2015 Labour Leadership Elections

Post length: 1,027 words, about 4 and a half minutes.

As the Labour leadership campaign rumbles on I find myself torn. There are four candidates standing — Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall — but one has been the subject of the most media attention.

Jeremy Corbyn has excited the media by seemingly being the outsider who has defied the odds to become the hot favourite to win the contest. Along side this Corbyn has got the media’s interest by being a staunch socialist — arguably flying in the face of today’s standard centrist “they’re all the same” image of politicians — what some paint as the party stepping back in time.

From a personal point of view I’ve been in the uncomfortable position recently of finding myself agreeing with Tony Blair a couple of times. Putting aside that people seem to find it strange for an outspoken socialist to be in a strong position to challenge for the leadership of what is supposed to be a party built on socialist foundations, the prospect of Corbyn becoming leader of the party rings alarm bells for the prospect of being elected in the 2020 general election. [read more]

Posted on Monday 17th August, 2015 at 9:43 am in Obiter dicta.
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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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