What went wrong, when and how?

It is three years since the 2019 General Election, and everything is rubbish. October saw record strikes going back to 2010. Public services are under horrible strain (see Stephen’s piece), and winter has barely begun. You can understand the strikes: private sector pay growth of 7% – still well below inflation – hugely outstrips thatContinue reading “What went wrong, when and how?”

Is there any alternative?

There is a black hole, we are told. A yawning one, that needs to be filled in, oooh, around 10 days from now, or we face some unmentionable doom. Fortunately, after a brief flirtation with Rule by Crazy Libertarian, the grownups are back, prepared to take tough-but-necessary actions such as (checks notes) raise income taxContinue reading “Is there any alternative?”

There are far worse crimes than being smug

I try to avoid the Sunday press. From its echoes on Twitter, it appears to be a troll-fest through which innocents like me are unpleasantly reminded of the existence of columnists we’d thought had gone to pasture years ago.  And even the thoughtful ones, like Matthew Syed, feel an extra urge to be provocative onContinue reading “There are far worse crimes than being smug”

What the betting markets are saying …. It’s complicated

I am pathologically fascinated by political probabilities, and have been for easily 20 years: my first big speculative win in life was to “buy” Labour seats in the 1997 General Election at around 350, and I have been hooked every since. Here are some of the current odds. A meaningful vote to pass in 2019 Continue reading “What the betting markets are saying …. It’s complicated”

The defeat of the Treasury must not be final

For most advisers toiling within government, the standard daily routine is simple: “wake up/go to work/try to do things/get told you can’t by the Treasury/grumble a lot/go home”. OK, I exaggerate: there is the whole maddening business of government by collective agreement to wade through. This means that any other department, from the mighty HomeContinue reading “The defeat of the Treasury must not be final”

The vast, unknowable potential of tactical voting

TL;DR summary: if you adjust the uniform swing so that voting patterns reflect echoes of past Labour or LibDem strength, the predicted Tory majority vanishes. If you add onto this a measure of tactical voting, their seat share might fall by dozens of seats more.  But detecting whether this is realistic is very, very hard. Continue reading “The vast, unknowable potential of tactical voting”

Conventional wisdom comes good, with a time fuse

I’ve had this thought for a while, and wanted to get it down in case it proves to be an enduring one.  We have seen recently – by which I mean, since I have been paying attention – a number of sharp examples of the conventional wisdom being overthrown. By this, I mean suggestions orContinue reading “Conventional wisdom comes good, with a time fuse”

Some recent polling implications

Wild recent polling produces wild results The columnists had a lovely job this week: the Johnson government in unprecedented meltdown (seemingly owned by the opposition, in possession of a minus-43 majority, a heated debate about what kind of prison food the former PM might expect, etc etc) and yet a swarm of polls suggesting thingsContinue reading “Some recent polling implications”

The way Lib Dems vote could take an extra 40 seats off the Tories

Of the many ways First Past the Post fails as a voting system, the way it punishes a split opposition is the most enduring. To recap: recent Tory polling leads, on a uniform swing, would see the Conservatives returned with a governing majority – quite a hefty one, if the Brexit Party disarms.  But suchContinue reading “The way Lib Dems vote could take an extra 40 seats off the Tories”

Could the voting system be “cruel” to the Tories?

The rumours are of a general election, and the polls bad for the anti-No Deal side. Since the new administration took power, there has been a somewhat-predictable bump in Conservative support, with some polls showing CON ~32 LAB ~ 25, the BXP and LD jostling together in the low- and high-teens. You hardly need myContinue reading “Could the voting system be “cruel” to the Tories?”