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April 18, 2015, 03:48:00 am
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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 17, 2015, 07:15:38 pm
Just to clear this up: the convention is that the Sovereign appoints as Prime Minister the person who is most likely to be able to command the confidence of the House. If there is a majority government, then matters are blissfully simple. If not, the convention is that the previous Prime Minister retains office (effectively as a caretaker) until it becomes clear who that person is. Technically they have the right to tough it out even if their position is hopeless and wait to be voted down by the Commons, but this feels... archaic. There aren't really any rules beyond that, though in practice the largest party has a significant advantage, even if it isn't the incumbent party (see 1974).
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 17, 2015, 06:57:49 pm
To put the Glasgow SW swing into some context, the largest GE swing between Labour and the Tories since 1945 was around 19% - Brent North, 1997.

That's more a case of placing it into a misleading context though: Labour-Tory swings are much lower than between any other combination of parties (one of several reasons why they're more interesting actually). The 'swing' to the Liberals in Southwark & Bermondsey in 1983 was around 36%, for instance (more recently the 'swing' in Brent East in 2005 was 30.6).
3  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Transcendental Democrats - A New Party for a New Era on: April 17, 2015, 12:24:18 pm
We have endorsed Polnut for re-election.
4  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Muslims on refugee boat throw Christians overboard for being non-Muslims on: April 17, 2015, 10:36:42 am
The moral responsibility for their faith would still be on the human traffickers. No country is responsible for saving people in international waters.

This is broadly speaking true. Nevertheless...
5  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Muslims on refugee boat throw Christians overboard for being non-Muslims on: April 17, 2015, 09:20:18 am
It's more that policymakers (particularly at a European level) have decided that the best way to deter African refugees/immigrants is to make less of an effort to rescue them when (as so often happens) the rickety ships they are on sink.
6  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Muslims on refugee boat throw Christians overboard for being non-Muslims on: April 17, 2015, 09:02:30 am
What ag is getting at is that not only are European countries adopting increasingly tight rules on immigration from outside the EU, but (and ultimately this is linked) that funding for rescue missions in the Mediterranean has recently been cut back. We are likely to see many many more accidents and 'accidents' in that sea over the coming decades.
7  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Mad Men is back on: April 16, 2015, 06:02:13 pm
I like how Don's prediction/curse from 1960 is coming true!
8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 16, 2015, 05:37:57 pm
Though it's worth noting that Farage was... off. He lost it a couple of times and even insulted the audience. His closing statement was embarrassing: he was sweating profusingly, breathing heavily and his speech seemed rushed.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 16, 2015, 05:35:05 pm
Nothing else on telly at that hour this time, so I watched it. Not particularly edifying, but then a debate using that format is never going to be. Miliband put in a good solid performance which (from my partisan perspective) is the main thing.
10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 16, 2015, 01:19:02 pm
What does everyone think of the YouGov nowcast - is it actually worth anything, or is it just a bit of fun?

They haven't revealed their methodology in full, so I can't really tell how sensible it is, but without a variety of reliable constituency polls it's hard to do a good 538 style prediction in the UK.  (They're using their own data, but they don't really have enough members in each constituency IMO.)

That said, it seems to look reasonably plausible in most places.

It does seem to be quite vulnerable to outside manipulation though. Sigh.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 16, 2015, 01:07:38 pm
I still don't get why they do that you know.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 16, 2015, 12:47:23 pm
Richard 'Dirty' Desmond, pornographer and media magnate, has donated a £1 million to UKIP. As everyone knows, Desmond owns The Daily Express and The Daily Star and used to own Channel Five.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 16, 2015, 12:30:58 pm
Ipsos MORI phone poll: Lab 35 Con 33 UKIP 10 Green 8 Lib Dem 7.  They were ramping this as "definitely worth watching"...

MORI were the first to whore themselves out in their press releases and are still the worst for it. I presume those headline figures are their usual Certains Only ones? What are the Everyone figures?
14  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Treaty of Versailles? on: April 15, 2015, 01:43:13 pm
Sometimes two seemingly contradictory statements can both be true, you know. It is undeniably true that Versailles was punitive, vindictive and generally rather harsh. It is also undeniably true that such treaties were the norm at the time and that, on the matter of territory at least,* The Treaty of Versailles was notable for its moderation (we can, for instance, be absolutely sure that if the Central Powers had won the war the territorial demands of Germany et al would have been considerably more excessive). The Reparations are a different matter, and that is where the historical controversy lies. There have been attempts to defend the policy in recent decades, but I personally disagree; it was stupid and short-sighted even if the motivation behind it was perhaps understandable and even if it is absurd to argue Reparations ---> Hitler as though nothing else happened between 1919 and 1933.

*Germany lost Elsaß-Lothringen (which was a smaller territory than you'd think from the name; although it included all Alsace but Belfort, it only included about a quarter of Lorraine: the present day department of the Moselle) which was valuable but had only been annexed in 1871 anyway, Posen (a large and not terribly important agricultural province that was majority Polish), the Polish-speaking parts of Upper Silesia (economically valuable, but Germany was hardly short of heavy industry), northern Schleswig (Danish farmers ffs), Eupen-Malmedy (literally a couple of hick parishes), Memelland (ibid), and some additional small scraps of land on the new Polish border (notably the 'Polish Corridor') which at the time (the port of Gdynia not having been built) had no value other than - from a Polish perspective - strategic. To argue that this was onerous by the standards of the time is difficult. It is, in fact, hard to make a case against most of those territorial changes. More questionable would be the hiving off of the Saarland and Danzig as quasi-independent statelets (so that the French could exploit the Saar's collieries - reparations again - and that the Poles would have access to a proper port), though (again) these were rather small territories. There's also the matter of the loss of practical sovereignty over Rhineland which is hard to defend, sure. Oh, and Germany also lost its (actually pretty worthless) colonies, though I'd be very surprised if anyone here were to kick up a fuss about that...
15  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Treaty of Versailles? on: April 15, 2015, 12:57:06 pm
Fun fact: Germany's economic arms-industry driven economic recovery under the Nazis was literally the result of an admittedly very clever scam.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 15, 2015, 12:49:24 pm
Another YouGov Wales poll: Labour 40, Con 23, UKIP 13, Plaid 12, LDem 6, Greens 4

Insert the usual remarks.
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 15, 2015, 11:27:22 am
Regarding the earlier discussion; I'm not convinced that UKIP actually need (and I suspect would not in any case want) a calmer leader less prone to publicity stunts and metaphorical firebombs. Remember that this is a party without a loyal electorate or a firm social base that thrives (on those occasions when it thrives) on grumbles and discontent...
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 15, 2015, 11:15:22 am
Remembering the one of Hornsey & Wood Green they put out a while ago then it is almost certainly a push poll and should be ignored.
19  General Politics / Individual Politics / Opinion of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk? on: April 14, 2015, 07:41:31 pm
Here's a wiki overview for those who aren't familiar.
20  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: FREE POIROT on: April 14, 2015, 05:31:06 pm
I'm pretty sure that arresting people and then releasing them without charge (for instance if there is no case to answer or no serious chance of a conviction) is perfectly constitutional.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election - May 7th 2015 (The Official Campaign Thread) on: April 14, 2015, 05:20:40 pm
Tonights YouGov: Labour 35, Con 33, UKIP 13, LDem 8, Greens 5
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: CA: Gov. Brown orders mandatory water restrictions (25% reduction statewide) on: April 14, 2015, 02:58:24 pm
Not particularly (current rates of meat consumption are historically abnormal after all), though it would require lifestyle changes and that's not easy to induce. It would certainly be useful to make a distinction between 'reduction of meat consumption' and 'forcible vegetarianism'...

But I don't think we should lose sight of the simple and very inconient fact that, agriculture schmagriculture, California (and the entire South West actually) is overpopulated and that not only is it overpopulated but (and actually more importantly) its population largely lives lifestyles that are... um... more appropriate to temperate climates. And I don't just mean lawn sprinklers.
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: CA: Gov. Brown orders mandatory water restrictions (25% reduction statewide) on: April 14, 2015, 02:41:29 pm
Why not just ban all agriculture in the state? Problem solved!
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: CA: Gov. Brown orders mandatory water restrictions (25% reduction statewide) on: April 14, 2015, 02:37:21 pm
Just for information's sake, almonds were California's second highest valued ag commodity for 2013 at $5.8 billion. Only milk, at $7.6 billion, was more lucrative.

And California actually produces a majority (in most years an overwhelming majority) of the world's almonds. The wholesale price of almonds is rocketing, incidentally.
25  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Office of Governor Simfan34 - A Victory in Our Fight For Order! on: April 14, 2015, 01:54:28 pm
This seems like a reasonable and proportionate response to a genuine public health emergency.
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