Here’s what you could have won – 2015 General Election Results under Proportional Representation

The results are in for yesterday’s General Election. The Conservative majority was a big surprise but also of note is the fact that UKIP tallied almost 4-million votes whilst only getting a single MP. In contrast, the SNP got less than half the number of votes but have over 50 times the number of MPs.

Equally, the Liberal Democrats who were the biggest losers last night with only 8 MPs left actually got 50% more votes than the SNP, last night’s biggest winners.

This is the First Past The Post System in action.

What would the results have looked like under a Proportional Representation system? That’s a method under which MPs are allocated simply based on how many votes each party gets. Here’s a breakdown… Continue reading


Vote Tomorrow (even if you don’t know what for)

In preparation for tomorrow’s general election, I had been planning a spin-free comparison of the key policy differences between the main parties. A simple list of how much each party would spend or cut in what areas, what laws they would change and such like.

Unfortunately, this has proved very difficult and in many cases impossible. And that’s because none of the parties have actually said what they’re going to do. Their manifestos lack even the most fundamental details of how they would allocate money.

The Conservatives, for example, are planning the greatest reduction in spending of the main parties but the policies they detail in their manifesto would result in a net increase in spending. In other words, they’ve told us about the good stuff but not the bad.

Similarly, one of the Labour Party’s key strengths is supposed to be the NHS but they don’t actually say how much they would spend on it. They also detail all the give aways in their manifesto and few of the take-backs.

And before this makes you run off to UKIP or back to the Lib Dems, none of the other parties are any better.

I don’t agree with Russell Brand’s conclusion that people shouldn’t vote but, for anyone intending not to do so, this deliberate obfuscation by all parties is probably reason enough. It is a disservice to democracy and to the parties’ shame.

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What would “English Votes for English Laws” actually entail?

The recent vote on Scottish independence has brought the West Lothian Question back to the fore, most noticeably through debate around the idea of “English votes for English laws”. But why is this an issue and what do the possible solutions look like?

First thing’s first though… What is the West Lothian Question?

The West Lothian Question

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have governing powers devolved from the UK Parliament. They have their own parliaments or assemblies which can vote on and control certain issues, for example, education.

This is fine and good in most people’s eyes. However, it results in the following quirk: continuing with the education example, Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs) can change how education in Scotland works by voting in their own parliament (that’s Scottish politicians voting for Scottish laws). But to change how education in England works, MPs from across all four countries can vote in the UK Parliament. That’s English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs voting on English laws. Why do they get to vote on English laws but not the other way around? That is the unresolved West Lothian Question.

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Lib Dems voted for their country (but their country didn’t vote for them)

Entering into a coalition with the Conservatives in 2010 was the right thing for the Liberal Democrats to do.

This may be anathaema to many: the Lib Dem loyalists who voted Clegg and got Cameron, and the liberal left who dreamed of a Lib-Lab coalition.

But the alternatives were worse: the numbers for a Labour pact weren’t really there, the chemistry apparently lacking and the risk of low credibility with a Prime Minister no one voted for. Meanwhile leaving the Conservatives to form a minority government in a time of recession would have been churlish.

In short, though there may have been plenty of self-interested motivations as well, the Lib Dems did what was best for their country.

In return, the country has taken them on a swift and brutal journey from “I agree with Nick” to #CleggsFault. For a party that polled so high ahead of the 2010 elections, the recent local elections were a huge fall and the EU results far worse. The party has taken a big hit and for what?

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50p tax: plenty of emotion but not a lot of evidence

John Lewis Managing Director Andy Street recently claimed that it was a “proven fact”* that lowering the upper tax rate from 50% to 45% has increased tax revenues. It is not.

But before the left cheers and the right jeers, neither has the opposite been proven. Indeed, it would be difficult to “prove” any such thing. We can, however, at least look at the evidence but first some background

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