General Election 2015: Louise Irvine (NHA)

Post length: 507 words, about 2 and a half minutes.


Full name: Louise Irvine
Party: National Health Action Party


Louise Irvine is a GP standing in the South West Surrey constituency on behalf of the National Health Action Party. The NHA is a small party fighting on one basic issue: to save the NHS. The NHA are fielding 12 candidates in the 2015 general election and, as South West Surrey is the current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s constituency, we have one of them. Presumably the other 11 candidates are contesting other high-profile seats.

I have seen more posters and garden signs for Louise than for any other candidate while out and about (for me that’s Farnham town centre and the roads to the east towards Aldershot). This might be a sign that she’s well supported or could simply indicate that the campaign is very vocal. [read more]

Posted on Friday 24th April, 2015 at 8:51 am in Obiter dicta.
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General Election 2015: Mark Webber (UKIP)

Post length: 576 words, about 2 and a half minutes.


Full name: Mark Adrian Webber
Party: United Kingdom Independence Party


We’ve been recieving leaflets and information from UKIP for a long time, well before any of the other parties started campaigning. We’ve also seen them about town — in person and in the form of a poster van — as well as noticing they have been putting flyers under windscreen wipers in nearby car parks. Given that South West Surrey makes up part of Nigel Farage’s South East England European Parliament constituency, it’s not a big surprise to see a lot of UKIP coverage in the area.

Mark Webber himself is not a resident of the constituency, his home address on the nomination notice is Poplar and Limehouse constituency (London). Indeed, at the AGM on 3rd March he was elected chairman of the Tower Hamlets branch of UKIP. [read more]

Posted on Wednesday 22nd April, 2015 at 8:44 am in Obiter dicta.
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General Election 2015: South West Surrey

Post length: 207 words, almost 1 minute.

With the 2015 General Election looming ever closer, nominations closed, polling card received and occasional election communication dropping through the door, I thought I’d spend some time taking a look at each of the candidates standing in my constituency of South West Surrey. Over the course of a number of blog posts I intend to take a look at each of the 7 candidates and their policies as presented to me specifically.

I intend to cover each candidate as their election material drops through my letterbox, although based on previous experience (admittedly not in a general election in this constituency) I suspect I might not get information from all 7 candidates. If this is the case then I will take a look at the remaining candidates in the final couple of weeks of the campaign from my own research. Of course I will update anything I’ve already written with any additional information I receive. [read more]

Posted on Monday 20th April, 2015 at 9:10 am in Obiter dicta.
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Romanian Presidential Election: Europe’s Response

Post length: 683 words, just over 3 minutes.

I posted in November about a letter which I helped Monica write to our local MEPs (and a variation sent to some of the European Commissioners), and updated it a little while later expressing my disappointment that none of those we’d written to had got back to us. I also posted about my disappointment on Twitter, which got a bit more of a response from a couple of our elected representatives. (Interestingly a question I directed at my brother, who works in the office of Richard Corbett, the Deputy Leader of the Labour MEPs, about MEPs response times got a reply from the Labour MEP rather than my initial post. You can draw your own conclusions from that.)

Since then we’ve received two email responses from MEPs, and two letters from European Commissioners. The first email came from Anneliese Dodds on the 3rd December: [read more]

Posted on Monday 12th January, 2015 at 10:03 am in Obiter dicta.
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Your move, Victor

Post length: 1,313 words, almost 6 minutes.

Following Victor Ponta’s defeat to the (presumably soon to be ex-)mayor of Sibiu in Sunday’s second-round runoff presidential election in Romania, questions are bound to be asked regarding his political future.

Ponta has been the country’s Prime Minister since 2012 and has had a somewhat frosty relationship with the outgoing President Traian Băsescu. This conflict often lead to delays and political manoeuvrings playing a large part in new legislation being passed into law. Ponta and his PSD party had hoped that, by winning the presidency as well as holding a majority in government, they could ease this process. It was argued that this would lead to stronger government able to pass the tough legislation required to strengthen the economy (and appease, among others, the IMF).

Ponta has stated he has no reason stand down as Prime Minister, and it is not until 2016 that the country will go to the polls to elect a new government. So what pressures will Ponta be facing right now?

[read more]

Posted on Monday 24th November, 2014 at 9:12 am in Obiter dicta.
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Romanian Presidential Election: A Letter to Europe

Post length: 680 words, just over 3 minutes.

In the wake of the mess of last Sunday’s first round in the Romanian Presidential, I helped Monica to write a letter to our local MEPs asking for their help to ensure that the second round, due to take place on the 16th of November, is carried out in as fair and transparent way as is possible. A slight variation of this was also sent to a few relevant members of the European Commission.

Update Not a single non-automated “please make sure you include your home address” response was received between sending the emails and the 2nd round elections last Sunday (16th November). Not even to say “sorry I can’t help.” This is a very disappointing response from across the political spectrum. I appreciate that MEPs have large areas with lots of constituents, but if they don’t have the staff time to even acknowledge communication from the people who voted for them I would suggest that they really need to look at the organisation of their offices. I may well pursue this, at least with my own party. If I do I’ll certainly keep this blog updated.

[read more]

Posted on Friday 7th November, 2014 at 9:15 am in Obiter dicta.
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Presidential Poster Bingo

Post length: 155 words, about 0 and a half minutes.

Inspired by Bucharest Life’s post about the lack of campaign posters for all but two of the Romanian Presidential candidates, and with an hour to spare around Crângași in Bucharest’s Sector 6 last Friday, I decided to play a little game of Presidential poster bingo. I managed to collect 7 out of a possible 14, and a few funny looks along the way (especially while taking the Ponta photo). Some (Macovei) were harder to spot than others (Tariceanu). [read more]

Posted on Monday 27th October, 2014 at 6:13 pm in Obiter dicta.
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A-Level Politics: Class influence in Voting Behaviour

Post length: 698 words, just over 3 minutes.

One final short AS-Level Politics essay again regarding voting behaviour. This essay talks at greater length about one factor: social class. From 2003 and running to only about 660 words. All of my school work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence.

How Important is class in influencing voting behaviour?

While the it cannot be said that class has no influence over the voting patterns of the electorate, the actual level of this influence is by no means certain.  Political analysts do not agree on how much voting behaviours are influenced by class, and the lines of the affect of class and affect of other factors are by no means clear.  In spite of this, there is no doubt in anyone’s view that class has, traditionally at least, had a role in voting patterns. [read more]

Posted on Monday 7th July, 2014 at 8:17 am in School Work.
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Psephology: if Calder Valley had voted for an MP in 2014

Post length: 3,214 words, about 14 and a half minutes.

Despite a swing to the Labour Party, if the pattern of voting seen when comparing the 2010 local election results (a poll taken at the same time as the last UK general election) to the 2014 local election results is applied to the general election results, the bellweather seat of Calder Valley would remain a Conservative seat.

There are of course a number of caveats when making a comparison of this type, but it seems that had the general election been held on 22nd May 2014 then the Conservative candidate would have been returned to parliament, albeit with a substantially reduced majority. Additionally, it appears that all of the indicators agree with this projected outcome. What follows is my long-form statistical analysis of the situation. The calculations from which I draw my conclusions are available for download at the end. If you do not want to read the full analysis then I suggest you jump straight to the conclusion.

Before I get into the numbers, a little background on the UK Parliament constituency of Calder Valley. Created in 1983 the constituency has historically been a bellweather seat, albeit only having seen three MPs in this time. [read more]

Posted on Tuesday 27th May, 2014 at 6:27 pm in Obiter dicta.
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A-Level Politics: Factors Influencing Voting Behaviours

Post length: 1,279 words, about 5 and a half minutes.

Another AS-Level politics essay, this time regarding the factors which influence the way people vote. Dating from early 2003, this essay runs to around 1200 words. It’s published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence.

Discuss Three Major Factors Which Have Influenced Voting Behaviours

The way in which the media portray politics and policies, a party or individual’s past performance and, and the personality of a leader of a political party are all factors which can greatly influence the way in which individuals vote. It is impossible to absolutely define why people vote the way they do, but there are a number of factors which can be pointed to which have an affect on voting behaviour. [read more]

Posted on Wednesday 26th September, 2012 at 2:30 pm in School Work.
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