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Contains debates from the 2d session of the 48th Parliament through the session of the Parliament.
The relationship between politicians and broadcasters has always been fraught with tension. Today, every word and act of those who wield power is instantly broadcast and dissected on 24-hour rolling news channels, blogs and Twitter. But in the past, broadcasters were banned by law from debating anything newsworthy and Parliament imprisoned those who dared to report what MPs had said. Since that censorship ended, the two sides have clashed repeatedly. Live From Downing Street takes us on an absorbing journey through the history of this power struggle, dwelling in fascinating detail on the charismatic key players from radio and television – the Dimblebys, Day, Frost, Walden, Paxman, Humphrys – and those who fought back – Churchill, Wilson, Thatcher and Blair. As the BBC’s Political Editor, Nick Robinson is uniquely placed to add his own perceptive insights into the controversial issue of impartial reporting, providing a colourful and gripping account of the hard-fought battles for the right to tell the public about the decisions taken on their behalf.
Just after ten o’clock on Thursday, 7 May 2015 Nick Robinson stared down the lens of camera 5 in the BBC’s Election Night Studio to explain to millions the significance of an exit poll that shocked the country and heralded an earthquake in British politics. That moment was a personal milestone for the BBC’s Political Editor, who had been discharged from hospital just hours earlier following weeks of treatment for cancer and the loss of his voice after surgery. In the year leading up to that night Nick kept a journal recording the events he reported on day after day to millions of viewers and listeners, and which he continued to monitor, often from his hospital bed as he fought to get fit in time for election night. This is Nick‘s behind-the-scenes account of his encounters with David Cameron, who many wrote off before the shock victory he called his 'sweetest'; Ed Miliband, who turned abuse & ridicule into respect before leading Labour to its worst defeat in a generation; Nick Clegg, who led his party into power and then to humiliation and near oblivion; Nigel Farage, who rose so fast and then fell at the final hurdle; Alex Salmond, whose public clash with Nick led to thousands protesting outside the BBC’s Scottish HQ, and Nicola Sturgeon, whose stunning success as SNP leader has put Scottish independence back on the map. The result is an extraordinary narrative, characterized by Nick Robinson’s trademark insight, analysis and backstage gossip, of an adrenaline-fuelled year which culminated in a captivating election that transformed Britain’s political landscape.
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the democratic ascendency of the post-Soviet era is under severe challenge. While fragile democracies in Eastern Europe, Africa, and East Asia face renewed threats, the world has witnessed the failed democratic promises of the Arab Spring. What lessons can be drawn from these struggles? What conditions or institutions are needed to prevent the collapse of democracy? This book argues that the most significant antidote to authoritarianism is the presence of strong constitutional courts. Distinct in the third wave of democratization, these courts serve as a bulwark against vulnerability to external threats as well as internal consolidation of power. Particular attention is given to societies riven by deep divisions of race, religion, or national background, for which the courts have become pivotal actors in allowing democracy to take root.
This report makes recommendations to improve the process by which Members learn and develop their careers. If implemented the recommendations would mean: extending the period between a General Election and the date of first sitting, to allow for a longer period of induction; allocating part of most question times to topical questions; extra debates on topical matters on a weekly basis; shorter debates on most general issues and some legislation; a weekly half-hour slot for debating Select Committee Reports; more comprehensible motions; shorter speeches; greater flexibility on time limits on speeches; and the reintroduction, on a trial basis, of Private Members' Motions in Westminster Hall.
Exploring the forms and meanings of mediated politics beyond the news cycle, this book encompasses genres drawn from television, radio, the press and the internet, assessing their individual and collective contribution to contemporary political culture through textual analysis and thematic review.

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