The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

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The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:16 pm

About time for one of these I think. Didn't we have quite a lot of stuff about the last one? There was a lot of optimism about the Lib Dems at the time (I was guilty myself) and I know that didn't work out too great, all things considered, but hey ho, let's have another go.

Although I've only been eligible to vote since 1989, I've voted in every one since and whilst I know it's hardly a worthwhile sample, this is easily the most exciting election that I can remember. And I get excited by elections even when they're predictable. I stayed up until about three in the morning watching the 1987 election results come in and I couldn't even vote then!

But this one, this one, I genuinely have no idea what's going to happen. OK, I do know to a point, in that - unless something very weird goes on or is revealed in the next five weeks - it's certain that there'll be a hung parliament. But beyond that, what happens? The possibilities are endless.

Current polling is up and down but broadly speaking puts support for Labour and Conservative as so near equal as makes no difference, and insufficient for either to form a majority government. Bookies differ...slightly...in that they seem to be (currently: Sunday 29/03/15) favouring the Conservatives over Labour by about 12-20 seats, depending where you look. Gevin made an excellent point in an earlier discussion about bookies being wrong less than pollsters, and I would agree, but the difference here isn't really significant, as even if the bookies were 100% right, it would still be a hung parliament.

So then what?

My instinct following the last election was that the Lib Dems would have literally no support in this election following their bedfellowship with the Tories. There were a lot of bitterness and I'm frankly amazed to see them still in the polls, albeit pootling along in single figures. They've got 57 seats now and to be realistic, 20 would be a decent target this time round. 25 maybe.

UKIP, despite their prominence in the media aren't a big a deal as they think they are. 10 seats maximum, 4 or 5 more likely.

Barring something very weird, the Greens will get either (1) 0 seats or (2) 1 seat.

I think the only "known" is that the SNP are going to make major gains in Scotland. They've currently only got 6 seats, but even the most pessimistic polls have them at least 25 after the election. I think that's a very conservative estimate, though. The defeat of the independence referendum has changed everything and for the voters of Scotland, the choice is really just SNP or "other". I think somewhere between 45 and 50 is a much more realistic target for the SNP.

Given the above, which I think is pretty much the way elections have worked for a while (since the FPTP system and two dominant parties, certainly), then the logical outcomes must be:

1. Labour and the SNP get it on. I know Ed doesn't want to play with Nicola but she seems keen and it does seem the most likely outcome. Labour stopped even giving lip service to socialism somewhere back in the mid-1990s and have been drifting to the right ever since. But they'll always have the self-flagellating voters who have voted Labour all their life and to do anything else would turn them all funny, even though they know it's all wrong and it's been all wrong for a while now. SNP on the other hand, are quite progressively socially conscious, even if they have no idea where to get the money from in order to do all the things they want to do, but hey, no-one's perfect, one party could temper the other, I can see this working. Until it all goes wrong, but everything goes wrong in the end, doesn't it?

2. The Conservatives, UKIP and the remnants of the Lib Dems cobble something together. This sounds like a fucking nightmare but probably wouldn't be a great deal different to what we have now. Bit more racist maybe.

3. Something else.

Well, that's something to start with.



* I was going to just call this thread "2015 General Election" but you never know, depending on events, could be a bit ambiguous, so went specific.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:23 pm

I'm glad you started this thread. This isn't much of a contribution, but I will be back. Hopefully Rhys will contribute too, and we'll be able to de-Torify him.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Mark James » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:10 am

I've always wanted to know the opinions of the people on this forum, considering how thoughtful and considerate most arguments and contributions have been put forth previously on all manner of discussions here, on the concept of anarcho capitalism. I've had some lenghty online discussions about it on other forums and while I find it as pie in the sky utopianist as a resource based economy (which is almost an exact opposite model) I find it hard to argue against their free market ideals. I have many arguments against a wholly free market economy and I have a certain degree of faith in democracy despite its obvious short comings but essentially the argument boils down to the fact that we don't have one and that if it actually worked we would do (similar to the argument against a resource based economy too, I don't believe in the conspiracy theory nonsense that we don't have one because "They" don't want it). But am I placing too much faith in the current system? Basically, on a personal level, I'd be in favour of less government but I can't see how no government and a totally anarchic free market would work despite the fact that I find it hard to argue against the anarcho capitalist's arguments. I reckon people here would have more knowledge, particularly statistically, that could explain why the model would or wouldn't work and I'd love to hear it. Cheers.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Ian Volante » Mon Mar 30, 2015 12:31 pm

Outside chance of Lib Dems being kingmakers if they do better than expected. However, most likely that SNP will play this role on the left as Labour will hold their collective noses to keep out any grouping the Tories could put together. Lib Dems likely to come in to form the majority. Maybe then Labour would pull their fingers out and actually change the voting system this time rather than believing that their urban supremacy is enough to ignore such things.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:46 pm

Mark James wrote:I've always wanted to know the opinions of the people on this forum, considering how thoughtful and considerate most arguments and contributions have been put forth previously on all manner of discussions here, on the concept of anarcho capitalism. I've had some lenghty online discussions about it on other forums and while I find it as pie in the sky utopianist as a resource based economy (which is almost an exact opposite model) I find it hard to argue against their free market ideals. I have many arguments against a wholly free market economy and I have a certain degree of faith in democracy despite its obvious short comings but essentially the argument boils down to the fact that we don't have one and that if it actually worked we would do (similar to the argument against a resource based economy too, I don't believe in the conspiracy theory nonsense that we don't have one because "They" don't want it). But am I placing too much faith in the current system? Basically, on a personal level, I'd be in favour of less government but I can't see how no government and a totally anarchic free market would work despite the fact that I find it hard to argue against the anarcho capitalist's arguments. I reckon people here would have more knowledge, particularly statistically, that could explain why the model would or wouldn't work and I'd love to hear it. Cheers.
Isn't this more or less the current Conservative position - shrink the state, sell off the assets, let the markets provide - taken to an even more insane extreme? Thatcher's selling-off of the energy industry in the 1980s has led to a situation in which a small cartel of very rich private companies can now charge us what they like for gas and electricity; there is no meaningful competition in that market at all. And because the state can't intervene, the fucking idiot voters (us) have no leverage to change things. Anarcho-capitalism just seems like more of this.

I might have completely misunderstood the concept, though.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:59 pm

Ian Volante wrote:Outside chance of Lib Dems being kingmakers if they do better than expected. However, most likely that SNP will play this role on the left as Labour will hold their collective noses to keep out any grouping the Tories could put together. Lib Dems likely to come in to form the majority. Maybe then Labour would pull their fingers out and actually change the voting system this time rather than believing that their urban supremacy is enough to ignore such things.
I've actually thought of an even more insidiously horrible situation. Imagine this result, however unlikely it may seem:

Conservatives 210
Labour 210
UKIP 75
SNP 50
Lib Dem 40
Green 30
Plaid 10
Others 25

In that situation, I could see a Conservative-Labour pact purely to preserve the first past the post system.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Ian Volante » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:27 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Ian Volante wrote:Outside chance of Lib Dems being kingmakers if they do better than expected. However, most likely that SNP will play this role on the left as Labour will hold their collective noses to keep out any grouping the Tories could put together. Lib Dems likely to come in to form the majority. Maybe then Labour would pull their fingers out and actually change the voting system this time rather than believing that their urban supremacy is enough to ignore such things.
I've actually thought of an even more insidiously horrible situation. Imagine this result, however unlikely it may seem:

Conservatives 210
Labour 210
UKIP 75
SNP 50
Lib Dem 40
Green 30
Plaid 10
Others 25

In that situation, I could see a Conservative-Labour pact purely to preserve the first past the post system.
Hmm, I wouldn't be surprised to see a LabSNPLibGreen coalition in that situation.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:58 pm

I've just been on Betfair to look at odds of who is going to "win" the election. Obviously it depends on what counts as a win, but if you look at the odds of who is going to be the Prime Minister after the election (probably the best measure of who wins rather than looking at outright majority or even which party has the most seats), then David Cameron is 1.8 to back and 1.87 to lay, whereas Ed Miliband is 2.22 to back and 2.34 to lay. In English, this puts Cameron at between 53.5% and 55.6% and Miliband at between 42.7% and 45.0%. So it's close but unfortunately the Tories are the favourites.

It's interesting that you call this exciting, Jim. I suppose I could see it that way, but this is more than a sporting contest and I see it as more scary. I'm genuinely scared we could have another five years of David Cameron.

I agree with you on Labour though. They're not really left wing. I would say that, in general, parties are more right wing than they appear to be at first glance. The Conservatives and Labour are too big and powerful to really have principles anyway. They are really just two brands trying to win the biggest market share. And as any ice cream seller knows, two rival sellers are best off parking their stalls right next to each other in the middle of the beach. Except in this case, it's not really the middle, because when you take into account where all the funding comes from, and also the predominantly right wing press, everything shifts to the right.

But to cut a long story short, of Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, UKIP and the Greens, the only party there with any real integrity is the Green Party. And on that Natalie Bennett interview, yes she fucked up, but actually not having the information to hand isn't that bad a crime. If you see any interview with a "major" politician, they come out of it looking "good", not because they are able to answer the questions well, but because they bullshit their way out of it and answer their own questions instead. If Natalie Bennett had done that, would that make the Greens a more respectable party?

But I can't finish this post without commenting on the voting system. We have a really stupid voting system that can only barely be described as democratic. People are encouraged to vote Tory or Labour because they're the only ones that can win. But then if we do vote for them, then they can use this as evidence that the voting system is fine because it isn't as bad when there are just two main parties.

But actually, this isn't going to work for much longer. The simple fact is that fewer and fewer people vote for the two main parties. We had a hung parliament in 2010 and it's heading that way this year as well. Let's not pretend this is a coincidence. It's the way things are going. It's likely to happen next time and the time after as well.

First Past the Post gives a very undemocratic distribution of MPs. It's saving grace is supposed to be that it gives a strong government (it's debateable as to whether this is actually a good thing by the way), but it no longer does this anyway. So if we're going to get a hung parliament on a regular basis anyway, let's have a hung parliament where the distribution of MPs properly represents the people.

But anyway, I would encourage people to vote for whichever candidate they most want to get elected, not just their favourite of the two frontrunners. You might consider this to be wasting your vote, but taking it literally, unless it's a draw or there's only one vote in it, your vote won't matter anyway. But it's not just about winning. People note the results. The more people that vote against Tory and Labour the more obvious it will be that First Past the Post is failing us. Your vote can do more than decide this election. It can send a message about what you want and it can make a difference in the future. The fewer people that vote for Tory and Labour, the sooner we'll be rid of First Past the Post.

Oh and one last thing - the main worry of having a Conservative government is the growing inequality in this country. The welfare cuts and the further planned welfare cuts are ridiculous. Poorer people die younger, they are more likely to die in the winter because they can't afford to heat their homes, and they're more likely to commit suicide. This isn't some theoretical debate about abstract political opinions. It's about people's lives. And I know it's a cliché, but the Tories really are the nasty party, and the sooner people realise this the better.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Mark James » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:03 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Mark James wrote:I've always wanted to know the opinions of the people on this forum, considering how thoughtful and considerate most arguments and contributions have been put forth previously on all manner of discussions here, on the concept of anarcho capitalism. I've had some lenghty online discussions about it on other forums and while I find it as pie in the sky utopianist as a resource based economy (which is almost an exact opposite model) I find it hard to argue against their free market ideals. I have many arguments against a wholly free market economy and I have a certain degree of faith in democracy despite its obvious short comings but essentially the argument boils down to the fact that we don't have one and that if it actually worked we would do (similar to the argument against a resource based economy too, I don't believe in the conspiracy theory nonsense that we don't have one because "They" don't want it). But am I placing too much faith in the current system? Basically, on a personal level, I'd be in favour of less government but I can't see how no government and a totally anarchic free market would work despite the fact that I find it hard to argue against the anarcho capitalist's arguments. I reckon people here would have more knowledge, particularly statistically, that could explain why the model would or wouldn't work and I'd love to hear it. Cheers.
Isn't this more or less the current Conservative position - shrink the state, sell off the assets, let the markets provide - taken to an even more insane extreme? Thatcher's selling-off of the energy industry in the 1980s has led to a situation in which a small cartel of very rich private companies can now charge us what they like for gas and electricity; there is no meaningful competition in that market at all. And because the state can't intervene, the fucking idiot voters (us) have no leverage to change things. Anarcho-capitalism just seems like more of this.

I might have completely misunderstood the concept, though.
Not far off Jim. At it's most basic level though Anarcho capitalism is based around the NAP, the non aggression principle. They see the State as an aggressor and that taxation is theft. It's hard to argue against them at times because they simplify things and boil everything down to a moral argument. If you support the State you support violence, stuff like that. I probably should have put my post in another thread though as it's not really about this election so sorry about that.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:25 pm

Seriously torn about this election. I find politics utterly fascinating - it's like following a ridiculous reality TV show - but only when divorced from the reality of what it means for me, my friends and my age-group more generally. As such I'll probably all-nighter the election night coverage and end up getting really angry/frustrated/upset with whatever the end result is (I don't think anything good will come of the next government). It's a total morbid fascination.

Not really sure how the Tories would get into power really unless there's a significant swing back to them (I know there tends to be a late surge for the incumbents, but how big is this likely to be?), unless the Lib Dems are willing to back them. I don't get the impression this is the case though, given that they've started slamming the Tories at every opportunity and their part in the coalition will probably lose them at least half their seats. Still reckon they'll retain around 20 MPs in areas where the MP is a strong presence within their constituency, but can definitely see Clegg losing his seat and I assume he'd quit after this election in any case, certainly as head of the party. I imagine the most seats UKIP will get is around 10, although they're predicted to poll 2nd in LOADS of constituencies; they'll easily be the biggest losers of FPTP. Supposedly the Tories are courting the DUP to back them in a hung parliament which could be a bit dodgy. In any case they'd still be reliant on the Lib Dems to join them in coalition and (probably) take them up to a majority. A four-party coalition seems a bit silly though.

Labour/SNP agreement seems much more sensible, although the SNP aren't going to make many friends bragging about how they want £180 billion in funding for Scotland in return for supporting them. Other than that I quite like the SNP - love the way they've galvanised the electorate during and since the referendum, especially young voters, and they seem to have been competent in their governance of Scotland including underspending their annual budget by millions last year (some reports said £444 mil but I've linked to the most conservative estimate). Only thing is that if they got their way in a pact with Labour and it went tits-up, it would (gulp) probably pave the way for Tory domination of much longer than 10 years. I don't like or support Labour, but when forced to pick my poison I'd take them over the Tories.

Gev, I genuinely would vote for you if I lived in your constituency - I agree with you on more things than I do with any party. As it is I'm going to vote Green, not because I agree with most of their policies - the economics seem shoddy, the benefits of their long-term aim for citizens' income are dubious and so are their scientific policies - but because if they had any sort of say in government they might be able to rein the biggest party back from the right a bit. Plus they're more youth-oriented, and we don't really have a say in government at the moment because the main parties are too busy rimming old people and homeowners, so youth voters don't vote because there's nothing for them to vote for, so the main parties keep rimming old people and homeowners... It's a vicious circle. My vote doesn't mean any fraction of a fuck though because I live in a super-safe Tory seat, so this is all completely beside the point :( #TeamProportionalRepresentation
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Ian Volante » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:50 pm

Aye the SNP are interesting. A rainbow coalition within one party, who've been held together remarkably well over the last few years. And as a civil servant under their charge, I see that they do generally have a refreshing focus on evidence-based policy. I do expect some tensions to emerge within their ranks over the course of the next parliament, especially if they end up supporting a UK government in some way, but not terminally at all. There's still little decent opposition up here, although that might start to change after the 2016 election. The Greens have also emerged with a lot of credit here, but that won't translate at a UK level, but they should (greatly?) increase their presence in Holyrood next year, I can see them challenging to be third party behind Labour even, although they'll probably be on a par with the Lib Dems at best. Anyway, I digress. If nothing else, it would be great to see the campaigning on the basis of fear fail miserably in a few weeks. We shall see...
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Mar 31, 2015 3:41 pm

Mark James wrote:Not far off Jim. At it's most basic level though Anarcho capitalism is based around the NAP, the non aggression principle. They see the State as an aggressor and that taxation is theft. It's hard to argue against them at times because they simplify things and boil everything down to a moral argument. If you support the State you support violence, stuff like that. I probably should have put my post in another thread though as it's not really about this election so sorry about that.
On the taxation is theft thing - one could equally argue that property is theft. Why should this bit of land belong to a particular individual?

Also, money is not really a resource itself; it's just tokens for resources. And given that the Earth's resources don't really intrinsically belong to anyone, I don't really see it as theft.

If back in the past, one person claimed all the land for themselves and it was always handed down to his eldest son, would it be theft if other people started getting annoyed with this centuries later and tried to claim it back for the people?

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:13 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:We have a really stupid voting system that can only barely be described as democratic. People are encouraged to vote Tory or Labour because they're the only ones that can win. But then if we do vote for them, then they can use this as evidence that the voting system is fine because it isn't as bad when there are just two main parties.
Gavin Chipper wrote:But anyway, I would encourage people to vote for whichever candidate they most want to get elected, not just their favourite of the two frontrunners.
Couldn't agree more, it's only two days into the free-wheeling farrago of fuckery (politicians call it "campaigning") and already both Cameron and Milliband have used the gambit (i.e. "it's either him or me"). The arrogance is just shocking and it shows utter contempt for the electorate from both of them.

Imagine if all the Labour voters who really want to vote Green actually did vote Green, and all the Conservative voters who really want to vote UKIP actually did vote UKIP? Say it happened to such an extent that Labour and the Tories lose so many MPs that they're no longer the Big Two parties and instead are broadly on the same footing as UKIP, the Greens and the SNP? After some behind the scenes shenanigans to ensure that either Labour or the Conservatives remain the majority party in whatever fucked-up arrangement ensues, electoral reform would suddenly be back on the agenda, I reckon. It would be a bit weird, because all the parties would be supporting changing to a "one person one vote" system and there'd be no official opposition; the only people voting against would be people who genuinely think that FPTP is a good system, and there can't be many of them. There'd be debates where all the participating parties would agree with one another, it would be excellently comical.

Sorry, I was dreaming there, I should have put it in italics or something.

But I'm semi-serious, unless a similarly shocking shift happens, self-interest ensures that both Labour and Conservative will continue to promote this fucking farcical voting system that compels people to not "waste" their vote by voting against the Big Two. It's a fucking joke.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:11 am

Who watched the debate tonight then? I thought it was quite interesting. Green/Plaid Cymru/SNP made Labour look like a right or at least centre-right party, and I thought those three generally performed the best. Maybe it was a bit easier for them as they weren't under so much direct attack but I'd say the lefties won, Farage lost (he was badly exposed I thought), and Miliband looked better than Cameron. Clegg was probably between Miliband and Cameron. I'd give it to Natalie Bennett overall because although she came across as a bit nervous, her views were less parochial than SNP/Plaid and she did pick up Sturgeon quite well at one point about the EU being not just an economic thing, but about human beings (something like that anyway).

I looked at some of the polling afterwards here and, well I'll quote:
A YouGov poll of 1,100 people gave a clear victory to the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, with 28%, followed by UKIP leader Nigel Farage on 20%, Mr Cameron on 18%, Mr Miliband on 15%, Mr Clegg on 10%, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett on 5% and Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood on 4%.
It goes to show it's not really based just on performance on the night. In particular Sturgeon and Wood were almost identical and yet they have completely different results. Prior support counts for a lot. Wales is smaller than Scotland, and SNP have more total support than Plaid Cymru. Also it's a vote-for-one poll, so it's not necessarily a good indicator.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:10 am

I think the women came off best in the debate
Farrage was the most honest, even if he spouts a lot of crap
The least said about Clegg the better
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:35 am

Marc Meakin wrote:I think the women came off best in the debate
Farrage was the most honest, even if he spouts a lot of crap
The least said about Clegg the better
This whole thing about Farage being the most honest and real is bollocks. He has a speaking style that convinces people. But that's all it is. A speaking style.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:52 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:Maybe it was a bit easier for them as they weren't under so much direct attack
Yeah, agreed. Probably also the reason why Clegg bossed the 2010 debates.
Gavin Chipper wrote:she did pick up Sturgeon quite well at one point about the EU being not just an economic thing, but about human beings (something like that anyway).
That was a good point, unfortunately empathy isn't an electable quality (especially not during austerity).
Gavin Chipper wrote:...poll stuff... It goes to show it's not really based just on performance on the night. In particular Sturgeon and Wood were almost identical and yet they have completely different results.
Hmm, I'm not sure about that. It seemed like Wood was just echoing/supporting Sturgeon on a lot of points (fair, they want similar things) and was a less polished, direct speaker. She still did alright - liked the bit where she had a go at Farage for the HIV thing (which was pretty awful) - but Sturgeon just seemed more involved and therefore more impressive. Don't forget though that this is only one poll - others have Miliband winning, Miliband and Cameron tied, and Miliband/Cameron/Farage tied (with Sturgeon one percent behind all three).

I thought Sturgeon did best overall, Wood and Bennett both did alright (although it's a real shame Caroline Lucas isn't head of the Greens; she's far more charismatic and would have made more impact), Clegg was ok although the bit where he was having a go at Miliband to apologise for "ruining the economy" was just embarrassing and the apprenticeships he kept going on about were obviously meant to sweep tuition fees under the carpet, Miliband and Cameron both seemed a bit lacklustre. Miliband's stare at the camera was a bit unnerving and crowbarring in zero hours contracts in the immigration question was massively forced, Cameron seemed rattled (although his evils at Clegg were hilarious) and while he talks well, he doesn't say anything worth listening to. As for Farage, he probably came across as honest if you think immigrants are the sole root of every problem. If you don't, he just came across like a broken record playing with buffoonish outrage. This debate isn't going to change anything though.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Adam Gillard » Fri Apr 03, 2015 2:33 pm

JimBentley wrote:free-wheeling farrago of fuckery (politicians call it "campaigning")
His friends call him "Nige".
Gavin Chipper wrote:Who watched the debate tonight then? I thought it was quite interesting.
I watched most of the debate last night. I thought it was a good format and the arbitrator did a good job. I think it's a measure of UKIP's prominence now that immigration was on the roster when there were only a handful of issues being talked about, as I don't rate that as anywhere near the top 5 umbrella issues / key policy areas for the UK.
Jennifer Steadman wrote:This debate isn't going to change anything though.
I feel better informed than before the debate; I'd rather watch a 2-hour debate than spend days trawling through policy statements from each party. Having said that, not all of these will be running for election in my constituency, obviously.

These were my thoughts about each of the leaders (some of them are superficial observations):

SNP - Nicola Sturgeon: Generally put herself across well and made sense, except on the economy, where she said we would save money by spending more, as opposed to the others who said we would save money by spending less (this makes more sense to my mind). She came across as more in tune with the rest of the UK than Leanne Wood, though understandably she was looking out for Scottish interests first and foremost. Spoke out of turn unnecessarily a couple of times.

UKIP - Nigel Farage:
Jennifer Steadman wrote:he probably came across as honest if you think immigrants are the sole root of every problem.
Agree with Jen's sentiment here. Everything came back to the EU and immigration, and he got a bit shouty / repetitive at times when it wasn't his turn to speak. Some of his diatribe was truly abhorrent, and his counter-argument to the other leaders who pointed out that his views are bigoted was just to make a bemused face.

Conservatives - David Cameron: Liked when he eventually made the obvious response to Clegg's attacks "dude, we've been bedfellows for five years and now you're acting like you don't know me" (paraphrasing). Felt that Clegg and Miliband's attacks were insubstantial; the best fact-based rebuttals of Tory policy based on the past 5 years actually came from the smaller parties, particularly Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood, but I think the same arguments would have had more gravitas coming from Ed Miliband (as the Leader of the Opposition), so Labour missed a trick there and Cameron had a relatively easy night, and even got away with a quick jab at Miliband that Labour MPs have employees on zero-hour contracts. Not as negative a campaigner as Miliband or Clegg, but still too negative for my liking. Miliband made a good point that Cameron spent a lot of time examining the past rather than describing future policies. He didn't really answer the question about how the Conservatives would safeguard a positive future for young people (rather he returned to tenuously related points from earlier in the debate), and I found that unnerving as a Young Person.

Labour - Ed Miliband:
Jennifer Steadman wrote:Miliband's stare at the camera was a bit unnerving
Yes I noticed that too and was similarly unnerved. He came across as the most heavily negative campaigner, by which I mean pointing out the flaws of other parties / policies rather than the positives of his own party / policies. He actually seemed happy to admit past flaws of the Labour Party as well, which came across as honest but pretty meh in terms of the context of a leaders' debate. I didn't feel like I learnt much about Labour's policies apart from the economy and the NHS (which was really a subcategory of what they plan to do with the economy). His closing statement was cringey and sounded like a primary school English assignment "If you were Prime Minister, what would you do? Be sure to start every sentence with "If I'm Prime Minister"". Also, what was with the blue tie?

Liberal Democrats - Nick Clegg: Agreed with a lot of what he said, but feel like he would say "the Lib Dems are in favour of soft cuddly puppies" if he thought that would win over the hearts and minds of voters (it probably would). Or he would choose the middle ground between Cameron and Miliband (as he did on the economy) as a safe bet. So I feel like I agreed with a lot of what he said because he chose a standing point where it was difficult not to agree, rather than it was necessarily a well-thought-out policy, or what the Lib Dems stand for with every fibre of their being.

He seemed pretty non-repentant on breaking promises from the last election (regarding tuition fees); rather he blamed it on the austerity measures brought in during the current parliament - in which he has been serving as Deputy Prime Minister. The rent-to-own scheme sounded good, but I don't have faith that he would follow through on any promises now. Kudos for taking the obvious shot at Farage for marrying a foreigner though.

Green - Natalie Bennett:

Again difficult to disagree with most of her policies, as the gist of it that I got was "be nice to people and to the environment". She seemed to waste a lot of her time on definitions of the areas being discussed rather than her policies, which only left enough time for one-liners like "spend money on poor starving children instead of nuclear weapons".

The short-term fear that voting for one of the smaller parties means one of the larger parties you don't want will get in outweighs the long-term hope that votes for smaller parties will force the larger parties into electoral reform. So I sympathise with the "don't vote for [Small Party], this only means [Big Party] will get in, and no-one wants that! Instead vote for [Even Bigger Party] to stop [Big Party] getting in" sentiment.

Plaid Cymru - Leanne Wood:
Jennifer Steadman wrote:liked the bit where she had a go at Farage for the HIV thing (which was pretty awful)
I agree with Jen. I think (well, I hope at least) that any of the other leaders would have done what Leanne Wood did as she was next to talk, but she dealt with it very well and put Nigel in his place. Some sensible and well-thought out policies but the overriding feeling for me was that I couldn't care less because she's only looking out for Wales and I'm not Welsh.

Audience - Shouty Woman: She came across as genuinely concerned about the plight of those returning from the armed forces, but it was wholly inappropriate to disrupt the debate like that and I don't think she will have won her party much support through her tawdry behaviour.

On a different note, Jen's picture scares me. Anyone else?
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Apr 03, 2015 2:55 pm

I think this election will be fought on the basis of Bedroom tax versus mansion tax.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Ian Volante » Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:16 pm

Adam Gillard wrote: On a different note, Jen's picture scares me. Anyone else?
I recently spotted that it's a rip from a Taylor Swift video. I never would have suspected.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:13 pm

Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:...poll stuff... It goes to show it's not really based just on performance on the night. In particular Sturgeon and Wood were almost identical and yet they have completely different results.
Hmm, I'm not sure about that. It seemed like Wood was just echoing/supporting Sturgeon on a lot of points (fair, they want similar things) and was a less polished, direct speaker. She still did alright - liked the bit where she had a go at Farage for the HIV thing (which was pretty awful) - but Sturgeon just seemed more involved and therefore more impressive. Don't forget though that this is only one poll - others have Miliband winning, Miliband and Cameron tied, and Miliband/Cameron/Farage tied (with Sturgeon one percent behind all three).
Well, Wood and Sturgeon did make similar points, but I didn't see it as one copying the other. I think it largely depended on who was asked to go first on a particular topic. Sturgeon may have been a bit more polished, but Wood still did a decent job I thought, and I don't tend to base it on that anyway. For example, Natalie Bennett was probably the least polished of the seven in terms of her performance, but I'd still put her top based on the points she made. Similarly, however "charismatic" people might find Nigel Farage, I'd put him bottom by a long way. But the long and short of it is that to me Sturgeon wasn't significantly better than Wood. And Bennett edged it for me because there was always the subtext with the others that it was about getting the best for Scotland/Wales rather than simply doing what is right.

And on Farage, I think some people might have voted for him in the polls because they felt he was unfairly ganged up on by the others so it entrenched their viewpoint about UKIP being the only party that offers anything different. I mean, he was ganged up on to some extent, but his responses were still piss poor.
Adam Gillard wrote:The short-term fear that voting for one of the smaller parties means one of the larger parties you don't want will get in outweighs the long-term hope that votes for smaller parties will force the larger parties into electoral reform. So I sympathise with the "don't vote for [Small Party], this only means [Big Party] will get in, and no-one wants that! Instead vote for [Even Bigger Party] to stop [Big Party] getting in" sentiment.
Well, I don't particularly sympathise with parties for making this point because they should have made an effort to offer us a better voting system. And they just say what they need to to get votes. But obviously I do have some sympathy for voters faced with a dilemma caused by the voting system. It's difficult, but hopefully people will see from the debates that there is a lot of land to the left of Labour, and choosing between centre-right (as I see Labour) and right isn't that much of a choice. I tend to think long term here and can't really see myself ever voting for Labour or Conservative (well, the latter should go without saying).

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Adam Gillard » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:42 pm

Ian Volante wrote:
Adam Gillard wrote: On a different note, Jen's picture scares me. Anyone else?
I recently spotted that it's a rip from a Taylor Swift video. I never would have suspected.
Well I knew it wasn't a picture of Jen!
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:41 pm

Adam Gillard wrote:The short-term fear that voting for one of the smaller parties means one of the larger parties you don't want will get in outweighs the long-term hope that votes for smaller parties will force the larger parties into electoral reform. So I sympathise with the "don't vote for [Small Party], this only means [Big Party] will get in, and no-one wants that! Instead vote for [Even Bigger Party] to stop [Big Party] getting in" sentiment.
I think this might be the appropriate time for this.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:06 pm

By the way, when Leanne Wood suggested that an EU referendum should require a majority wanting to leave in all four nations of the UK, I bet David Cameron was thinking "Now that's an idea I hadn't though of. Roll on 2017."

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:52 pm

Without wishing to seem too partisan (that can wait until Wednesday when I'm having a "curry 'n' canvass" with Boris Johnson), the mathematics is very interesting. If I'd have posted this even one week ago this post would have been very different, but a series of opinion polls since the Paxman interviews have shifted the balance towards Cameron.

In a sense, it will be difficult for Cameron to continue if he doesn't get a majority. There seems to be a consensus, as there was in 2010, that the party who "come first" should get first reserve at forming a coalition, although, of course, that isn't the constitutional case. The issue is that the "vote UKIP, get (R)Ed" mantra is true and is not election scaremongering. Lord Ashcroft's constituency polls don't show many patterns (making this the most unpredictable election in a generation) but one is that in UKIP targets, they will be close but no cigar. In one constituency Labour come very close to the Conservatives in what was a very safe Tory seat despite no huge increase in their vote. It's not out of the question this could happen overall. Returning to my original statement, though, Sturgeon and Wood (and presumably, Miliband and Bennett) have ruled out a coalition with Cameron. So if Cameron can get to about 315 or even 310, he may be able to get a Queen's Speech through with support from UKIP and some of the Northern Irish parties. In a way, if Sinn Féin do very well, the GB parties don't need to do as well as they would otherwise do (Sinn Féin, of course, rejecting their seats).

However, the opinion polls since Paxman, as I say, have moved towards Cameron, so I wonder if he could crawl over the 326 mark. The important bit is that the Ashcroft polls have said that in a lot of the seats the Conservatives are defending, the MP will buck the trend and hold on: Harrow East being a good example (although it probably didn't help that Labour selected a radio presenter). The percentages in the polls are scarily similar to 2010.

Now let's explore what I expect them to get on the latest poll data I have, taking the following:

For GB, an average of the seats from May2015 and Electoral Calculus:

For NI, the same as last time but with North Down and Belfast East returned to their original parties (having been won by "independents" (inverted commas due to the fact one of them wasn't labelled as one) in 2010):

NORTH DOWN - CONSERVATIVE GAIN FROM INDEPENDENT
BELFAST EAST - DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST GAIN FROM ALLIANCE

Conservative 294
Labour 262
Scottish National 49
Liberal Democrat 21
Democratic Unionist 9
Sinn Féin 5
Plaid Cymru 3
Social Democratic and Labour 3
United Kingdom Independence 2
Green 1
Speaker 1

Take out the speaker and Sinn Féin for obvious reasons, and let's split them up: 339 for the Left, 305 for the Right. Of course, if the Lib Dems join a centre-Right coalition (likely as Clegg is an "orange book"er) that shifts it to Left 318 - 326 Right.

So, to cut a long story short, it will be difficult for Cameron to get a coalition together, meaning he needs to win outright to stay in power. That said, Miliband will be very unpopular if he is seen to have "lost" the election and stroll up to No. 10 asking for the keys.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:00 am

Rhys Benjamin wrote:The issue is that the "vote UKIP, get (R)Ed" mantra is true and is not election scaremongering.
And why do you think that might be?

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:27 pm

I haven't got enough time or energy at the moment to do this justice I'm afraid. This is the tl;dr version.
Rhys Benjamin wrote:In a sense, it will be difficult for Cameron to continue if he doesn't get a majority.
Really? Well I never!
Rhys Benjamin wrote:There seems to be a consensus, as there was in 2010, that the party who "come first" should get first reserve at forming a coalition, although, of course, that isn't the constitutional case. The issue is that the "vote UKIP, get (R)Ed" mantra is true and is not election scaremongering.
I have a very long rant about this that I might well post in full later, but WHY ARE WE ALLOWING THIS? I think Labour actually did it first, telling Scottish voters that a vote for the SNP would be a vote for Cameron, but this "vote UKIP, get Labour" is just the same thing.
It wouldn't be so annoying if it wasn't so blatant and high-handed. Every single attempt to change the voting system since 1945 has been slapped down by the two big parties acting broadly together to preserve their own interests. And that this is now being exploited by both big parties in their electioneering almost defies belief. You couldn't make it up. They're saying "we created and actively maintain this unfair system to benefit us and keep the others down and because of that, you now have to vote for one of us, even if you hate us! Hahahaha!" Why don't they just smear some shit in our faces while they're at it? The contemptuous pricks.
Rhys Benjamin wrote:So if Cameron can get to about 315 or even 310
Not a hope. He'll get about 285, anything above that would be a bonus. But I reserve my right to re-guess that figure right up to Election Night, though? You never know what might happen in the next few weeks.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:26 pm

JimBentley wrote:I have a very long rant about this that I might well post in full later
Definitely do this.
but WHY ARE WE ALLOWING THIS? I think Labour actually did it first, telling Scottish voters that a vote for the SNP would be a vote for Cameron, but this "vote UKIP, get Labour" is just the same thing.
It wouldn't be so annoying if it wasn't so blatant and high-handed. Every single attempt to change the voting system since 1945 has been slapped down by the two big parties acting broadly together to preserve their own interests. And that this is now being exploited by both big parties in their electioneering almost defies belief. You couldn't make it up. They're saying "we created and actively maintain this unfair system to benefit us and keep the others down and because of that, you now have to vote for one of us, even if you hate us! Hahahaha!" Why don't they just smear some shit in our faces while they're at it? The contemptuous pricks.
The whole vote x get y thing does actually describe two different things. With "Vote SNP get Tory", it's not really a problem of the voting system. It's simply that the more seats SNP win, the fewer Labour will. Of course, this shouldn't mean you would get a Tory government anyway, because it's nonsense that the biggest party should automatically have first priority on forming a government. If SNP and Labour together have more seats than the Tories and they both prefer a Labour government, then there should be a Labour government. (Although that's assuming the whole government thing - don't get me started on the whole undemocratic concept of actually having an arbitrary subset of MPs that are "in power").

The second effect is more likely to happen with "Vote UKIP, get Labour". There might be individual constituencies where more people want UKIP or Conservative than Labour (although God knows why), but they end up with a Labour MP because of vote splitting. That is the fault of our voting system, and the Tories deserve for it to happen. As does Rhys.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:21 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote: The second effect is more likely to happen with "Vote UKIP, get Labour". There might be individual constituencies where more people want UKIP or Conservative than Labour (although God knows why), but they end up with a Labour MP because of vote splitting. That is the fault of our voting system, and the Tories deserve for it to happen. As does Rhys.
I'll be the first to admit that FPTP isn't perfect. But I doubt you can find a voting system which is. In a four-way marginal, run-off systems like AV or SV could have this problem too (what if you end up with Left vs Left thanks to some donkey voters when there are more Right voters to start with?). There is no one size fits all solution here, apart from the hideously, hopelessly complicated STV. Remember, you have to have a voting system idiots can understand.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:18 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:The whole vote x get y thing does actually describe two different things. With "Vote SNP get Tory", it's not really a problem of the voting system. It's simply that the more seats SNP win, the fewer Labour will. Of course, this shouldn't mean you would get a Tory government anyway, because it's nonsense that the biggest party should automatically have first priority on forming a government. If SNP and Labour together have more seats than the Tories and they both prefer a Labour government, then there should be a Labour government. (Although that's assuming the whole government thing - don't get me started on the whole undemocratic concept of actually having an arbitrary subset of MPs that are "in power").

The second effect is more likely to happen with "Vote UKIP, get Labour". There might be individual constituencies where more people want UKIP or Conservative than Labour (although God knows why), but they end up with a Labour MP because of vote splitting. That is the fault of our voting system, and the Tories deserve for it to happen. As does Rhys.
Ah yeah, I think I see what you mean now.

I'm fairly relaxed about the whole shebang to be honest, I'm reasonably confident (I'm even considering placing a small wager) that it'll be a Labour minority government, supported by - although not in formal coalition with - the SNP, which is pretty much an arrangement that I could deal with.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:41 pm

[quote="Gavin Chipper"Of course, this shouldn't mean you would get a Tory government anyway, because it's nonsense that the biggest party should automatically have first priority on forming a government. If SNP and Labour together have more seats than the Tories and they both prefer a Labour government, then there should be a Labour government.[/quote]

I think Miliband will be very unpopular if that happens, just as Brown's attempts to cling on to power after 2010 were very unpopular ("SQUATTER IN NUMBER TEN" etc.).
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:29 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote: The second effect is more likely to happen with "Vote UKIP, get Labour". There might be individual constituencies where more people want UKIP or Conservative than Labour (although God knows why), but they end up with a Labour MP because of vote splitting. That is the fault of our voting system, and the Tories deserve for it to happen. As does Rhys.
I'll be the first to admit that FPTP isn't perfect. But I doubt you can find a voting system which is. In a four-way marginal, run-off systems like AV or SV could have this problem too (what if you end up with Left vs Left thanks to some donkey voters when there are more Right voters to start with?). There is no one size fits all solution here, apart from the hideously, hopelessly complicated STV. Remember, you have to have a voting system idiots can understand.
First of all, I wouldn't call STV hopelessly complicated. It's still relatively simple for voters (1, 2, 3, etc.), although any system of proportional representation is going to have some complexities when it comes to calculating the result. Personally I think it's worth it for a more democratic system, as long as voting itself is simple and allows people to just turn up on the day and vote without having any previous knowledge of what to do.

However, if you really need simplicity for both voting and counting votes, and are therefore happy to do away with proportional representation, then look no further than approval voting. It's basically what we have now except that instead of voting for one candidate, you can vote for one or more. It is as simple as FPTP only much better. It never harms you to vote for your favourite candidate, and the general strategy is to vote for your favourite of the two frontrunners and any candidate you like even more than them. It's not a perfect system either, but it performs as well or better than FPTP in just about every conceivable situation.

But also on proportional representation, STV has problems in that you have to have larger constituencies to give a proportional result. For example, you might turn six current constituencies into one "super-constituency" that has six MPs elected proportionally. The problems are that there will be more candidates on the ballot paper for the voter to rank, and also that it only gives proportionality at quite a coarse level. If there are six to elect in each constituency, you could get 10% everywhere and fail to win a seat. Full national proportionality is normally achieved using the party list system, but then you're electing parties (corporate brands) rather than individuals, so it's less democratic. There are ways round this (to have your cake and eat it), but I'll put that in another post.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Mark James » Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:25 pm

What's complicated about STV?

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:35 pm

I know this is all a bit off topic, but I'm going to explain how you can achieve a candidate-based method that gives national proportionality. I think this is important. Voting for local candidates only is an outdated idea, and people's democratic options are limited by who is standing in their area. In the Speaker's constituency, the main parties don't even stand against him! An arbitrary tradition is seen as more important than voters' democratic rights! Also, if a candidate has 1/650 of the national support, then this should be enough to get elected. Why should the geography of the support be relevant? Anyway, here goes:

Before the election happens, all the candidates have to pre-declare their own ranking order of the other candidates. To simplify this, candidates from a particular party are automatically tied for position in everyone's list. Also, anyone standing for a particular party automatically has the other candidates from their own party joint top. But independent candidates can be placed individually. These ranking lists are publicly available before the election. For example, a possible ranking list of a party A candidate:

1. Every other party A candidate joint (this would be automatic)
2. Every party B candidate joint
3. A particular independent candidate
4. Every party C candidate joint

Of course, once a vote has been transferred and diluted into an entire party of candidates, any ranking below that is likely to be irrelevant. Ranking does not have to be complete and the above could easily be:

1. Every other party A candidate joint
END

Every candidate has a nominated constituency as they do now. On voting day, a voter is presented with a ballot paper much the same as we have now. It lists all the candidates that have nominated the relevant constituency. A voter can simply put an X by their preferred candidate. Alternatively they can write in at the bottom another candidate standing in another constituency. Write-in candidates are not a new concept. In America, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D Roosevelt became president having won their party primaries as write-in candidates.

The election works as an STV election with the whole country treated as one super-constituency. The difference is that instead of a voter having to rank all the national candidates themselves, they take on the ranking of the candidate they have voted for. Because these rankings are pre-declared, voters can use this information to decide who to vote for. Also, while it may seem strange to give this power to a candidate, they are voting for them to represent them in Parliament and vote on their behalf, and this is simply the first act of representation they are conferring onto them. But there would, in any case, be a box to tick to say that you want your vote to be non-transferable.

Optional extra - there could also be an option for a voter to rank the local candidates only (as they are printed on the ballot paper anyway so it wouldn't add much complication) so they aren't transferring any power and still have some ranking options.

This would still be very simple for a voter. In summary:

1. Put an X by a candidate (or write one in from elsewhere)
2. If you want, tick the box saying you want your vote to be non-transferable
Possible 3. Instead of this, rank the candidates on the ballot paper yourself, but none of the ones standing elsewhere.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:04 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
JimBentley wrote:I have a very long rant about this that I might well post in full later
Definitely do this.
I did it when I was up all night the other night on some stimulant or other, it almost certainly makes very little sense. Still, I'll see if I can salvage anything entertaining from it.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Zarte Siempre » Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:30 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:In the Speaker's constituency, the main parties don't even stand against him! An arbitrary tradition is seen as more important than voters' democratic rights!
And this is exactly why I give more of a shit about that than this bloody election.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Apr 08, 2015 10:02 am

Zarte Siempre wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:In the Speaker's constituency, the main parties don't even stand against him! An arbitrary tradition is seen as more important than voters' democratic rights!
And this is exactly why I give more of a shit about that than this bloody election.
Do you live in his constituency?

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:17 pm

Zarte Siempre wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:In the Speaker's constituency, the main parties don't even stand against him! An arbitrary tradition is seen as more important than voters' democratic rights!
And this is exactly why I give more of a shit about that than this bloody election.
UKIP and the Greens are, mind you.

Anyway, here's the Benjamin's Blog Party Political Broadcast... http://rhysbenjamin.blogspot.co.uk/2015 ... l?spref=tw
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:54 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
JimBentley wrote:I have a very long rant about this that I might well post in full later
Definitely do this.
Oh lordy, it did go on, some of it was like automatic writing. I couldn't make head nor tail of some it, there were bits where I'd started at the wrong place on the keyboard and not corrected it, loads of bits that I have no memory of whatsoever, nonsense, all sorts. It started out quite sensible so I'll post that and shove the rest in a text file (cos there's an unbelievable wealth of information about the 1997 election, I got REALLY into that). But it's all a bit after the fact now, politics has moved on. Anyway:
Gavin Chipper wrote:Who watched the debate tonight then?
I was always going to, though I was a bit apprehensive about it beforehand; a seven-way is always going to be complicated, especially when the participants are all turned on by different things. Plus I didn't know a great deal about Julie Etchingham (I suppose because I don't watch ITV news, not for reasons of snobbery, it just never occurs to me to do so). But in the end it was a lot more fun than I expected and I thought Julie E. did an excellent job: firm when necessary, no bias that I could detect and otherwise inobtrusive.
Gavin Chipper wrote:I thought it was quite interesting. Green/Plaid Cymru/SNP made Labour look like a right or at least centre-right party
That makes sense, because Labour are now a centre-right party and have been for ages. Of course, I didn't realise it at the time, but the shift started when Tony Blair became Labour leader and decided to capture the centre ground to - in his view - help make the party more electable. It wasn't the only factor contributing to the landslide Labour victory in 1997, but it was the major factor: they were encroaching on (and often moving beyond) the territory of the Lib Dems and soft/wet Tories but had - crucially - also retained the majority of the left-wing vote, because such people still believed that Tony Blair's politics were broadly left-leaning and only the political far left wing of the time would realise the need for an alternative.
Jennifer Steadman wrote:I thought Sturgeon did best overall, Wood and Bennett both did alright
It's interesting that this was the general consensus for those not voting along party lines; is it just that female politicians seem more sympathetic, or that people are sick of grey men staying the same things, or is it that female politicians are just more competent?

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:35 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Jennifer Steadman wrote:I thought Sturgeon did best overall, Wood and Bennett both did alright
It's interesting that this was the general consensus for those not voting along party lines; is it just that female politicians seem more sympathetic, or that people are sick of grey men staying the same things, or is it that female politicians are just more competent?
Think it's a combination of these things, as well as the novelty factor - most people probably didn't have a clue who they were prior to the debate. I don't know if female politicians seem more sympathetic per se, especially given that Theresa May and Nicky Morgan are probably the most well-known female Cabinet ministers and neither are particularly personable (still can't believe that the minister for Women and Equality doesn't support gay marriage...), but obviously these three are all heading up left-wing parties - by their nature less concerned with profits and more concerned with the human cost of laws, so their party lines and policies would certainly come across as more sympathetic. It does make sense though for there to be a correlation - women feel harder hit by the recession than men, and if we stick with the idea that left wing = sympathetic, female voters are certainly more sympathetic: young women are significantly more likely to vote for Labour than they are for the Conservatives than young men - while not really a left party any more, as you said, they're still to the left of UKIP/Tories/Lib Dems - and the Greens' support is overwhelmingly female.

Definitely think people are fed up of well-off, middle-aged men running the show though. I mean, Nigel Farage tries to present himself as being the alternative choice of leader, of not being from the same world as Cameron/Clegg, but he went to private school too and worked in the City! The women are from different demographics to them and Sturgeon and Wood in particular came across as sassy and passionate, two things that certainly can't be said about the male party leaders - it made them stand out as credible, fresh alternatives.

As for more competent... I don't know about that, but it's definitely important to ensure the House of Commons has a greater proportion of female MPs in future. Not for the bald statistics or principle of it, but because the more diverse Parliament is, the more representative it is of the electorate, and the more representative/fair its policies are likely to be. There's a load of statistics to support the idea that businesses benefit hugely from good female representation at high levels, which translates into political terms too. If significant numbers of people found the women refreshing, impressive or even inspirational in the debate, then hopefully that's good news for female involvement and representation in politics.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:48 pm

On a different note - if the Tories end up forming the next government, they've promised an EU referendum. What does everyone think will happen in the event of this? I think it's in our best interests to remain in the EU (in an increasingly globalised world, how can it make sense to isolate ourselves?), but the tabloids have been bitching about it for so long that it feels like a significant proportion of the electorate is uninformed about what the benefits of membership are. Could go down to the wire.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Graeme Cole » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:51 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:In the Speaker's constituency, the main parties don't even stand against him! An arbitrary tradition is seen as more important than voters' democratic rights!
It's up to each individual party whether they choose to field a candidate in a constituency - nobody can force them to. Even if you persuaded the main parties to abandon the tradition, under the current system it would have interesting side-effects.

Let's say Labour and the Lib Dems field a candidate against John Bercow. The Speaker has to renounce their party affiliation upon becoming Speaker, in order to be seen as impartial, but until then he was Conservative. Would the Conservatives put up a candidate against him? If they don't, the Speaker would appear alongside Labour and Lib Dem on the ballot, with no Conservative candidate, so the Speaker would be seen as the de facto Tory option, undermining his impartiality.

So the only way to fix it would be for every party, including the Speaker's former party, to field a candidate. Wouldn't that mean a high probability of the Speaker getting voted out? That's not necessarily a problem, they can elect a new Speaker at the start of the next Parliament. Might MPs then be reluctant to put themselves forward as Speaker, because of the perceived likelihood of losing their seat to one of the major parties - probably their former party - at the next election? Probably.

All that said, I agree that it's a bit silly to prevent voters from voting for any of the main parties just because they happen to live in the Speaker's constituency. Perhaps getting every party to field a candidate against him is the right way to fix it, but then you have the potentially amusing emergent behaviour that any party which was reluctant to field a candidate would have the perverse incentive to nominate a hopeless idiot with no chance of getting elected.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Zarte Siempre » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:33 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Zarte Siempre wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:In the Speaker's constituency, the main parties don't even stand against him! An arbitrary tradition is seen as more important than voters' democratic rights!
And this is exactly why I give more of a shit about that than this bloody election.
Do you live in his constituency?
Yes.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Zarte Siempre » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:35 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Zarte Siempre wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:In the Speaker's constituency, the main parties don't even stand against him! An arbitrary tradition is seen as more important than voters' democratic rights!
And this is exactly why I give more of a shit about that than this bloody election.
UKIP and the Greens are, mind you.
That's a bit like saying "There's no cake in this cake shop, but feel free to chew the fridge"
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:39 pm

Jennifer Steadman wrote:On a different note - if the Tories end up forming the next government, they've promised an EU referendum. What does everyone think will happen in the event of this? I think it's in our best interests to remain in the EU (in an increasingly globalised world, how can it make sense to isolate ourselves?), but the tabloids have been bitching about it for so long that it feels like a significant proportion of the electorate is uninformed about what the benefits of membership are. Could go down to the wire.
It depends on what Cameron's reformed terms are. The key one will be the immigration issue. If he can somehow tempt Merkel into giving him a relaxation on free movement (a box of chocolates may do the trick, Dave) then I think we will vote to stay. If he can't get that then the vote will be out. And Cameron has said that if he gets nothing at all he'll vote out.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:03 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:In the Speaker's constituency, the main parties don't even stand against him! An arbitrary tradition is seen as more important than voters' democratic rights!
It's up to each individual party whether they choose to field a candidate in a constituency - nobody can force them to.
Obviously you're right, but it does highlight the differences in democratic choice there are across the country. And this can be fixed. Easily. Even if you don't use what I've proposed, standard STV would widen the choices open to people by combining constituencies.
Zarte Siempre wrote:
Rhys Benjamin wrote:UKIP and the Greens are, mind you.
That's a bit like saying "There's no cake in this cake shop, but feel free to chew the fridge"
Eat your Greens! They're good for you!

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Mark James » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:40 pm

I hope I'm not steering the conversation away too much by bringing up Anarcho capitalism/libertarianism again but I saw Toby's campaign poster and one of his platforms was raising the minimum wage and I remembered this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFbYM2EDz40 that I had seen on youtube. I was wondering what would be the arguments against what the video proposes?

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:23 pm

Maybe its time for someone (not me obviously) to create a General Election pole, to see how the forum compares to the real thing
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:52 pm

Mark James wrote:I hope I'm not steering the conversation away too much by bringing up Anarcho capitalism/libertarianism again but I saw Toby's campaign poster and one of his platforms was raising the minimum wage and I remembered this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFbYM2EDz40 that I had seen on youtube. I was wondering what would be the arguments against what the video proposes?
It's very simplistic. If you run a company and you have factory workers (like Simon in the video) and people who type away at a computer (Vicky in the video), you presumably need all of them for your business to function. I'm not sure it even makes sense to say that Vicky makes him £x and Simon makes him £y. You can say how much in total the workforce makes you, but the splitting is arbitrary. The reason Simon gets paid less is not that his work brings less money, but that because Vicky's work presumably requires more skills and so is more in demand.

In any case, the minimum wage is just a small piece of the jigsaw. It's often said that people need a living wage from their employers, but actually everyone needs enough to live on, whether they are in work or not. And that's why it's better to bring in a Citizen's Income. Then, because everyone would have this minimum amount of money, they may be able to demand better pay and conditions from employers because they wouldn't be in such desperate need for a job in the first place. So maybe the minimum wage wouldn't be so necessary with the Citizen's Income. But it's something that should be tested first.

It said in the video that if paying workers became too expensive, employers might be more likely to use robots and do away with the factory workers. Yes, but that might happen anyway. More and more stuff will inevitably get automated. But really that shouldn't be a bad thing. There's no point just doing work for the sake of it. People say that we should all have a job because it gives us dignity, but that's largely bullshit. We need a job to pay the bills. Most of us would be able to find useful things to do with our time without having paid employment, thank you very much. Anyway, the point is that as long as there is enough wealth in the country, then as long as it is distributed properly, then everything's fine. But it's stupid to simply demand that everyone has to work for this, if the work can be done without everyone in full-time employment. What are the chances that everyone having a reasonable standard of living requires everyone of working age to be in full-time employment?

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Graeme Cole » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:02 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:General Election pole
Farage would want it out.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:45 pm

sorry Mr Coll
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by JimBentley » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:31 pm

various stuff about an EU referendum
Rhys Benjamin wrote:It depends on what Cameron's reformed terms are.
No it doesn't. He's been publically euro-sceptic from ages before he was PM, before he was an MP probably. He's regularly publically critical of them. He's regularly publically critical of their policies and regularly blames them for not allowing him to do what he wants. He is seen as (at best) an irrelevence to the EU and his terms will be heavily defeated.
Rhys Benjamin wrote:The key one will be the immigration issue. If he can somehow tempt Merkel into giving him a relaxation on free movement (a box of chocolates may do the trick, Dave)
You didn't really mean to write that, did you? You probably just thought it and your pesky fingers had typed it onto the screen, right? Or was it a joke? If you were serious, I'm (a) impressed with the amount of ill-information, wrong-headedness, condescending sexism and general bollocks you managed to pack into such a short sentence and (b) concerned that you may be delusional. Tony the fucking Tiger off the Frosties ads has more influence in the EU than David Cameron.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:54 pm

JimBentley wrote:
various stuff about an EU referendum
Rhys Benjamin wrote:It depends on what Cameron's reformed terms are.
No it doesn't. He's been publically euro-sceptic from ages before he was PM, before he was an MP probably. He's regularly publically critical of them. He's regularly publically critical of their policies and regularly blames them for not allowing him to do what he wants. He is seen as (at best) an irrelevence to the EU and his terms will be heavily defeated.
The fuss Cameron is making about the reforming of the EU may force Merkel into giving him some terms.
Rhys Benjamin wrote:The key one will be the immigration issue. If he can somehow tempt Merkel into giving him a relaxation on free movement (a box of chocolates may do the trick, Dave)
You didn't really mean to write that, did you? You probably just thought it and your pesky fingers had typed it onto the screen, right? Or was it a joke? If you were serious, I'm (a) impressed with the amount of ill-information, wrong-headedness, condescending sexism and general bollocks you managed to pack into such a short sentence and (b) concerned that you may be delusional. Tony the fucking Tiger off the Frosties ads has more influence in the EU than David Cameron.
The bit in brackets was supposed to be joking, but anyway, I agree it's about as likely as Will Stevens winning the Grand Prix tomorrow, but I would disagree with the mantra that Cameron has zero EU influence. The fact his country's economy is better than everyone else's in the EU means he can't go unnoticed, and he still possesses that veto.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:06 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:I've just been on Betfair to look at odds of who is going to "win" the election. Obviously it depends on what counts as a win, but if you look at the odds of who is going to be the Prime Minister after the election (probably the best measure of who wins rather than looking at outright majority or even which party has the most seats), then David Cameron is 1.8 to back and 1.87 to lay, whereas Ed Miliband is 2.22 to back and 2.34 to lay. In English, this puts Cameron at between 53.5% and 55.6% and Miliband at between 42.7% and 45.0%. So it's close but unfortunately the Tories are the favourites.
They are now virtually neck and neck. Cameron is 1.99 to bet and 2.00 to lay so somewhere between 50% and 50.3%. Miliband is 2.00 to bet and 2.04 to lay so between 49% and 50%.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Marc Meakin » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:38 pm

Milliband/Sturgeon to form coalition.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:23 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:In the Speaker's constituency, the main parties don't even stand against him! An arbitrary tradition is seen as more important than voters' democratic rights!
It's up to each individual party whether they choose to field a candidate in a constituency - nobody can force them to. Even if you persuaded the main parties to abandon the tradition, under the current system it would have interesting side-effects.

Let's say Labour and the Lib Dems field a candidate against John Bercow. The Speaker has to renounce their party affiliation upon becoming Speaker, in order to be seen as impartial, but until then he was Conservative. Would the Conservatives put up a candidate against him? If they don't, the Speaker would appear alongside Labour and Lib Dem on the ballot, with no Conservative candidate, so the Speaker would be seen as the de facto Tory option, undermining his impartiality.

So the only way to fix it would be for every party, including the Speaker's former party, to field a candidate. Wouldn't that mean a high probability of the Speaker getting voted out? That's not necessarily a problem, they can elect a new Speaker at the start of the next Parliament. Might MPs then be reluctant to put themselves forward as Speaker, because of the perceived likelihood of losing their seat to one of the major parties - probably their former party - at the next election? Probably.

All that said, I agree that it's a bit silly to prevent voters from voting for any of the main parties just because they happen to live in the Speaker's constituency. Perhaps getting every party to field a candidate against him is the right way to fix it, but then you have the potentially amusing emergent behaviour that any party which was reluctant to field a candidate would have the perverse incentive to nominate a hopeless idiot with no chance of getting elected.
I just want to come back on this again. When Parliament is dissolved and there are no MPs, I think there should also be no Speaker. This position should also be dissolved. So if John Bercow is standing again, he should stand under a party or as an independent. Then, if he is elected, he can be reinstated again as Speaker by Parliament if they so wish.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:44 pm

So it's the next leaders debate tonight, except without Cameron or Clegg. Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have, of course, been unfairly excluded from this. Because Cameron refused to take part in more than one debate, the broadcasters allowed him to save face by billing this as an opposition debate, but that meant also excluding the Liberal Democrats as they are also in government.

I think it's a disgrace to be honest. They should have just had a leaders debate and said to Cameron "Come or don't come. It's up to you." rather than fucking over the Liberal Democrats just so that Cameron can save face.

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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:25 pm

Cameron doesn't turn up for the job interview and expects to get re-hired
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Andy McGurn » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:07 pm

Its interesting that this forum has members who support the Conservatives as well as members who support Labour and doubtless some neutrals and nonvoters as well. But do we have any UKIP supporters here.
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Re: The General Election of Thursday 7 May 2015 *

Post by Peter Mabey » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:36 pm

After the last election, the Lib Dems joined the coalition to get a voting reform act passed - although this was passed, as the big parties saw that would lose out, they did their utmost to ensure that it would not happen, so there seems to be little chance for a future coalition to achieve it this time.
Although most of the other Lib Dem objectives were achieved (apart from that of cutting tuition fees), the Tories have been claiming the credit, even though they would not done so unprompted - Cameron has complained that the Liberals had prevented him from acting as a properly Conservative leader.
It is a pity that Clegg did not make it clear from the very start that he'd given in on tuition fees under protest, so I suspect that being seen to break his pre-election promise was a condition imposed to have voting reform on the agenda, as the Tories could see that would destroy the faith of most voters in the Liberals.

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