Category Archives: Conservative

#NoTo55 Crassly Stupid Though this Attack on Democracy Is

The 55% rule on dissolution is the stitch up of the century but it strikes me that it is evident that the people who put this together and are now in government are, how should I put this, a bit stupid?  The relevant text in Con Lib deal goes as follows:

The parties agree to the establishment of five-year fixed-term parliaments. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government will put a binding motion before the House of Commons in the first days following this agreement stating that the next general election will be held on the first Thursday of May 2015. Following this motion, legislation will be brought forward to make provision for fixed term parliaments of five years. This legislation will also provide for dissolution if 55% or more of the House votes in favour.

In a well argued piece by Louise Balldock it is clear that they the Tories are trying to make it impossible to oust them from Parliament even if the coalition falls apart, they alone could put up more than 45% of the votes, rejecting dissolution.

But this is the stupid bit.  They can’t rig votes on bills, so if the coalition does fall apart and there was a majority in favour of dissolution all they would have to do is vote through an amendment to this crass Act restoring the principle, up until now delivered through convention after the passing of a motion of no confidence, of a simple majority for dissolution.  Makes you despair.

Election 10 is Staying Put – Ready for the Second 2010 Election

Logic dictates that this blog should shuffle off or transform itself into something that covers the wider issues of politics and social media, but we live in interesting times.  I think that the chances are extremely high that 2010 will see a second UK general election.

If the LibDems do a deal with the Conservatives the backlash that they will face for ‘dancing with the devil’ with no promise on voter reform will inevitably destabilise the coalition, that’s if it gets off the ground.  A Conservative minority government wouldn’t last long and a Labour/LibDem/SNP/Plaid Cymru/DUP/Green coalition would be inherently weak.   

It’s hardly a cast iron solution but another plebiscite is looking increasingly likely.

Why a Coalition Would be Smart for Either Labour or The Conservatives

The combined Conservative and Labour share of the vote fell to less that two-thirds of the total ballots cast for the first time since 1918, the election that followed the great war.  That’s important because the two main parties have dominated politics for generations but their stranglehold is slipping and has been gradually eroded in successive elections since the middle of the last century.   In this election is was around 65.3%.  What that means is that even under the first past the post system hung parliaments are increasingly likely.

In order to form a majority administration Labour or Tory parties in the future will have to include the LibDems.  Wouldn’t it make sense to get in first and build the foundations of future coalitions.

Online Outcry at The Sun Front Page

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By now you will have seen the extraordinary front page of  The Sun.  This image appeared as a twitpic reply within an hour or so.  We’ve posted it a little after midnight and it is currently getting more than 1000 views a minute.  It is not beyond the bounds of imagination that it could get more views than the Sun’s front page by close of voting.  Click the image to register your view.

Popular Hashtags in the 2010 UK General Election Campaign #GE2010

 

This general election has been the first in which Hastags have played a part, they are used in social networks and most commonly in twitter, as user-generated meta data.  Put simply they are a way of identifying and therefore following tweets that cover the election or an aspect of it .  Here is a quick guide to some of the most popular ones

#GE2010  –  This is the default tag for posts that relate to the 2010 general election.  There are others but this has emerged as the most popular because it is economical in its use of characters.

#GE10  –  A shorter form, but less used than the above.  Useful if you have run out of characters but likely to be seen by fewer people.

#Vote  –  Has been used both as a short generic hashtag for the election but was also popular in encouraging voters to register before the deadline.

#UKElection  –  More instantly recognisable than #GE2010 but not quite as popular because it eats up more characters.

#LeadersDebate –  One of the most interesting because it was part of a phenomenon that TV programme makers call “two-screen”, using a laptop or smart phone to comment on live television.  It mean that social networks rather than conventional media were the first to pass judgement on the performance of the part leaders during the TV debates.

#iagreewithnick –  Echoing Gordon Brown’s famous utterance during the first TV debate and used primarily to show support for the LibDem leader during the bounce his party received after the first debate.

#NickCleggsFault  – Widely employed to mock the print media’s ‘assassination’ attempts on Clegg.  It was a meme that lasted a few days as Clegg was accused of all manner of spoofed wrongdoings.

#paxo   – Similar to the #LeadersDebate but employed for the Paxman leader interviews.

#LibDemFlashMob  – The hashtag used to organise the Liberal Democrat gatherings in Trafalgar Square and other UK cities on Bank Holiday Monday.

#InVinceCable  – Used by a group of digital marketeers and PR people, and their fellow travellers, to promote Vince Cable as Chancellor in the event of a hung or balanced parliament.  (FD  Election10 endorses the objectives of the #InVinceCable campaign).

#Labourdoorstep – Used by Labour candidates and activists to emphasise the fact that they were taking the campaign directly to the voters.

I’m going to venture another one that might become popular in the next few days. #Hung10 anyone?

Labour and Conservative Decline Traces Back Over Half a Century

This morning I posted about the decline in the overall share of the two “major” parties and how this pointed to a certain hung parliament.

The post attracted a lot of traffic and several comments not least from one Ben Goldacre, journalist, doctor and author of the Bad Science blog.  I used ICM/Guardian data and plotted a graph showing the decline in votes over the last 20 years for the two major parties. He accused me of bullshitting and repeatedly called me a twat because I had omitted data from 1984-1990 that was available from the Guardian.  In fact the reason for starting from 1990 was because 20 years seemed like a good length of time to support the argument and there was a blip in the early eighties caused by the split of the SDP from Labour and their alliance with the Liberals.  I ought to point out that I wasn’t entirely blameless in the exchange in that I suggested he’d had a drink or two. Sorry Ben.

I am now posting using election data from the last 50 years and the latest poll data for 2010.  I think the picture is pretty clear and undistorted and supports the earlier hypothesis.  The combined support for the two main parties has been falling for 50 years.  If that continues and there is no proof that it will then two-party politics is on the way out.  The defining moment might just be on Thursday.

‘Hung’ Parliament Guaranteed by Labour and Conservative Decline

The TV debates aren’t responsible for the Hung Parliament that will follow Thursday’s election as surely as night follows day.  A quarter of a century of decline in the combined Labour and Conservative share of the vote means that the two party stranglehold over UK politics is on its way out and Clegg’s TV performance was just a tipping point.

One of the wonderful things about the web is the accessibility of data.  The Guardian has published all of the Guardian/ICM polling data since 1984. At Election 10 we took the combined Labour and Conservative share for every poll and created the graph above.  In 1990 the two parties were claiming almost 90% of the vote between them this has shrunk to a little over 60% and it has been a steady consistent decline.   A continuation of this would mean a government taking power that was opposed by around 65% of the population.  Even our bizarre electoral system can’t sustain this.

To predict the future we must delve into the past.  In this case the past is telling us that the party is very nearly over for the reds and blues and the voters will be calling time this Thursday.