The 1970s Gay Sex Scandal That Enthralled Britons Is Back

What the Thorpe affair reveals about the history of elite men seeking sex and relationships with other men


Be Here Now

A review of 1997: The Future that Never Happened

EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

Are EU Exit Referenda Good for Democracy?

Referenda are important instruments of democratic politics. They have been used since the late eighteenth century in various circumstances of political life, most often in relation to constitutional change or issues of self-determination. In contemporary democratic societies, there is pressure to submit contested political questions to popular vote, in order to reduce tensions between popular will and governance. Even democratic governments which are not constitutionally obliged to do so now feel compelled to consult the people directly. 

Brexit, the UK’s referendum on whether to stay in the EU, reflects this tendency. It is not the first referendum on EU matters. And yet, there is novelty here: the people were deciding directly whether to leave an organization of democratic states, …

FeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

Voting Dangerously: Britain, Europe, and the United States

Back in 2015, the French woke up having to mobilize against the threat of Marine Le Pen’s National Front party, infamously nationalist and anti-immigrant, after its overwhelming victory in the first round of regional elections in 2015. Earlier that year, Poles elected a president endorsed by the Law and Justice party, openly nationalist and xenophobic, leading it to full governmental power as a result the parliamentary elections held several months later. The Austrians barely managed to fend off Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer in the presidential elections held this spring. Most recently, another decision made directly by European citizens in a ballot ended in anti-EU Brexit. At the same time, in the United States Donald Trump is celebrating his popularity as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, …