Archive for the ‘Labour’ Category

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The EU Referendum and the democratic deficit

Oh, the irony. The UK might vote to leave the EU not because of the democratic shortcomings of that organisation but because of those of the UK…

Unfortunately, elections are about much more than the issues at hand. Local councillors know this all too well, as they lose their seat not because of anything they’ve done wrong but because the Chancellor put a penny on a pint of beer (or glass of wine, depending on the area). And here we have a momentous decision about to be made and the leader of the Remain campaign also happens to be the leader of the government: David Cameron. A leader who is not as unpopular as Mrs Thatcher, but unpopular enough. The Conservatives got 25% support at last year’s election (37% of the 66% who voted) so on day one of his new government there were already 75% potentially opposed to it, and him, and after 6 years of power there are lots of things that people want to give him a kicking for. Now is not the right time, but for a lot of people that’s a moot point.

Herein lies a very good reason why Labour should not have elected a contrarian like Jeremy Corbyn as their leader. In order for Cameron to pull this off, he needs the support of Labour, but Labour can’t give that support. Corbyn is too ambivalent and too honest. So Cameron is out on his own, making a good, positive case, but one that many folk won’t listen to because of who he is, and because our democratic system didn’t give a mandate. He thinks he has a mandate – those 330 MPs who were elected last May – but he and we might be about to discover to all our costs that the mandate is an illusion.

Posted June 13, 2016 by dadge

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searchthemoney.com

In Labour,Tories on August 24, 2012 by dadge

Over the last few years, public-spirited individuals have developed various interfaces to let us make use of open-access government data. theyworkforyou.com is a great example, from the nice people at mysociety.org. The good thing is that the sites have been independent and even-handed, and don’t subvert the data by omitting part of it.

There’s been a worrying development today with the launch of searchthemoney.com, a site that shows you where Tory MPs have been getting their money from. Only Tory MPs, mind. The data is available for all MPs, but the site hides the data for the other MPs. (For a while this morning, the pages for the other MPs were visible, but they were removed when the organisers realised their “mistake”.) This has been done in order to damage the Tory party’s chances at the next election, but the trades unions who are paying for the site need to have a good long look at themselves. 1. It’s unhelpful, confusing, misleading and dishonest. 2. It makes it look like Labour MPs have something to hide. 3. It will only be a week or two before the Tories get their anti-Labour version up and running.

So instead of one honest website, we’ll end up with two dishonest websites. Well done.

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Full steam ahead

In boundary changes,Labour,Lib Dems,Tories on April 23, 2012 by dadge

Kevin Meagher wrote, on 5/1/12:

Boundary review, reviewed

Something […] that will bite the dust in 2012 is the parliamentary boundary review. This was a rash promise by Cameron to slash 50 seats in order to “reduce the cost of politics” at the height of Westminster’s expenses scandal. The figure was entirely arbitrary, so the new proposed boundaries are a dog’s breakfast. And the electoral advantage the Tories confidently predicted is not looking as attractive as first thought.

The seats of six cabinet ministers would be axed, including Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam seat and George Osborne’s berth in leafy Knutsford. The last election was fought on fresh boundaries so there is, technically, no need to fiddle again for a decade. Eventually the government’s political antennae will twitch and the whole thing will be dropped. There is too much political fixing needed to keep everyone happy. The government has better things to worry about.

My response:

1. The figure of 50 seats was not “entirely arbitrary”. Both the decision to cut, and the decision that it would be 50, were made on the basis of Tory research on how best to make the system work more to the their advantage. “Reducing the cost of politics” was a convenient smokescreen.

2. The new seats are a “dog’s breakfast” but this is because of the radically new rules being used by the Boundary Commission, again decided on by the Tories to make the system work more to their advantage. The new system has at its heart the concept of “cracking” – which you should be au fait with – which tends to favour the Tories.

3. The new seats will be somewhat better for the Tories than the current ones. DGMW, the FPTP system will still favour Labour for the time being, but the precedent the changes are setting will gradually erode that advantage over the years.

4. Pickles and co. made the changes a priority in order to reduce and eventually eliminate Labour’s built-in electoral advantage as quickly as possible. They want to redraw the boundaries every five years in order to achieve this. At some point they must’ve briefed their MPs about the rationale behind this, and the fact that some of them will have to suffer for the benefit of the party. Trouble is, some of them will go rogue e.g. Dorries.

5. Considering how important the changes are to the Tory Project, there’s no way that Cameron will drop the whole thing, and the LibDems are too weak to challenge it, even though by supporting the changes they are tying the noose even tighter round their own neck. The opposition to the project must come from Labour, but instead of mounting an effective campaign, Greg Cook went round the country in the autumn licking the Boundary Commission’s arse.

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East Midlands – Labour counterproposals

In boundary changes,Derbyshire,East Midlands,Labour,Leicestershire,Nottinghamshire on October 29, 2011 by dadge

I’ve done my best to construct a map based on the notes I took on Thursday, but it’s possible there may be mistakes, so don’t take this as gospel. I haven’t included Lincolnshire or Northamptonshire because Labour accepts the Commission’s proposals for those two counties in full.

Most of the plan is quite reasonable, but it’s too radical, so I think we have to write it off as an academic exercise. I assume the arrangements for Derby amount to some sort of gerrymander (on Thursday a Labour councillor spoke about “keeping similar kinds of wards together” which set alarm bells ringing) but others will be better placed than me to check on that.

Constituency Electorate
Ashby & Swadlincote 76740
Rutland & Melton 75499
Nottm W & Beeston 76449
Ilkeston 73939
Ashfield 77049
Mansfield 79849
High Peak 73691
Derbyshire Dales & Dronfield 79430
Chesterfield 76386
Bolsover & NE Derbys 76305
Alfreton & Shirebrook 73831
Derby W & Belper 80250
Nottingham N 75782
Rushcliffe 73430
Erewash Valley 73055
Derby S 77324
Nottingham E 73743
Derby N 76277
Gedling 74203
Sherwood 76674
Newark 74178
Bassetlaw 76535
Coalville & Bosworth 79982
Leicester W 78088
Leicester E 74377
Harborough 80260
Loughborough 75847
Leicester S 78433
Hinckley & Blaby 79242
Charnwood 78555

Proposals spreadsheet

Larger scale maps: north  south

 

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Everything Cumbria

In Cumbria,Labour,Lib Dems,North West,redistricting,Tories on October 17, 2011 by dadge

Proposals:
Boundary Commission
Carlisle 79,030
Workington & Keswick 80,266
Kendal & Penrith 79,685
Copeland & Windermere 77,712
Barrow 73,677

Liberal Democrats
Carlisle 79,030
Penrith & Cockermouth 75,525
Whitehaven & Workington 80,314
Westmorland & Lonsdale 78,526
Barrow & Furness 76,975

Conservative
Carlisle 79,030
Penrith & Solway 76,325
Workington & Whitehaven 78,284
Westmorland & Lonsdale 76,274
Barrow & Furness 80,457

Labour
Carlisle 78,966
Penrith & The Border 74,211
West Cumberland 79,311
Westmorland & Lonsdale 77,425
Barrow 80,457

I haven’t checked the figures, though I can see that the Labour electorate for Westmorland & Lonsdale is wrong.

Not much difference between the parties really – they all agree that the Commission is wrong to continue to try to have separate Workington and Whitehaven seats. The Coalition proposals are very similar to that posted by greatkingrat on 2nd September. I can’t see much connection beween Penrith and Cockermouth, but that’s a minor problem compared to the faults in the Commission’s plan, to wit:

1. Barrow seat contains an unconnected part (the Grange area)

2. There isn’t much connection between the Lake District and the towns on the coast

3. Kendal and Penrith have been put together but cut off from the areas they serve to their west.

I think any of the three party counterproposals would be better than that. It’d be good to keep Appleby in the Penrith seat, but I can’t see a way to do it.

Edit: I’d forgotten about this, by Philip Davies, which is very nice:

 

The public enquiry into the new boundaries continues tomorrow (Tuesday 18 October) at Carlisle Civic Centre, but the message to the Commission seems pretty clear already.

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Labour counterproposals – North West England

In Cheshire,Labour,Lancashire,Manchester,Merseyside,North West,redistricting on October 13, 2011 by dadge

After another eye-straining session with MS Paint, I’ve done maps of Labour’s proposals for constituencies in Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire:

There are a few minor innaccuracies in their report (e.g. I’ve already found a couple of electorates that are wrong) but this their list as they presented it:

Bootle & Kirkdale 74046
Knowsley* 79334
Liverpool Riverside 76061
Liverpool Walton & Edge Hill 78563
Liverpool West Derby 74732
Sefton Central 77093
Southport** 77555
St Helens North* 75688
St Helens South & Whiston* 78612
Wavertree & Halewood 79659
Birkenhead 74605
Wallasey & Hoylake 76171
Wirral South 77735
North West Cheshire 75507
Congleton* 73820
Crewe & Nantwich* 78845
Ellesmere Port & West Runcorn 76208
Macclesfield 78711
Mid Cheshire 73971
North Cheshire 74092
South West Cheshire 73436
Warrington North 74877
Widnes & Warrington West 80283
Altrincham & Sale West 74199
Cheadle & Poynton 74618
Hazel Grove & Bollington 73260
Ashton-under-Lyne 73668
Blackley & Broughton 79909
Bolton South** 78550
Bolton West 80265
Bury Central & Heywood 74646
Denton & Reddish 74223
Leigh* 77001
Makerfield* 74856
Manchester Central 78616
Manchester Gorton* 74681
Manchester Withington* 73656
Oldham East & Saddleworth 80433
Oldham West & Middleton 80295
Bury South* 75140
Rochdale* 77699
Salford & Eccles* 76863
Stalybridge & Hyde 80177
Stockport 72884
Stretford & Urmston** 77813
Wigan* 76779
Worsley & Eccles South* 73409
Wythenshawe & Sale East* 75602
Bolton North & Darwen 80132
Rossendale & Ramsbottom 78380
Blackburn 78049
Blackpool North & Fleetwood** 80400
Blackpool South** 80402
Burnley & Nelson 80105
Chorley** 79612
Clitheroe & Colne 79877
Fylde** 78304
Garstang & Carnforth 80344
Hyndburn & Padiham 79376
Morecambe & Lancaster 80278
Preston 79330
South Ribble 80058
West Lancashire 79205

Labour’s counterproposal is a curate’s egg: good in parts. As I was drawing the map, now and again I’d think “That’s a good idea”, but a minute later it’d be LOL OMG YCBS…

Labour’s mantra may be “minimum change”, and their proposals may indeed be less radical on average than the Commission’s, but it seems that beacsue they’ve been concentrating on getting certain areas the way they want them, some areas have been left to go hang. The mincing of Runcorn is a case in point, and their Middleton seat vies with the Commission’s as to which is more risible. I thought the idea of putting Cheshire’s northern boundary back to where it was before 1933 was quite sweet, until I noticed there’s a big hole in the seat where they’ve tacked Lymm onto Altrincham.

In the north of the region they’ve done a better job, but what’s with the two new seats of Preston-Central-with-random-bits-of-South-Ribble and Preston North & Morecambe Bay?

towns split between 2 seats: Formby**, West Kirby, Chester, Ellesmere Port**, Cheadle Hulme, Bredbury**, Middleton, Rochdale**, Eccles*, Preston**

towns split between 3 seats: Runcorn, Warrington, Sale, Oldham, Bolton, Bury

orphan wards: Heswall (Wirral)**, Beechwood (Halton), Cholmondeley (Crewe & Nantwich)*, Lymm (Warrington), Poynton (Macclesfield)**, Bollington & Disley (Macclesfield), Atherton (Wigan)*, Tottington (Bury), Chipping (Ribble Valley)

districts divided between 4 seats: Wirral**, Halton, Warrington, Stockport*

districts divided between 7 seats: Cheshire East

* same as current constituencies

** same as Boundary Commission proposals

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Labour’s most marginal seats, May 2010

In Labour,marginals on May 23, 2010 by dadge

 

constituency

% maj

over

1

Hampstead & Kilburn

0.08

C

2

Bolton West

0.19

C

3

Oldham East & Saddleworth

0.23

LD

4

Sheffield Central

0.40

LD

5

Ashfield

0.40

LD

6

Southampton Itchen

0.43

C

7

Edinburgh South

0.72

LD

8

Chesterfield

1.20

LD

9

Wirral South

1.33

C

10

Derby North

1.36

C

11

Swansea West

1.42

LD

12

Dudley North

1.68

C

13

Hull North

1.93

LD

14

Rochdale

1.94

LD

15

Great Grimsby

2.17

C

16

Morley & Outwood

2.25

C

17

Telford

2.37

C

18

Walsall North

2.74

C

19

Birmingham Edgbaston

3.06

C

20

Halifax

3.38

C

21

Newcastle-under-Lyme

3.59

C

22

Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland

3.63

C

23

Wakefield

3.63

C

24

Edinburgh North & Leith

3.64

LD

25

Plymouth Moor View

3.82

C

26

Gedling

3.86

C

27

Eltham

3.96

C

28

Walsall South

4.29

C

29

Nottingham South

4.34

C

30

Newport East

4.79

LD

31

Tooting

4.98

C