The length of two swords

Recently, the brilliant UK actor Philip Glenister (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, State of Play, Mad Dogs, Hidden, etc.) was interviewed on the Andrew Marr show in connection with his latest role, that of Chief Government Whip in the play “This House“, which is set in 1974, when Labour had a shaky minority government.The discussion turned to the innately adversarial nature of politics in the UK House of Commons, with Marr noting that the play was in some ways an attack on the British parliamentary tradition, that of two sides against each other, and that underneath, there was a dream of a better way of doing things, a call for politics to be more consensual. Glenister noted that UK […]

Artificial preferences

There continues to be interest among many Canadians in the Alternative Vote (AV). Most recently the Liberal Party of Canada adopted a resolution calling for the implementation of a preferential ballot for national elections. This blog attempted to redo the May 2011 election using AV, and other bloggers have produced similar posts. This blog continues to get queries from individuals about that AV projection post. It is fair enough to say that AV is not the preferred option of most who favour electoral reform for one very important reason: it is not at all proportional and will do little to rectify the main failing of First-Past-the-Post (FPTP), namely, the election of a legislature where the number of seats won by the […]

Nicked – the musical (revisited)

Back in February, I wrote about a musical being produced in the UK based on the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition. Entitled Nicked, it was staged in Suffolk on 30 April, as part of the HighTide Festival. You can read a review of it here. And even better, you can see a performance of one of the numbers from the show on YouTube. The song is called Tinderbox and features Labour leader Ed Miliband trying to drive a wedge between Nick Clegg and David Cameron. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to see the entire show. Related Posts:The length of two swordsCoalition Works!On referendumsStrange bedfellowsTempest in a teapot

How the AV referendum killed the republican movement

In an earlier post, I wrote that referendums aren’t very useful means of deciding key policy issues and that the entire referendum campaign on the Alternative Vote has been rather disgraceful. This view has only been reinforced following news today that the No side admits it used completely made-up figures when it claimed adopting AV would cost £250-mn. Of course, this revelation came out on the day of the vote, too late for many who had already voted by postal ballot and who might have voted No in large part because they believed these claims. However, the way in which the referendum on AV has transpired raises another interesting point. If a referendum on a relatively minor issue such as […]

The May 2011 Canadian election under AV

(Note: If you are looking for statistical data re: the 2 May 2011 Canadian federal election, please visit Elections Canada or the Pundits’ Guide to Canadian Federal Elections [which uses Elections Canada data].) I came across a couple of blog posts written by people in the UK looking at what transpired in Monday’s general election and arguing that had said election taken place under the Alternative Vote rather than FPTP, the Conservative party would not have emerged with a majority government. In a previous post, I wrote that my initial impression was that even under AV, the Conservatives would still have emerged with a majority. I hadn’t had a chance to examine riding by riding results, but given how AV […]

The 2011 Canadian Federal election – initial thoughts

(Please see this post for an update – the May 2 election redone using AV.) I will write a more detailed post at some point in the future once final statistics are available. What follows are simply a few quick observations, mostly aimed at UK readers pondering how to vote in the AV referendum. Canada’s Conservative party emerged with a strong majority mandate following yesterday’s vote, winning 167 of the 308 seats in the House of Commons – 54% of the seats. They won this with only 39.6% of the popular vote. The New Democratic Party finished second with 102 seats, 33% of the seats in the House of Commons. They received 30.6% of the vote. The Liberals finished third, […]