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?”

Burke, and being against “the coercive authority of such instructions”

When I first heard the words “MPs don’t get to choose which votes to respect” (repeated loyally by the PM and Party Chairman) my first thought was that someone is going to mention Burke.  No doubt many of you had that same thought.  And Sunder Katwala had it first and best, and wrote a splendidContinue reading “Burke, and being against “the coercive authority of such instructions””

Ian Mulheirn says UK housing is not a supply problem. No one can prove him wrong

Around three years ago in some bistro in Soho, Ian Mulheirn startled a tableful of economists going at their cassoulet with the bland statement: “Housing? It is not a supply problem”. To call this heresy is melodramatic. We just thought he was winding us up. To question the mantra “just build more houses already” feltContinue reading “Ian Mulheirn says UK housing is not a supply problem. No one can prove him wrong”

Time for macro economics to get political once more

A former No10 colleague asked me recently: is there a definitive guide out there to how monetary and fiscal policy work together? What determines incomes?    What made his questions remarkable were both how fundamental they were, and yet how distant from the day job when we had worked together in Downing Street. Politicians doContinue reading “Time for macro economics to get political once more”

What is your problem, it is only two quid!

There are plenty of rubbish jobs, but surely none as daunting as the Treasury official tasked with telling a desperate new government what is bad value for money. Bless these people with their negative ways, for they are the bulwark between us and a land festooned with Spad-designed roads, science parks without scientists, 5G testbedsContinue reading “What is your problem, it is only two quid!”

The voting system drives our politicians mad

After the first big Brexit Postponement, the Euro elections and all that excitement, the day job in No10 became somewhat dull. There are limits to what an administration that is definitely, unavoidably, finished can do (for another blog). Life was dull, unlike the polls, and so with some extra hours on my hands I decidedContinue reading “The voting system drives our politicians mad”

Freethinking Economist

Economic advice. No longer special.