A sound assessment

May 30, 2003

I take issue on behalf of my co-authors with Vernon Bogdanor's conclusion that our book, Democracy under Blair ("Charter 88 checklist posing as a critique", THES , May 23) breaches the Trades Description Act.

Conducting an assessment of a country's democracy is a judgemental exercise. What is important is that the normative principles of judgement should be transparent and the evidence on which they are based should be sound. Some disagreements with the former, and one or two points where the evidence is less abundant than one might wish, are to be expected, but do not invalidate the exercise.

As part of an international project, the questions we sought to answer have been through a rigorous process of international peer review and do not represent any narrow British agenda, much less a Charter 88 one. Readers should be allowed to judge for themselves.

David Beetham
University of Leeds

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Track runner slow off the starting blocks

Lack of independent working blamed for difficulties making the leap from undergraduate to doctoral work

Quality under magnifying glass

Hefce's new standards regime will enable universities to focus on what matters to students, says Susan Lapworth

Door peephole painted as bomb ready to explode

It’s time to use technology to detect potential threats and worry less about outdated ideas of privacy, says Ron Iphofen

A keyboard with a 'donate' key

Richard Budd mulls the logic of giving money to your alma mater

Long queue

Lobbying intensifies ahead of Lord Stern's review of crucial assessment into university research performance