition.

New report reveals the stark impact of the coronavirus pandemic on parents and key workers
7 May 2020

Experts from the Mile End Institute at Queen Mary University of London have contributed to new research published today which reveals the stark reality of the coronavirus pandemic for parents and keyworkers.

What Happens If A Prime Minister Dies in Office? Dr Robert Saunders
6 May 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a new problem in our constitutional arrangements. How would we replace a prime minister during a national emergency?


'Expelliarmus, Jeeves!' - Dr Robert Saunders
30 April 2020

If you need a break from Covid-19, here is some light relief. 

Have you ever wondered what would happen if Harry Potter met Jeeves and Wooster? Or if Aunt Agatha dated Lord Voldemort? Our co-director, Robert Saunders, has the answers, in 'Expelliarmus, Jeeves!'

Policy learning in a pandemic: The UK perspective - Dr Patrick Diamond
21 April 2020

Patrick Diamond dissects the UK’s response to the COVID-19 crisis so far and how it has been determined by a number of underlying weaknesses within its policy-making systems – among other things, the British Government’s reluctant attitude towards policy learning and borrowing.

Coronavirus: A Policy Melting Pot by Griffin Shiel
8 April 2020

From a cursory glance at the UK Government’s Coronavirus Action Plan, it would be easy to assume that the virus is almost exclusively an issue for the Department of Health and Social Care. It’s safe to say Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer), Dr Jenny Harries (Deputy Chief Medical Officer) and Matt Hancock (Health Secretary) have had more air time than even they could have imagined.


How pandemic shattered the harmony of medieval Europe’s diverse cities by Professor Miri Rubin
3 April 2020

This article was originally published by The Conversation on 31 March 2020. 

Coronavirus: country comparisons are pointless unless we account for these biases in testing
2 April 2020

New cases daily for COVID-19 in world and top countries.
New cases daily for COVID-19 in world and top countries.

Why Bibi’s less trustworthy than Boris in the Coronavirus crisis by Dr Toby Greene
31 March 2020

A comparison of how British and Israeli leaders are handling the Coronavirus crisis.

This article was originally published by The Times of Israel on 31 March 2020. 

How do Brits react to an epidemic: what can polling from the past tell us?
28 March 2020

by John Kenny, Nick Or, Andra Roescu, Will Jennings (University of Southampton) and Peter K. Enns (Cornell University and Roper Center for Public Opinion Research)

Why a national government now is a dangerous idea by Dr Robert Saunders
25 March 2020

At this moment of crisis the UK needs a constructive opposition, not a compliant one.

This article was originally published by NewStatesman on 25 March 2020.  


COVID-19 and the Transition Period by Professor Tim Bale
20 March 2020

This article was originally published by the UK in a Changing Europe on 19 March 2020. 

16 years on the road to Brexit – Gawain Towler in Conversation at the Mile End Institute
3 March 2020

Gawain Towler served as Director of Communications for the Brexit Party and was previously Head of Press for UKIP. In a special In Conversation event co-hosted by Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End Institute and The UK in a Changing Europe, he reflected on a 16-year political journey towards Brexit.

Brexit shows how a tiny party can have big consequences
3 December 2019

Nigel Farage’s pro-Brexit parties forced the much bigger Conservative Party to live up to its rhetoric. 

The nature of ‘Corbynomics’ – and four key questions it faces
3 December 2019

Nick Garland and Colm Murphy share their thoughts following a Mile End Institute panel on 'Corbynomics'. 

For the U.K.'s Jewish Voters, an Upside Down Choice in the upcoming General Election
26 November 2019

Professor Tim Bale has noted how British Jews are "clearly very worried about Jeremy Corbyn and the direction of the Labour Party". In an article written by Thomas K. Grose for U.S. News

Supreme Court ruling will stop another parliament shutdown, says Professor Peter Hennessy
25 September 2019

Professor Hennessy said that Boris Johnson had “acted with immense insensitivity as well as illegality in advising the Queen to approve an order in council proroguing parliament”.

Labour conference: Jeremy Corbyn battles it out with members over Brexit
23 September 2019

Tim Bale, Professor of Politics from Queen Mary University of London has written an opinion piece for The Conversation about Jeremy Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party and their stance on Brexit. He argues that Corbyn – supposedly a very different leader of the Labour Party and one who promised to be guided by its members – will probably get away with ignoring them when it comes to Brexit.

Co-Director of the MEI, Dr. Robert Saunders, shared his views on the suspension of Parliament on Twitter
28 August 2019

Dr Robert Saunders, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History, shared his views on the suspension of Parliament on Twitter.

In conversation with Chris Skidmore MP
8 July 2019

Speaking at the Mile End Institute, Chris Skidmore, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, shared his vision for higher education after Brexit. 

How the Tories became a Brexit death cult in thrall to Boris Johnson
28 June 2019

There is evidence that post-referendum ‘entryism’ has helped drive the Conservatives into ultra-Brexiteer territory. 

UK Parliament The Brexit referendum and the British constitution
30 May 2019

Robert Saunders, a historian at Queen Mary University of London spoke to The Economist about the British Constitution. 

Are referendums the future of British democracy?
26 February 2019

The 2016 Brexit referendum is having a profound impact on how the UK is governed yet for other countries referendums are a regular aspect of the political process. Queen Mary’s Mile End Institute hosted a panel discussion on 25 February to explore this topic.

Nearly three quarters of MPs think Theresa May has done a poor job of negotiating Brexit
9 January 2019

The latest survey shows that the House of Commons has become even more polarised on Brexit. Tim Bale, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary, believes this will make the Prime Minister’s job even more difficult.

New poll shows that most members of the Conservative Party would choose no deal over Theresa May’s Brexit plan
4 January 2019

The survey of political party members, led by Professor Tim Bale from Queen Mary University of London, has shed new light on grassroots views on Brexit.