Archive for the ‘candidates’ Category


Checking for voter bias

In Birmingham,candidates,News on May 21, 2018 by dadge

When the results were coming in for the Birmingham city council elections I perceived that South Asian and female candidates were doing worse than average. So I thought I’d do a quick analysis of the data. I looked at cases where a party had two candidates in a ward, one of whom was female and one male, and also where a party had two candidates, one of whom was South Asian heritage and one was not.

Of the 51 instances of the first type, women got more votes on 22 occasions and men on 29 occasions. The total numbers of votes were:

female 89,962

male 92,726

Therefore in female-male matchups, women did on average 3% worse than men.


Of the 18 instances of the other type, the candidates of South Asian heritage got more votes 6 times and the other candidates did so 12 times. The total numbers of votes were:

South Asian 18,939

Other 19,906

In these matchups, South Asian heritage candidates did on average 5% worse.


I’ll leave it to the mathematicians to decide whether these differences are statistically significant. And even if they are, it’s really necessary to do a similar analysis of other years’ and other cities’ results.

Of course there are several factors involved in explaining why two candidates from the same party gained different numbers of votes. One is recognition/experience. Another, believe it or not, is alphabetical order. But this initial analysis hasn’t dispelled my initial perception.



Police & Crime Commissioner Elections: Don’t vote for a politician

In candidates,News,police elections on October 19, 2012 by dadge

These new elected representatives, who, despite their silly name, will not be commissioning crime, are replacing Police Authorities. (Replacing a large committee of nominees with a single elected official looks cheaper and more democratic but might be neither.) And it’s just a couple of weeks now till the elections.

Problems: turnout is expected to be low, and some candidates haven’t been able to stand because of silly rules. And there’s another problem: politicians. Too many politicians. Why is a politician a better candidate for this new job than any other person? Well, you might say, politics, in the good sense of the word (remember that?), is all about dealing with people and diplomacy and compromise and getting things done for people. Okay, fair enough, but party politics is about avoiding compromise and getting things done for your own people.

All this was brought to a head on Wednesday when, at PMQs, the MP for Manchester Central, Tony Lloyd, got up and announced that this was probably going to be his last ever question. By which he means that he thinks he’s a shoo-in for the Greater Manchester PCC  job. Whoa. Maybe, just maybe, the good folk of South East Lancashire would be better off with someone else in charge of their police?


All-women shortlists

In candidates on October 22, 2009 by dadge

A couple of days ago Tory leader David Cameron hinted that he might have to impose all-women shortlists on some constituencies that are selecting their candidate for next year’s General Election. Many in his party are up in arms at this suggestion, but most of the arguments they make against it are easy enough to gainsay.

Iain Dale admits that other methods that have been tried have done very little to improve the chances of women being selected as candidates. Yet he can’t bring himself to admit that all-women shortlists might be the only way to redress the balance. He says:

“As a Conservative I believe in equality of opportunity. I believe in a meritocracy.”

as though this was an argument against them. But how can he believe in equality of opportunity when so many women in his party are denied the opportunity to become MPs? And how can he believe in a meritocracy when only 1 in 10 of Tory MPs are women? That is, unless he believes that women are rarely as good as men. Which is, of course, bullshit.

Tim Montgomerie is apoplectic at Cameron’s suggestion, charging that all-women shortlists are, among other things, an affront to democracy. This misses the point. Democracy refers to the General Election itself, not to how parties choose their candidates. Parties can choose any method of selection they like – who gives a fuck, really – as long as someone ends up on the ballot paper who has an interest in representing the constituency in parliament.

He also complains that women who’ve been selected as candidates have polled less well than men. Well, I’m sorry, that’s part and parcel of the problem of sex discrimination that each party should be working to overcome. And though I’m no fan of Labour, they have risen to the challenge much better than the Tories have done, and it’s a real shame to see Dale, Montgomerie and others still kicking out against progress.

Don’t get me wrong, affirmative action is a difficult issue. When universities say they are going to impose quotas according to sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or whatever, I can empathise with those straight white able-bodied males like me who might not get their first choice of course because of them. But I don’t kid myself that what would be unfair to me is unfair in the general scheme of things.