The future of parliamentary politics

Judge, David and Leston-Bandeira, Cristina and Thompson, Louise; Leston-Bandeira, Cristina and Thompson, Louise, eds. (2018) The future of parliamentary politics. In: Exploring Parliament. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 347-357. ISBN 9780198788430

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Political scientists have a mixed record in predicting the political future; and so, as political scientists, we won't engage in expansive 'futurology' and 'guestimates' about the future of Parliament in this chapter. Instead, in exploring the future of parliamentary politics, we will invoke the words often attributed to Albert Einstein: 'The future is an unknown, but a somewhat predictable unknown. To look to the future we must first look back upon the past'. If we can identify what parliament was and is, and what it did and still does - which has been the central connecting thread interwoven in the preceding chapters - then we can provide a basis for exploring what we might expect parliament to be and do in the future. Individually, the 30 chapters of this book have explored what parliament does and why it does what it does. Collectively, these chapters provide an overarching assessment of the contemporary significance of the UK parliament in the UK's political system by revealing what it 'is' as an institution. Whilst it is not our intention to reprise the analyses of earlier chapters; it is our intention, however, to identify key puzzles implicit within these analyses which raise fundamental questions about what parliament is and why it exists. In turn, this will help us to identify the 'predictable unknowns' as starting points for the exploration of the future.