Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: #GE2015: Proper Mad

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  • izogi, in reply to Steve Todd,

    This proposal would likely result in show ponies and ex-MPs (who only want to be mayor) baulking at standing for mayor, because, in most cases, they will have no interest in what they would regard as the consolation prize of being a councillor, should they be unsuccessful in their tilt at the mayoralty.

    I can see that it might be less convenient for a show pony to need to win a position on council. But assuming they can comfortably do so, is there some reason why the show ponies wouldn't simply resign, and let in the next council candidate, if they weren't also elected mayor?

    People already vote for show ponies under the current system. I'm not sure why they'd not do the same just because the candidate has declared, publicly, that they'd not remain a councillor if they don't make the top job. Especially if STV makes it easy for voters to have indicated their next preferred council candidate anyway.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Last one term government in the UK was the Conservatives 1970-1974 ???

    I’m relying on wikipedia for this. That’s 40+ years… [off to look at other countries].

    New Zealand: Labour 1972-1975. That’s 40 years since it’s happened here.

    Canada: Liberal Party 1980-1984. 31 years.

    Australia: 1974??? help me out. That's 41 years.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin, in reply to Caleb D'Anvers,

    Soft in the sense I think they thought they would do a bit better

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Apols… carrying on this one man team talk here….

    Last 1 term government in the UK was the Conservatives 1970-1974 That’s 40+ years.

    New Zealand: Labour 1972-1975. That’s 40 years.

    Canada: Liberal Party 1980-1984. 31 years.

    Australia: 1974? help me out. That’s 41 years.

    USA: (presidential) Democrats (Jimmy Carter 76-80). So that’s 35 years and counting. The previous one term president/party was some bloke called Grover Cleveland 1884-1888.

    The conclusion I can make is that you have to be an utter abomination for people to not want to return you for another chance to completely balls things up further. So don’t go shoving your head up your arse too soon.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall,

    Boris Johnson seems like a shoo-in for tory leadership. If he waits until 2020, labour will have to wait until 2025 for the next chance. Boris is catnip for voters.

    If the average MP age is still over 50, current opposition MPs face the prospect of never being in power.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Yamis,

    New Zealand: Labour 1972-1975. That’s 40 years.

    And that was a year after the sudden death of a fairly charismatic Prime Minister. Probably not the only reason for the loss, but hard to discount as significant.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    Our Kennedy assassination. Norm Kirk's strange death seems like poisoning. Perhaps I should have said 'our Arafat'. For his loss set us back decades. Hopefully the Tories don't get a majority or there will be despair. I'm enjoying the squirming English press denying the SNP vote doesn't mean the majority want to get rid of English rule. That referendum seems like yesterday - maybe they just want local representation at a national level though. And the Northern Irish voting Tory is interesting too. It's been an educational election but I'm not sure I'd like to live there right now.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall, in reply to Andre,

    They have a majority (331).

    Yamis that's a good point. So every second election is more of a "mid term"..

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Andre,

    That referendum seems like yesterday

    Perhaps a month or two too soon as far as the 'yes' camp is concerned. It seems that the momentum of the pendulum is swinging Scotland towards independence, or a variant thereof. If Scotland wants to stay in the EU, but England wants to leave (now that the tories are back in, there'll be a refurendum in 2017), I can't see the union holding together.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Ieuan Wickham, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Your post seems to imply that 'Labour getting Daleked in Scotland' was a last-minute surprise - but that was part of the polling all the way through the last few weeks that drove the aforementioned headlines. Polling that, incidentally, was closing as the day drew near.

    There's an article somewhere (sorry, can't source at the moment) that talks about the Conservatives saying that the rise of SNP served to encourage their stay-at-home voters to get out and vote. Ditto Labour (Cheltenham?) saying that the same had turned off wavering Labour supporters. Whether either of these are actually true is anyone's guess.

    It's a bit more complicated than 'rabid right-wing press sabotages election for Labour' but it seems to me that the implications of the Scottish referendum have not yet played out.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Ieuan Wickham,

    Your post seems to imply that ‘Labour getting Daleked in Scotland’ was a last-minute surprise

    First, a cheerful PAS welcome Ieuan! I can understand that read, but of course it wasn’t a surprise that the SNP was going to have a very good night. But in fairness, when that BBC exit poll dropped Nicola Sturgeon was (rightly) highly skeptical and – perhaps for the first and last time ever – singing from the same hymnbook as David Cameron: “Very nice, if true – but let’s all calm down and take nothing for granted." (I think most pollsters should, but probably won't, be signing on come Monday morning. It's simply bizarre how badly wrong they got it, but again blaming Rupert Murdoch is just lazy and self-serving ideology.)

    It’s a bit more complicated than ‘rabid right-wing press sabotages election for Labour’ but it seems to me that the implications of the Scottish referendum have not yet played out.

    No disagreement from me. I’m listening to pro-Union but not completely unhinged Scottish author Alex Massie on National Radio right now. We both agree with you – and it’s going to be interesting times ahead on both sides. (I’m wondering when someone is going to ask Sturgeon, for example, if she still holds the view she had earlier this weak that any British Government without Scottish MPs in it is “illegitimate.” Not the best starting point for forming a functional relationship in Westminster, you might think.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to izogi,

    I was 12 when the family emigrated from the UK to NZ. We had endured months of power cuts as the Electrical Workers Union and the Miners Union had been locked in a pissing contest with Government.

    Even those of us who sympathised with the workers (there was much community support for striking miners) realised that a point was reached where it had gone beyond a wages and conditions battle, but had morphed into something else.

    I was twelve...so sorry, can't define the why and wherefore....but there was a shift from support to, well, fear and despair.

    So, we come out here, and Labour was in, and Kirk was king. BUT....it seemed that everytime there was a telly or radio interview about industrial relations....there was a whingeing pommy accent delivering the message.

    I've often wondered if they were on the same plane.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1335 posts Report Reply

  • carrie onn,

    It's said the best electoral system is the one that gets your preferred choice into power.

    I think the UK result is the right one for stability as Key's re-election was here.

    I'm also glad that scary UKIP outfit has been largely sidelined....another plus for their first past the post method,

    Since May 2015 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall,

    Labour and Tory voters would say that, yes.

    Replacing FPP is "like getting turkeys to vote for Christmas".

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The Mili Vanili Band
    Is this what happens when the fans discover you're lip-synching to David Axelrod's vocals?
    While Crosby stills gnashing young!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7866 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    the punishment fits the grime...
    I Know STV, MMP and FPP
    what's this PFFFT system Key goes on about?
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7866 posts Report Reply

  • JonathanM,

    Regarding the polling:

    http://news.sky.com/story/1480319/inquiry-to-be-held-into-election-poll-accuracy

    Suggestions of herding effect - not publishing polls that disagree. This seemed to be the case, with variation around the polls reducing significantly in the last few days.

    Also interesting is the FPTP nature of things. If it had been PR then Conservatives+UKIP would have less of a majority than the Conservatives alone have under FPTP, even with UKIP picking up a further 81 seats.

    Since Jul 2012 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Todd, in reply to izogi,

    But assuming they can comfortably do so, is there some reason why the show ponies wouldn’t simply resign, and let in the next council candidate, if they weren’t also elected mayor?

    Show ponies who weren’t also elected mayor could indeed “simply resign”, but that would not “let in the next council candidate”. Under the current local electoral law, it would result in a by-election. The council and ratepayers would not be happy about that. (Remember, under my proposal, the councillor vote-count is carried out first. Currently, it is the other way round.) In addition, the show pony will be seen as having duped the voters, thereby almost certainly damaging his or her future political ambitions.

    Furthermore, candidates for council campaign for votes by stating what they intend to do for their ward / city or district. If they declare that they will promptly resign from council if they do not also win the mayoralty, they will be seen not only as holding the voters to ransom, but also as not being genuinely committed to “serving the people” / the best interests of the city or district. They would rightly be seen as just wanting to “trough” it; of merely wanting to further their own selfish ambitions. Under such circumstances, they would, in all likelihood, not be elected to council and therefore would be withdrawn from the subsequent mayoral vote-count.

    So, yes, show ponies might well act in the way you suggest, first or second time round, under the new system, but perceived adverse political consequences would prevent such actions, or result in a decision not to put oneself forward for election. I’m quite sure that, in time, the system would settle down and operate in the manner suggested in my previous post – well, that would be my expectation anyway.

    You have also obliquely alluded to the issue of how councillors elected by STV should be replaced when vacancies occur.

    Under STV, there is actually no need for by-elections; vacancies should be filled by a recount of all the votes cast, with the other candidates who were elected at the original election being guarded (against defeat). (The STV calculator is not currently programmed to perform such recounts, but could easily be so.) This is essentially what you are suggesting when you say “Especially if STV makes it easy for voters to have indicated their next preferred council candidate anyway.” (It is not sufficient simply to “let in the next council candidate”; to provide for the runner-up candidate at the original election to be appointed to the vacancy, because under the transferable voting system that STV is, the runner-up candidate may not be the one the voters would have elected instead, had the vacating member not stood at the original election.)

    In this regard, look at what is happening in Palmerston North right now. A sitting councillor (Grant Smith) was elected mayor in a by-election to replace Jono Naylor (now a List MP). However, the election of the 15 councillors in October 2013 was city-wide (at-large), not from several wards. That meant, under STV, the quota for election that each successful candidate had to attain, was 6.25% of the votes cast (votes / 16). (For the record, well done Palmerston North.)

    In the councillor by-election to replace Smith that is currently under way (and which concludes next Saturday, the 16th), the successful candidate must attain 50% of votes cast, plus 1. In other words, a candidate elected by a majority will replace a candidate elected by proportional representation. That could well mean that a candidate is elected next Saturday who is politically opposed to Smith, thereby frustrating the will of the people at the original election in 2013.

    A recount of the votes cast in the original election would ensure that a candidate elected by PR was replaced by a candidate who is elevated to council under the same PR conditions. Should that candidate be politically opposed to the vacating member, then so be it. After all, the replacement councillor is highly likely to be the candidate who would have been elected at the original election had the vacating member not also stood.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Ieuan Wickham, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Hah, but Dumfries is still in Scotland... and one could argue that not so much has changed, if one's position were that LD ceased to represent Scotland about 5 years ago when it supported a Conservative government. Nevertheless, Mr Cameron now has a rather vexed Scottish question to address.

    'Lazy' I'll give you, because as in NZ, Labour in the UK has some hard thinking to do about the many and varied ways in which it messed up. But I'm unclear how blaming Rupert is 'self-serving'. As well blame the wind for blowing - even if it wasn't the Sun wot won it. 'Self-defeating' might be closer to the mark. And it's not like Labour didn't have plenty of warning that Scotland was going SNP generally - so add 'myopic' to the list.

    UKIP is another interesting story. 12% and one MP - are those 12% genuine supporters or are they a protest vote? Would that number have been higher if they weren't worried about splitting the right vote and letting labour in? I need to do some research (but I suspect someone else needs to first).

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Two interesting pieces about the influencers. First the Guardian on the influence of Crosby Textor http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/08/lynton-crosby-wedge-politics-general-election-tories

    And Russell Brand speaks up for the need for compassion as there is going to be a lot of meanness.


    Wonder who will have the most influence by the time of the next UK election?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3187 posts Report Reply

  • Conrad Heine,

    The scale of the victory was a shock. But the poison pill Labour swallowed for the Tories - delivering to Scotland the pre-referendum devo-max pledge, with only Labour having something to lose from the Tories' subsequent shifting of the goalposts - put Miliband on the back foot well before the start of the campaign. The Tories' playing of the SNP-Red Ed fear factor followed on from the divide-and-rule flavour of their austerity programme, now likely to go high-octane. And Labour, it must be said, let the Tories drive the campaign agenda. Still, there's entertainment ahead (we'll need it) in seeing how the Scottish and European questions are handled, and in watching UKIP and the Greens find common cause on electoral reform.

    London/New Zealand • Since Mar 2008 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Jen Ferguson, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Is Russell Brand *still* talking? Frankly, after all his idiotic "don't vote" BS, doing a U turn at the last minute after it was too late for anyone to register, he should take himself back to the rock from under which he crept. (Still, rather him than Satan's own spin doctor Lynton Crosby, I guess.)

    Peckham Rye, London • Since Jan 2007 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Jen Ferguson,

    Is Russell Brand *still* talking?... he should take himself back to the rock from under which he crept.

    And what about those horrid occupy types. Just imagine the dry cleaning bills if they'd had their way.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4590 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Two interesting pieces about the influencers. First the Guardian on the influence of Crosby Textor

    And here's the Guardian leader, which really gets to fashionable bogeyman-free heart of where it went so badly wrong for Labour:

    In trying to make sense of a defeat on a scale that so few expected, one moment of the short election campaign stands out in retrospective significance. Mr Miliband’s battering at the hands of a Question Time audience about Labour’s record on public expenditure revealed a failure that traces right back to 2010. Relieved of the burdens of office and with another leader walking away within days of defeat, Labour indulged in rather introverted discussion about its next leader. It missed the critical opportunity to take on the coalition narrative that Britain had been left bust by excessive social expenditure, as opposed to being bankrupted by the bankers. It then compounded the error by failing to maintain a consistent, intelligible message about how Britain might grow its way out of debt.

    On top of this failure of political direction came a failure of strategy. There was a certain on-paper plausibility to the calculation that envisaged that Labour could creep over the line with 35% of the vote, by holding on to all of Gordon Brown’s 2010 vote and then adding a chunk of disillusioned Lib Dems. Some extra voters were won over, but nothing like enough. Others flaked off to Ukip, the Greens and above all the Scottish Nationalists, while the Lib Dem deserters did not in the end come more or less en masse to Labour as had been assumed, but were instead shared with the Conservatives. As the Democrats have often found in the US, when they have tried to construct rainbow coalitions out of class- and colour-defined blocs of the population, groups that can be counted on wholesale in theory often splinter into individuals that it may not be possible to count on at all. Labour must again learn to tell stories, in a voice – and perhaps an accent – that speaks to the individual ear, and the country as a whole.

    In short, you can blame as many dirty diggers as you like, Labour just got the basics wrong and have been for a very long time. The basics the evil Lynton Crosby seemed to grasp very well (from the piece Hilary linked to):

    [W]hile many of the Conservatives’ opponents and many journalists and voters were assuming that the Tory campaign was drifting or stalling, Crosby’s well-funded infantry were quietly, busily seizing the marginals. Another of his favourite electioneering phrases is “below the radar”.

    While it may offend the sensibilities of everyone around here, the Conservatives were constantly pushing a very simple message of "don't put what you've got at risk" to people in marginals who might not have loved everything the government had done over the last five years but weren't being given a clear, coherent alternative. And that doesn't actually make the British electorate a pack of idiot sheeple.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    In short, you can blame as many dirty diggers as you like, Labour just got the basics wrong and have been for a very long time.

    Which is pretty much the same for the NZ Labour party. I look at them lately and think "Would Fraser, Savage, Nash or Kirk be members of this party? Would they even vote for them?"

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2929 posts Report Reply

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