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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election 2015 on: August 03, 2014, 11:57:13 am
There is no Liberal Democrat front or back bencher who would be a credible new leader before the general election. 

For better or for ill, Nick Clegg will lead the Liberal Democrats into the election. Until we know the outcome of the election, we will not know if the Lib Dems will need a new leader and if so who is available to be chosen.
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK parliamentary by-elections 2014 on: June 19, 2014, 10:28:47 am
Chris Rand has a website called Queen Edith's Online, which has something about the origin of the name.

Here’s a wonderful piece of research by local resident Jeremy Lander, produced in 2009, linking the area to Edith Swan-Neck, or ‘Eddeva the Fair’ as she was often called, landowner in and around Cambridge in 1066 and common-law wife of Harold II. It’s a wonderful tale, as Jeremy explains in the foreword:

My interest in the subject began when I moved to Nightingale Avenue in the Queen Edith area, a south-eastern suburb of Cambridge. At the time I had no idea of the connection between the area where we lived, the ‘Queen Edith’ school in Godwin Way (where my children went), and Harold II king of England in 1066; let alone an obscure Saxon noblewoman named Edith, or how our house came to be built on land that belonged to St Thomas’ Hospital in London. But I wondered about the naming of the area and why it was called Queen Edith’s. Left unsatisfied by the explanation that it was named after Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor (especially when I found that there was no connection between her and the area) I dug a little deeper.

I owe my ‘eureka’ moment to novelist Julian Rathbone and his book ‘The Last English King’. In his fictionalised account of the life of Harold II he describes the love affair between Harold and the beautiful Saxon princess Edith Swan-Neck and it was while I read the paperback on holiday that the scales fell from my eyes. Could this have been the Edith that lived in 11th century Cambridgeshire, and the naming of the area be just a case of mistaken identity? A quick delve into the Victoria County History and all was revealed: the name Edith Swan-Neck, or ‘Eddeva the Fair’ as she was often called, landowner in and around Cambridge in 1066 and common-law wife of Harold II, was everywhere.

3  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election Results The UK Public Probably Regretted on: June 19, 2014, 10:19:19 am
Ted Heath failed, from the point of view of right wing Conservatives, because he was not prepared to persist in right wing economic policies because he saw the social damage and was not prepared to double down on the policies. In other words, he was not as ruthless as Margaret Thatcher.
4  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election 2015 on: May 29, 2014, 09:30:34 am
There is no point in dropping Nick Clegg now. Whoever inherited the poisoned chalice would still be yoked to the Conservatives in the coalition. There is no sign that a new leader would significantly improve the situation.

It is better that Clegg suffer the defeat in 2015. He will then either lose his seat (so as to no longer be eligible to remain leader under the party constitution) or more or less willingly resign. Either option would cause less damage to the long term party interest than a pre-election civil war.

The question of who the next leader will be can be postponed to the next Parliament. It will largely depend on who retains their seat. My personal tip, assuming Scotland does not become independent, is former Chief Whip and current Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael  (Orkney and Shetland). He is the most likely Scottish MP and coalition cabinet member, to survive into the next Parliament.

However I have always supported a losing candidate in Liberal/Lib Dem leadership elections, so I may not be the best person to predict what will happen.
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: EP elections 2014 - Results Thread on: May 25, 2014, 03:39:54 pm

I can't be the only Brit that voted for Lib Dem in the EU can I? Cheesy

No you are not.

I voted in the 10 member South East England region. Even on the reported unofficial exit poll figure of 8%, the Lib Dems should win the last South East seat.
6  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election 2015 on: May 19, 2014, 06:59:35 pm
Clement Davies, the then Liberal Party leader, rejected Churchill's offer of a cabinet post in 1951. If the offer had been accepted, it probably would have been the end of the Liberal Party as an independent political force. The refusal of office permitted the Liberal Party to resume (modest) growth later in the decade and beyond, not least in the Scottish Highlands.

The Liberal Party in 1951 was much weaker than the Liberal Democrats today. The Party had been in almost continuous decline since the split in 1916 (with only minor revivals in 1923 and 1929). Of the 6 MPs elected in 1951, three were from Wales (Davies from Montgomeryshire, Roderic Bowen from Cardiganshire and Rhys Hopkin Morris from Carmarthen) and two from England (D.W. Wade from Huddersfield West and A.F. Holt from Bolton West); all elected without a Conservative opponent. The one MP who had one a three cornered race, was the future leader Jo Grimond from the Scottish constituency of Orkney and Shetland. 
7  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Forum turnout poll: Will you/Would you vote in the EP elections next month ? on: April 25, 2014, 06:33:11 am
I will definitely vote Liberal Democrat. I have voted Liberal/Lib Dem in every Euro election and I see no reason to stop now.
8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Independence Referendum - 2014 on: April 23, 2014, 09:59:47 am
Quote from njwes
Obviously that's not at all what happened in Ireland, and I'm not familiar with the history there, but I'd imagine the circumstances are so different that any predictions of the SNP's future based on Fianna Fáil's history would be problematic.

The history is indeed different. The SNP has always been a non-violent party. The Irish political system emerged from a War of Independence and a subsequent Civil War between the pro and anti treaty wings of the independence movement. Fianna Fáil were the part of the anti treaty side in the Civil War which, a few years later, took their seats in the democratic legislature of the 26 county state. 

Vote as you shot will not be the principle around which the Scottish political system will be organised.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Independence Referendum - 2014 on: April 21, 2014, 04:33:33 pm
I see no reason why Labour, Liberal Democrats or Conservatives in Scotland would just disappear, if there is a pro-independence majority in the referendum. All of them have and are likely to retain  representation in the Scottish Parliament.

In the longer run there might be a realignment on the centre-right of Scottish politics. Perhaps the Tories could dissolve the existing party and reform as the Scottish Party or some patriotic name like that. One of the Scottish Conservative leadership candidates a while back suggested that sort of approach.
10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Independence Referendum - 2014 on: April 21, 2014, 06:46:29 am
A vote for independence is the start, not the end, of the process of disunion. Various contentious issues would have to be negotiated. When there is an agreement, the Westminster Parliament would have to legislate for the end of the union.

The current devolved Scottish Parliament does not have the legal authority to end the union. Only the Westminster Parliament could do that.
11  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: What would happen after proven Presidential election fraud? on: January 15, 2014, 05:41:38 pm
If Congress had accepted the fraudulently obtained electoral votes and declared the President and Vice President elected because of them, I do not see a constitutional basis to subsequently challenge the result of the election before the Courts. The only remedy would be impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate. If that did not work, then the election would have been successfully stolen, with whatever damage that might cause to the Republic..

I think US courts would decide the whole issue would be a political question, for the political branches of the government to sort out. The power to count the electoral votes is exclusively vested in Congress and there is no constitutional provision allowing Congress to subsequently alter the official result of the election.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: New UK basemaps (2010 and 2015 parliaments) on: January 15, 2014, 07:59:07 am
In the last boundary review, which was closed down before final proposals were produced, the Boundary Commission for England avoided crossing any regional boundaries. This is a policy of the Commission rather than a statutory requirement.

It will be interesting to see if the Commission adopts the same policy for the next review, due to take place during the next Parliament under current law.

13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK - 1970 vs 1974 Boundaries on: January 13, 2014, 02:18:55 pm
The British General Election of February 1974, by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh (The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1974) SBN 333 17297 3, provides more information.

In a statistical appendix, between pages 285 and 307 inclusive, a constituency results table is included. On page 284 some notes explain some of the entries in the table.

In constituencies affected by boundary revision, the increase in turnout, the swing and the increase in the Liberal vote are measured from a recalculation of the 1970 results within the new boundaries. For turnout and the Liberal vote an even distribution was assumed within old constituencies; for the Conservative and Labour votes an estimate was made from local election results for each part of an old constituency going into a different new one. Where the Degree of Identity is 80% or more, these figures can be relied on. In constituencies which were more affected by boundary changes, the notional bases are sometimes uncertain. Swing figures are set in italics in those cases where the uncertainty might involve an error of more than 1%.

Calculations made for the table seems to have similarities to the sort of notional calculations made and published, in more detail, after subsequent boundary changes. However the table does not set out the notional change in individual party votes (except for the Liberal Party).
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK - 1970 vs 1974 Boundaries on: January 13, 2014, 01:34:36 pm
I have not located any notional results, but F.W.S. Craig did compile a book called Boundaries of Parliamentary Constituencies 1885-1972 (Parliamentary Reference Publications, Chichester 1972) ISBN 0 900178 09 4.

In the Introductory Notes (page xi), it is stated "of the constituencies existing at the time of the 1970 election, 325 have had major changes and 90 received minor alterations. The number of seats in the House of Commons has been increased to 635".

The book also indicates which seats were unchanged or subject to minor changes, by a symbol next to the constituency name in Part 3 which gives the boundaries of the seats legally approved in 1971 and as it turned out first used in 1974. The information could be used to reduce the number of seats where notional figures might be needed.
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International What-ifs / Re: Who Would Have Voted For?-British Edition on: January 13, 2014, 09:34:02 am
Is National Progressive a Peelite/Liberal Conservative in the 1830s and 1840s? Clearly not attracted by Lord George Bentinck and Proctectionist Conservatism.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Italy 2014: Waiting for the Election... on: January 08, 2014, 02:55:30 pm
I really do not understand why Italians want a deliberately disproportional electoral system, designed to manufacture an unjustified Parliamentary majority. It almost guarantees that parties supported by the majority of the electorate will be in opposition and the government would have more power than any truly proportional system would give it. I question if such a system can even be defined as democratic.

It is true that majoritarian systems can also produce disproportionate results. However that is not an automatic result of the systems themselves, just a consequence of a particular vote distribution.
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australia 2013 - Results thread on: November 05, 2013, 12:00:02 pm
The Australian legislation seems to give the Court of Disputed Returns a very wide discretion. It can declare a candidate elected or not validly elected or that the election is absolutely void.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is a precedent that some Senators can be validly elected even though another from the same state in the same election had a void election. I do not see why that precedent is not still valid, just because the electoral system now is different from when the precedent was set.

The court has been given an unusually wide discretion in this area, so it may not consider precedent to be as binding as in most areas of law. However, I do see an argument that the court should not declare the election of all six Senators void when certainly three and arguably four of them were indisputably validly elected by the people of Western Australia.

It really comes down to whether the court of disputed returns thinks it appropriate to take account of the likely political consequences of ordering a two seat re-vote (almost certainly electing 1 Labor and 1 Liberal Senator) compared to a six seat re-vote (my guess at the likely result 3 Liberal, 2 Labor and 1 Green/Palmer United/lucky micro party Senator). Either way the result would be different from that if the previous recount had been perfect.
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australia 2013 - Results thread on: October 31, 2013, 07:52:39 am
There seems to be some discussion in Australia about whether the courts might order a re-run of the whole Western Australian Senate election (all 6 seats) or just the 2 seats which are particularly in dispute.

There is a precedent, more than a century ago when the Senate was elected by the block vote system, where the High Court declared the election of one South Australian Senator void. It left the election of the other two Senators from the state in the half Senate election undisturbed. I do not see why that precedent would not apply, even with the current preferential voting system.

Senators whose election would not have been affected by the recount or the missing ballots should not have to face a re-vote. They have been validly elected and the court of disputed returns (in my totally non expert interpretation of Australian law) does not have power to set aside those undisputed returns.

19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK North - South Divide on: October 21, 2013, 07:01:54 am
The observed effect is largely an urban-rural divide. The midlands and north have more urban areas than the south (apart from London). Historic coal mining activity is also more common in the north and midlands, which made some more rural districts more Labour friendly than most less urban areas. The only south eastern English coal mines were in Kent. Superimposed upon the urban-rural divide is a core-periphery division, which has probably grown more pronounced since the 1960s, depressing the Conservative vote somewhat depending upon distance from the capital.

The strongest Conservative region is (and has been since about the mid nineteenth century) the south east. The south west is also distinctive, because Labour is weaker than in the north and midlands, so the Liberals/Liberal Democrats have often benefited from the core-periphery dimension.
20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australia 2013 - Results thread on: September 25, 2013, 02:30:57 pm
There has been a development in the count for the Queensland division of Fisher. The AEC had previously listed the seat as LNP ahead, on the basis of a two party preferred count against the ALP. However the PUP first preference vote, in third place, was not very far behind the ALP vote. Presumably transfers from the other seven candidates have pushed PUP above ALP, so that a full preference count is needed to decide if LNP or PUP have won the seat.

LNP only had 44.46% of the first preference vote, so a victory from the third first preference place might be possible.

21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election 2015 on: May 24, 2013, 04:15:17 pm
Unfortunately after a few weeks in 2010, when there seemed a chance of moving towards proportional representation for the House of Commons, the concrete of the status quo re-solidified. I fear the issue will not be revisited after the next general election.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK local by-elections 2013 on: May 24, 2013, 11:12:22 am
Whitwell Ward by-election result

Mills, Vivienne Patricia (Whitwell Residents Association)   347 (elected)
Raspin, Frank Philip   (Labour Party)                                 256

23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: EP elections 2014 on: May 06, 2013, 05:30:51 pm
The impression I get is that UKIP want to be the most xenophobic nationalist party they can be, without toppling over into totalitarian and neo-nazi or fascist territory. This is not a mindset that will make it easy to build alliances with groups from other European countries.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australia - 14 September 2013 on: May 01, 2013, 06:44:13 am
It seems to be the Anti Green Party, abolishing the carbon tax and promoting mining. The objectives do not say anything obvious about taxation, but presumably a billionaire sponsored party will believe in reducing taxes on the rich.

I suspect the new party will not achieve much.
25  General Discussion / History / Re: Rank the UK Prime Ministers since you were born on: April 28, 2013, 01:56:38 pm
I was born about a month before the end of Winston Churchill's last premiership (in 1955). I started taking a personal interest in politics in about 1967. I can therefore cover a longer period, with a bit more perspective, than some posters.

I seem to value the pre-Thatcher Prime Minister's more highly than the post Thatcher ones. As to Mrs Thatcher herself, I would be interested to see the definitive biography, written in about 50 years by someone not yet born. It is a pity I will not live that long, but presumably some of the younger readers will.

Looking at the Prime Ministers from 1955, they seem to be a fairly mediocre bunch. The only true great was Churchill, but that was for 1940-45. His post war premiership was definitely an underwhelming anti climax.

First the politicians of the post war consensus era.
1. Sir Winston Churchill (1940-45 and 1951-55).
2. James Callaghan (1976-79) (he is perhaps generally undervalued, because he was Prime Minister for a relatively short time, in difficult circumstances).
3. Harold Macmillan (1957-63).
4. Sir Alec Douglas-Home (1963-64) (another short term Prime Minister, who may not be highly regarded but he almost won in 1964 and I rate him more highly than either Heath or Wilson).
5. Harold Wilson (1964-70 and 1974-76).
6. Edward Heath (1970-74). I did not think much of him at the time.
7. Sir Anthony Eden (1955-57). Oh dear - the great foreign policy specialist, done in by a foreign policy disaster (Suez).

Then Thatcher and her heirs.
8. Mrs Thatcher (1979-90). A significant historical figure, but so divisive. I think it was right that British society and economy needed some changes. I am not so sure that the Thatcher changes were the right ones and I am certain that in some respects she went too far.
9. John Major (1990-97).
10. David Cameron (2010-).
11. Tony Blair (1997-2007). He could have been so much more, if he had not thrown away his chance. He did not approve of the most significant achievements of his government (the constitutional changes inherited from his Labour predecessor John Smith - who shares with Hugh Gaitskell the melancholy fate of being a potentially great Prime Minister who died too soon). Instead Blair chased transient headlines and largely pointless administrative "reforms", which will never be more than footnotes in specialist histories. I despair of his foreign policy.
12. Gordon Brown (2007-10). Even more flawed than Blair.
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