Some interesting links and websites

Apologies for the lack of blogging, but real life has been rather busy of late. However, in the interim, here are some links to interesting reports, sites, etc. UK LINKS and SITES Communicating statistics – Not just true, but also fair The UK House of Commons Public Administration Committee has released a report recommending that departmental press officers and government statistics staff should work together much more closely to ensure that press releases give an accurate and meaningful picture of the truth behind the figures. As the Committee Chair, Bernard Jenkins, MP, explained: “Politicians tend to promote the statistics that best present their case. Finding the whole truth about government statistics is not always easy, and it should be. The […]

Electoral reform – not hot with Canadians but still worth pursuing

Canada’s federal Liberal Party is currently in the midst of a leadership race. During a debate held on 19 January 2012, the issue of electoral reform was raised a few times. The party has adopted an official position endorsing preferential voting (or the Alternative Vote), and most of the candidates stated that they backed that option. On Twitter, respected Canadian pollster Nik Nanos tweeted: #LPCldr electoral reform – not likely hot with Canadians – Cdns want to hear about jobs and healthcare. This comment reinforced two points for me. The first is my strong opposition to trying to implement electoral reform via a referendum. Mr. Nanos is entirely correct – the majority of Canadians don’t care about electoral reform. Even […]

On responsible media

In the lead-up to the May 2010 United Kingdom general election, opinion polls showed that in all likelihood, the election would result in a hung, or minority parliament, that is, a parliament in which no single party would have a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. The last hung parliament in the UK had occurred in 1974, and so a hung parliament result in 2010 would be a new experience for many – voters, politicians and the media alike. Consequently, several think tanks in the UK set out to publicly educate both voters and the media. As the Institute for Government noted in a written brief to the UK House of Commons Select Committe on Political and […]

Minority assumptions

At the outset of the most recent Canadian federal election campaign in March of this year, I wrote a post addressing how the concept of coalition government had become almost toxic in Canada. This phenomenon didn’t start this year – it dates back, as the posts states, to events in 2008. The Canadian media has not always helped on this front; there have been far too many op ed pieces dismissing the idea of coalition government as being, if not actually illegal, at least foreign and certainly undesirable (see, for example, my dissection of one such column here). There will be a general election in the Canadian province of Ontario this October. The outcome of the previous election, in 2007, […]

Reactions to e-petitions

The reaction to the UK Government’s introduction of a new e-petitions initiative has been quite interesting. You can read my original post about the e-petitions initiative here. Government House Leader Sir George Young wrote in this piece in the Daily Mail that: The site has been widely welcomed as a realistic way to revitalise public engagement in Parliament. But there have been some who have been concerned by some of the subjects which could end up being debated – for example, the restoration of capital punishment. The last time this was debated – during the passage of the Human Rights Act in 1998 – restoration was rejected by 158 votes. But if lots of people want Parliament to do something […]

Some interesting links

1. Time to salute the post-2010 election Parliament BBC parliamentary correspondent Mark D’Arcy has a good column providing an interesting overview of the current UK Parliament and an assessment of some of the many reforms introduced in the dying days of the previous Parliament and at the outset of this one: “So I’m afraid, as I head off for my holidays, I’m going to indulge in a little optimism. A stronger Parliament is doing a better job. And that is a good thing for the country.” 2. The Death Penalty: A Matter of Emotion, Not Reason With efforts underway by pro-capital punishment forces to force the House to debate the issue by gathering 100,000 signatures on an e-petition, the Spectator’s […]