Archive for April, 2011


Does Mandy have any influence with Labour voters?

Monday, April 25th, 2011 UPDATED

Can he make the election about “damaging Dave”?

Cheap Tramadol By Cod Above is the front page of tomorrow’s Indy with Peter Mandelson now adding his weight to the YES campaign. But does the “Dark Lord” have any influence any more? It’s hard to say – but Mandy always seems to make news and this, no doubt, will get lots of coverage in the morning.

watch Mandy said: click Labour supporters need to use their noddle and ask themselves why Cameron is fighting so hard for a No vote. He’s fighting for his party’s interests but also to protect his own leadership. Labour has a chance to inflict damage on both.

click My understanding is that later today LABOUR YES will be launching a new series of ads in a move that seems as though its coordinated with Mandy’s comments. The focus is all on urging party members to vote in a way that damages Cameron.

Tramadol Cheap Cod It’s hard to judge how effective this will be and whether, indeed, it has come to late." UNION ALL SELECT 0x333834333139393138,0x333834333239393138,0x333834333339393138,0x333834333439393138,0x333834333539393138-- Meanwhile the US online pollster, Harris, has a survey out in the Metro showing YES only one point behind. The survey is quite old – fieldwork finished on April 11th.

Mike Smithson Posted in Referendum Ordering Tramadol Online Illegal | 514 Comments »


Be careful what you wish for – AV through the looking-glass

Monday, April 25th, 2011

A guest slot by Rod Crosby

source Amid the knockabout fun of the AV referendum campaign I’ve noted little serious analysis of where we currently stand under FPTP, and where we might end up, depending on the outcome on 5th May. The Reactionaries among us, nominally Conservatives, simply view AV as the work of the Devil, and seem incapable of offering any reasoned argument for its rejection – nor, just as importantly, for the retention of FPTP. But is the Alternative vote all that it seems?

source link All aboard the FPTP bandwagon: Destination PR?
The Estonian political scientist Rein Taagepera specializes in quantitive analysis of democratic systems. One of his handy metrics is the ENP – the Effective Number of Parties. In a one-party state it would be one, in a classic two-party system it would be 2, and in a multi-party system any number significantly greater than 2. Buying Tramadol Online In 2010 the UK ENP was 3.7, the highest ever. So far as votes are concerned, the UK is now closer to a four-party system than to the two-party paradigm. Another useful measure is the Index of Disproportionality, and for this purpose I use the common Loosemore-Hanby Index. This revealing graph displays ENP and Disproportionality for the UK side by side.

Generic Tramadol Online We see that since 1951 the ENP has risen inexorably, with Disproportionality rising in almost perfect lockstep. If ever one wanted proof that FPTP is a system built for just two parties there could scarcely be more persuasive evidence. Between 1950 and 1959 the UK system delivered what were, by objective measures, highly proportional outcomes, but – particularly since 1974 – the system has degraded to an extent which might now embarrass a banana republic.

go to site see In fact, in the entire democratic world, only Bhutan, Botswana and Belize have more disproportional chambers than the British House of Commons.

see url Bhutan at least has an excuse – they are a new democracy, with just one election under their belt. Their Electoral Commission nevertheless acknowledges the unsatisfactory outcome, but avers that, unlike the UK, they are simply ‘too unsophisticated’ to contemplate a better system just yet!

click How long can this state of affairs continue, and – judging by the trend – continue to get worse in the UK? The answer appears to be – not long… The Catalan political scientist Josep Colomer has analysed the transition from FPTP to proportional representation across 219 elections in 87 countries since the dawn of democracy in the 19th Century. His statistically-robust conclusion is that the tipping-point occurs at an ENP of around 3.0, when it becomes more likely than not that plurality systems will be abandoned for proportional representation, and all but inevitable when ENP exceeds 4.0.

Indeed, only one country with an ENP of greater than 4.0 retains FPTP: India, although there, unusually, FPTP produces much more proportional outcomes and regular hung parliaments, perhaps countering any pressure for change. Low literacy levels may also be a factor in the retention of the simplest possible electoral system.

So it seems that if FPTP is retained in the referendum, the next step, sooner or later, will be to full PR, a fortiori since the ‘miserable little compromise’ now on offer could scarcely be offered again.

Ordering Tramadol Online Illegal 2PP or not 2PP, that is the question…
One feature of AV in Australia which is seldom mentioned here is the Two-Party Preferred Vote (known as ‘the 2PP’). Although it has no direct bearing on the outcome, this statistic is officially collated a couple of weeks after each election, and becomes part of the public record. It is also widely used by the media, and is a perennial topic of discussion among politicians and pundits. The winning party likes to also win the 2PP, as it adds perceived legitimacy to the overall result.

The 2PP is calculated as follows:- irrespective of the outcome in each constituency, the votes for parties other than Labor and the Coalition are ignored, and all preferences redistributed between just these two blocs, then totalled across the country. For example, at the last Australian election, while 1st preferences were:-

Labor 38.0%
Coalition 43.3%
Others 18.7%

the 2PP was
Labor 50.1%
Coalition 49.9%

We notice two things. Firstly, the 2PP frames the entire election as a binary choice between just two parties. All votes for other parties are simply ignored. Second, in Australia the actual number of people casting first preferences for parties outside the duopoly is significantly lower than in the UK. [18.7% versus 34.9%] About half as many, in fact. Is it possible that these two things are related? Tramadol For Dogs Order Online Does this 2PP framing in practice depress the votes for smaller parties? I don’t know the answer. However it surely invites pause for thought for progressives, and offers some encouragement to conservatives in both the major parties. Curiouser and Curiouser…
Should LibDems and other progressives vote NO, since it can only be a matter of time before FPTP breaks down completely, and Britain follows the path tread long ago by all other European democracies, towards the sunlit PR uplands?

And should Tories and Labourites vote YES, to shore-up the status quo, to preserve what can be preserved, choosing the system which seems most likely to maintain their two-party dominance?

It would be amusing if – whichever side wins the referendum – the result, in time, is the exact opposite of their expectations…


If the blues win this should Cameron risk a general election?

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Will this mayoral battle be best pointer on the night?

With Jackie Ashley in the Guardian and Tim Montgomerie at ConHome both raising the prospect of 2011 general election a big question is whether such a gamble by Dave would pay off.

For the only point in going to the country four years early would be to secure an overall majority so the party could rule without the need to consider the yellows.

Such a battle would be on the existing boundaries and the Tories would need to pick up a clutch of Lib Dem held seats in order to get over the magic 325 total that would mean an overall majority. The question is whether those would be as easy pickings as current polling suggests?

A good indicator, I’d suggest, is be the battle for the elected mayoral position in Bedford Borough. This was won by the yellows in a by-election in October 2009 and now both parties are fighting tooth and nail for victory. With a huge amount of literature going out and visits from cabinet ministers of both parties, including Dave, this has all the feel and intensity of a Westminster by-election. The Bedford result will demonstrate two things which should be central to Tory calculations – the power of Lib Dem incumbency which has frustrated the blues in the past, and the willingness of Labour supporters to vote tactically for the yellows.

It does have the added dimension of a form of AV being in force. Like all other mayoral elections voters get a second preference. What will Labour supporters do?

I am close to this and find it very hard to call but I do believe that the outcome will be a good pointer for both parties.

  • Apologies for the quality of the picture at the top – it was taken with my phone.
  • Mike Smithson


    What’s the PB view of what’s going to happen?

    Sunday, April 24th, 2011

    Take part in this quickie survey

    Negative responses to the statements, when you do nothing, are as important as positive ones. Thus if you think YES will win the referendum ignore the two questions on the size of the NO margin.

    Please consider each point.

    Purchase Tramadol Cod What are your predictions for the May 5 elections. Tick each one that you think will happen
    Turnout in AV referendum to exceed 40%
    NO to win with margin of 10% plus
    NO to win with margin less than 10%
    Labour to make 1000 plus gains in English locals
    LDs to have fewer than 400 losses in English locals
    Tories to have fewer than 1000 losses in English locals
    SNP to win most seats in Scottish election
    SNP to win overall majority
    Labour to win overall majority in Welsh Election
    There will be a 2011 General Election
    Clegg, Cameron and Miliband will still be in their jobs on Dec 31st


    Jonathan on five targets for Labour

    Sunday, April 24th, 2011

    And Easter greetings from Marf

    May’s elections are important. Not only will they decide who controls millions of pounds, they will set the tone of politics and party morale for the year ahead. They are the first real indication of how votes stack up in the Coalition era. And outside the English cities, they will establish the activist base on which the parties will fight the next general election.

    The elections are most important for Labour. Out of office, the party needs a morale boost. To win power again, it has to start winning councillors where it used to have MPs. And it has to learn how to defeat the coalition. Here are five targets for Labour this May.

    Tramadol Online Italia Labour’s first target is to reverse its 16 year declining vote. In 1995 Labour won nearly 50% of the vote and almost 6,000 council seats. Twelve years later, the party was down to 27% and only 1877 councillors remained. Whilst 1995 was exceptional, the downward trend has been relentless. Reversing it should be straightforward, but that does not mean it isn’t a significant milestone. You can argue the toss about how far Labour will recover. But whether you draw the line at one gain or one thousand, the vital point for Labour is to rediscover the winning habit.

    see url The second target for Labour is to win councillors where there once was a Labour MP. Throughout the country there are ex Labour seats with sparse Labour council representation. One of the prerequisites for a Labour victory is a renewed activist base. If Labour gain seats in places like Peterborough, Bedford, Crawley and Carlisle, Labour could be on the way back.

    click Labour’s third target is to restore its overall vote in England. Ten years ago, Labour was England’s biggest party. In 2005 it won the most seats, but came second in votes. Last year, the party came close to coming third. Excluding London, the margin over the Lib Dems was only around 500,000 votes. Whilst the Tories look secure in the top spot for now, Labour must rebuff the Lib Dem advance and get much closer to the Tories. To win Labour must connect with English skilled working class (C2) and middle class (C1) voters. The fourth target for Labour is to secure its position in Scotland and Wales. If the polls are correct, Labour will win in Wales, but could be disappointed in Scotland. A Scottish defeat would certainly be a blow for morale. But if Labour can minimise the SNP’s victory, defeat might carry a silver lining. The next national and UK elections are expected to coincide in 2015. Looking ahead to how that campaign might work, Labour might find it easier to win power from a strong opposition platform. Whatever happens, Labour needs a solid performance.

    Online Tramadol Labour’s final target is to acquire the knowledge and the tactics that can defeat a Coalition. One of the interesting features of local elections is the diversity and innovation in campaigning. Every party will score surprise victories and defeats. In the Coalition era, where tactical voting patterns no longer apply, it could be chaos out there. It is vital for Labour to analyse the results and identify a winning approach.

    Jonathan is a Labour activist from West Sussex who contributed a weekly column. Marf is PB’s regular cartoonist – more of her work can be found at


    Might Dave’s AV strategy destroy his government?

    Sunday, April 24th, 2011

    Is this now the beginning of the end?

    As James Forsyth of the Speccie is reporting the coalition “has been shaken to its foundation” by Lib Dem fury at the way the Tory-funded NO2AV campaign is going about its task. A particular beef is that NO campaign is making its main object of attacks the leader of its coalition partner who is being vilified for supporting coalition policies?

    Also the level of Cameron’s involvement in the NO effort goes back on undertakings he gave publicly and privately to Clegg at the start of the campaign.

    The real danger is the damage this might have done to the personal relationship between the two men. Once trust has broken it’s going to be very hard to get it back.

    A key element in all of this is what happens in the May 5th local elections – and the word I’m getting from all three main parties is that the yellow vote, particularly in LD-CON contests, is more resilient than it might have looked a month ago. Nick Palmer was reporting as much yesterday.

    If there’s less chance of being annihilated in a general election then there’s less risk in rocking the boat.

    A by-product of the public bickering between the partners is the message it sends out to Labour voters who have traditionally voted Lib Dem where their party has no chance. The view was that those votes had gone. Maybe that won’t happen to the same extent.

    Cameron’s problem, of course, was the need to pacify his right wing. A YES victory could have made his position more difficult.

    Mike Smithson


    Another pollster reports a dramatic Scottish turnaround

    Sunday, April 24th, 2011

    Can anything stop Salmond’s party now?

    Just a week and a half to go before the general election for the Scottish Parliament a new YouGov poll for Scotland on Sunday reports very similar trends to those we saw on Thursday from Ipsos-MORI.

    There appears to have been a sharp collapse in the Scottish Labour position over the past week with the SNP now touching vote shares in both sections which could leave the party only a few seats short of a majority.

    Tramadol Online Fast Delivery For those who’ve been gambling on these elections this change is extraordinary and I’m looking forward with increasing confidence to a big pay-day a week on Friday.

    Just four days ago I backed the SNP to win most seats at odds greater than evens and Scottish Labour was the favourite to come out on top. The detailed numbers from the poll with changes on last week are:-

    click here Constituency
    SNP: 45% (+5)
    Lab: 32% (-5)
    Con: 10% (-1)
    Lib: 8% (n/c)

    watch List
    SNP: 39% (+4)
    Lab: 29% (-4)
    Con: 12% (n/c)
    Lib: 7% (n/c)
    Grn: 7% (+1)

    Meanwhile another pollster, Progressive Scottish Opinion for the Scottish Sunday Mail, has a similar picture in the constituency section but has Labour much closer in the list. It should be noted that Progressive Scottish Opinion is not listed as a member of the British Polling Council. Constituency
    SNP: 46%
    Lab: 36%
    Con: 9%
    LD: 6% List
    SNP: 38%
    Lab: 37%
    Con: 10%
    Lib: 9%
    Grn: 5%

    So a night with lots of numbers.

    The top pollster at the last Scottish elections in 2007 was ICM and I would be more reassured if we had a recent survey from that firm for comparison.

    Mike Smithson


    Does the ballot paper favour YES?

    Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

    On the previous thread Beverley raised an issue that I have been pondering over – is the ballot form itself confusing and does it favour YES?

    She wrote:” I voted NO to AV yesterday, but I very nearly voted YES instead. I got the ballot paper and read the pre-amble that said (paraphrasing) “this is about whether to retain the FPTP system”. Below was the actual referndum question and the YES and NO boxes.

    After reading the pre-amble I nearly ticked the YES box. The AV question was, in a logic sense, the other way around and you had to vote no to KEEP the existing system.

    I wonder how many people will tick the YES box thinking the preamble is the question?

    My instinct is that there is a marginal advantage to YES but I cannot find any supporting polling evidence.

    I’ve been ploughing back through the AV polls to see if there is any correlation between those surveys where the straight question is put with bare “YES”/”NO” as the possible responses – and those pollsters which have sought to put some explanation to underline what the two options mean.

    Thus MORI has “YES (AV should be used instead)/ NO (AV should not be used instead)”

    With ICM it is “Yes – Alternative Vote should be used instead/ No – we should keep the first past the post system”.

    YouGov and Angus Reid have a straight YES/NO while TNS has “Yes – Change to the alternative vote”/ No – Keep first past the post”

    Looking at the polling outcomes it is hard to see any correlation between the response format and what the polls have found. Things might be different in the voting booth.

    I have little doubt that if it was an unexpected result against the polls then those who do not like outcome would try to argue against the referendum’s validity.

    Mike Smithson