The Psephology of Scotland (3) – SNP – it could have been even better….

The SNP won 53 of the 73 FPTP seats in the Scottish Parliament. These are the other 20, with the winning party and the margin between them and the SNP. (From the BBC.) Coatbridge and Chryston   2,741 Lab Motherwell and Wishaw  587 Lab Uddingston Bellshill   714 Lab Glasgow Maryhill and S’burn   1,292 Lab Glasgow Pollock     623 Lab Glasgow Provan     2,079 Lab Glasgow Rutherglen       1,779 Lab Orkney   868 Lib Shetland  3,328 Lib Edinburgh North and Leith   595 Lab Cowdenbeath    1,247 Lab Ayr  1,113 Tory Dumfrieshhire   4,274 Lab … Read more

The Economist – finger on the pulse.

I’ve subscribed to the Economist for twenty years. It’s wonderful on the Kurds in Turkey, the latest PNV election results in the Basque Country and anything happening in Quebec. Yesterday it gave us the honour of an article: The double act continues. You get: “In elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly on May 5th, the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein consolidated their positions as the biggest unionist and nationalist party respectively. The DUP’s Peter Robinson (left) and Sinn Fein’s … Read more

Ieuan Wyn to quit as Plaid leader…

The BBC reports on Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones’ decision to quit as leader (for the second time) sometime in the next two and a half years. From Ieuan: “I have also witnessed many historic and momentous events during that period, not least leading the party into government for the first time in its 86-year history and the referendum on law-making powers,” Also: “The party obviously needs time to reflect on the results, look long and hard at our message, … Read more

The Psephology of Scotland (2) – Scottish Labour

Start with a few facts: 2007 Constituency results for Scottish Labour – 648,374, 32.2% 2011 Constituency results for Scottish Labour – 630,461, 31.7% So down 18,000 votes and 0.5%. 2007 Regional List results for Scottish Labour – 595,415, 29.2% 2011 Regional List results for Scottish Labour – 523,559, 26.3% So down 72,000 and 2.9% 2007 Constituency List differential – (53,000) 2011 Constituency List differential – (107,000) As a comparison for the SNP: 2007 Constituency List differential – (31,000) 2011 Constituency … Read more

Council Results

It seems like the BBC is making an effort: Latest Results As at 14.35  15.50 we have: At 19.45..and at 23.30. Not far off at 10.25 Tuesday. 11.25 30 odd seats to go. At 13.30 – 18 seats to go..15.00 9 to go…Finally …(I’ll put in 2005 figures: – from Nicholas Whyte) DUP 62 73 114 141 162 169 174 175 175 Sinn Fein 42 54 92 113 128 132 137 138 UUP 17 26 52 71 91 94 95 … Read more

At least now, the UUP’s blinkers will probably come off

The last time a major Unionist party was lead by anyone from west of Portadown it was Harry West in in 1970’s. That was not a happy period of the UUP’s history. The sense of ‘otherness’ that exists amongst border Unionists is well known, researched and documented. It is not a fictional notion dreamed up to further an argument, it is fair to say they are a different sort of Unionist. It is for that reason that the queston “does … Read more

Some comfort for everyone in Wales…

The results from the BBC are here. along with the usual colourful map. Complicated little country are we not? So it’s: Labour 30 (+4) Conservative 14 (+2) Plaid Cymru 11 (-4) Liberal Democrat 5 (-1) I’ve refrained from posting on Wales for the last few weeks as I had a growing feeling of impending doom from a Plaid perspective. A few reasons. 1) The top up list system is theoretically proportional but in practice (as with your 6th seats in … Read more

Why are you lot so useless at counting stuff?

This is absurd. It’s Saturday morning and nowhere near. Something must be done. Seriously I know preferences etc. make it cumbersome but surely it’s time for technology to help. Input every vote into a computer and the elimination etc. stuff could be done in seconds. DewiWelsh Nationalist. Rugby Fan. Know a bit about History and Railways…

The Death of AV

The AV referendum has been lost, and by a large margin. More people than expected turned out (41%) and of those 69% were against and only 31% for the change. The BBC’s political correspondent Ross Hawkins has an analysis of the two campaigns here. Essentially the Yes campaign argument is that they were defeated by the campaigning power of the Prime Minister; a hostile press and a tough opposing campaign. Some of that is true and the Liberal Democrats allege … Read more

Last astonishing Scottish Poll

STV report an incredible set of figures in the last pre-election poll: “The poll, conducted for STV News and likely to be the last before polling day, shows the Nationalists gaining enough of the vote for 61 seats, 14 more than they had in the last parliamentary session. Meanwhile, the poll indicates a major slump in support for Scottish Labour, with Iain Gray’s party taking a total of 33 seats.” Can this type of outcome really happen? (The poll asked … Read more

Some surprising SNP support emerges…

The Scotland on Sunday comes out of the closet with an editorial of some ferocity: “…The fact is that Labour’s campaign has been appallingly negative and treated the electorate with contempt. Both main thrusts of its campaign have been deceptive and can only have been constructed against a view that we, the electorate, are stupid. Initially Iain Gray, in a shameless attempt to re-create their success at the Westminster elections last year, again raised the spectre of Thatcherism and the … Read more

Milliband, Balls and Gray (and Ulster mercenaries..).. try some Rough Wooing…

As the latest opinion polls, quoted on Political Betting, begin to indicate a shift directly to the SNP from Scottish Labour, Labour react. That’s from Hamish MacDonell in the Spectator: Can Ed Miliband and Ed Balls save Labour in Scotland? The two Labour heavyweights have decided to move in to rescue their party’s disastrous campaign in Scotland — with Balls being sent up north to sharpen his party’s teeth. A desperate measure for a desperate situation: Labour has not only … Read more

A thought on the Alliance Party Manifesto

The Alliance Manifesto is certainly the longest of any produced.  In the summary on page five they commit to: Introduce transparency around political donations What interests me is, has anyone gotten around to asking Alliance if any part of their manifesto is brought to us courtesy of money changing hands? Seems a fair question in the circumstances. Michael ShillidayI used to write and get paid, now I read and don’t. Former UUP staffer, currently living in London. @mjshilliday

The AV Showdown – Belfast Skeptics Alternative Vote Debate

What is AV The Alternative Vote (AV) is very much like First-Past-the-Post (FPTP). Like FPTP, it is used to elect representatives for single-member constituencies, except that rather than simply marking one solitary ‘X’ on the ballot paper, the voter has the chance to rank the candidates on offer. The voter thus puts a ‘1′ by their first-preference candidate, and can continue, if they wish, to put a ‘2′ by their second-preference, and so on, until they don’t care any more … Read more

Tories can be nice people…?

Hasn’t the world changed recently. According to my Mam this lot used to eat Miners’ babies for breakfast…. Welsh Tory manifesto. Wales is blessed with a vibrant heritage, two national languages and an outstanding sporting tradition. Our national community was among the first to emerge in Europe. We have a literary tradition that dates back to the sixth century. Yet while devolution has brought renewed self-confidence to Wales, successive Labour-led WAGs have failed to take enough pride in Welsh cultural … Read more

An honest broker?

Gerry Adams TD has been calling for talks with those that killed PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr. He, like his entire party, have been absolute and unambiguous in their comdemnation of those involved but Adams at least has now expanded his party’s attack to other groups that clearly have no connection to the death. One of these groups, éirígí, has responded and as a result revealed while SF claim a willingness to have discussions on republicanism with those currently and actively engaged in armed actions they … Read more

Double jobbing or hedging bets #AE11

One of the issues which became a subject of heated debate at the Newcastle hustings was double jobbing. A significant number of the prospective MLAs for South Down are also bidding to be returned as councillors – a pattern which is repeated right across Northern Ireland. Of course, this would simply continue the current widespread practice of dual mandates at local council and Assembly levels which, at one level, is uncontroversial. For instance, at the hustings, the SDLP’s Eamonn O’Neill … Read more

Putting you money where your mouth is harder than talking about it

 I see that two ” celebrity” commentators with radical reform programmes have ducked out of standing for the Dail at this time of crisis and upheaval. This will be a gift to the cynics who shout “throw the bastards out” at TDs while sneering at anyone outside who believes that something can be done. Economist and stage performer David McWilliams offers his fans a measely two liner. Poor show David.  By contrast, Fintan O’Toole gives a full and frank explanation, … Read more

The next Coalition- the Irish people have a right to know in advance what it stands for

Away from the ball-by ball commentary on the crisis, what sort of coalition would Fine Gael and Labour make? A pre-election pact looks improbable, despite the depth of the political and financial crisis. At first blush, competition between them for the leading role could leave voters guessing until the last minute. Prospects for firm government might appear slim. Labour will bid to overhaul Fine Gael at the polls. For the first time Labour enjoys the lead of the party polls … Read more

Railroad governance: scalded to death by the steam

For once the trainwreck metaphor isn’t overworked when you cast your eye across the piled-up carnage of the current Fianna Fáil-led coalition. It applies equally well to their reduction to the status of front of house staff for the ECB with little fiscal freedom of manoeuvre, or any number of unedifying episodes involving bankers and developers and the two premier league exponents of the parish pump, Lowry and Healy-Rae, the coalition’s guarantors, and, in some respects, the public face of it’s moral compass. … Read more