Yesterday Channel 4 news and JLPartners released an interesting poll of so-called “red wall” seats. A lot of things get written about “Red Wall seats” that don’t necessarily have much thought behind them. It is the Essex man or Worcester woman of the 2019 election, an easy buzzword that is too often a substitute for proper understanding. They are important, but you need to look careful at the nuances.

Let us start by going back to where the term originated, with James Kanagasooriam. It wasn’t just a generic word for northern marginals or Tory targets – James coined it when talking about as seats that demographically should have been Conservative, but which consistently voted Labour. James actually identified several groups of these seats – some in Wales, some in County Durham, and a big swathe of them across urban Lancashire and Yorkshire that looked like a red wall. Hence the name.

The whole point of James’ argument was that there were seats that in terms of their make up (class, economy, education, age structure and so on) you would expect to vote Conservative, but that they actually voted Labour because of a cultural, historical and social hostility towards the Tories. These weren’t seats full of horny-handed sons of toil, they were seats that were or had become more affluent but yet not become Tory. Sefton, for example, is largely affluent suburbia, with some of the highest home-ownership rates in the country. Yet it votes Labour, because it’s Liverpool’s suburbs, and people in Liverpool are not inclined to go about voting Conservative.

One can debate the reasons for this dislike, but the most obvious explanations are historical: the identity as former mining communities, the legacy and memory of Thatcherism and the dismantling of industry in the North in the 1980s. The point was, this was an obstacle to the Tories – how to appeal to these people who “should” demographically be their target audience, but for whatever reason were not interested.

Skipping ahead, we know that the Conservatives did manage to do this in many areas in 2017 and 2019. In fact in many of these areas there has been an incredible sea-change in voting behavior. Across the two elections the Conservatives have made gains there that would have looked unbelievable ten years ago. In 2015, the Conservatives won the national share of the vote by 7%. In 2019 they won by 12%, that is, a 2.5% swing across those two elections. Compare that to the Lab=>Con swing in some of the “red wall” seats. Sedgefield experienced a 14% swing across the two elections, Blyth Valley 13%, Bolsover 19%, Leigh 18%.

While there are some areas that did not follow this tide (Merseyside in particular is still extremely unforgiving territory for the Conservative party), among other areas in Lancashire, Country Durham, and Derbyshire mining areas the “red wall” decisively crumbled.

There are different explanations one can come up with for what happened. Part of it was probably the disruptive effect Brexit had upon traditional party ties, part of it perhaps a general change to the way the Conservative party has presented itself and its message. Much will simply be to the passage of time – those old mining identities can only sustain for so long once the mines have closed, the miners have passed on, the old sites regenerated and replaced by new build housing estates.

However, the Tory advances of 2017 and 2019 were not just in James’s red wall seats. Here is where it gets complicated, and why one should be cautious about throwing all those 2019 gains in together. The Conservatives gained other seats as well, some of which don’t match this description at all. Lewis Baston has written about this well previously. Some of them were in perennial marginals – places like Darlington, Stockton South, Keighley or Lincoln that have been competitive for decades and just happen to be in the North or the Midlands. If you are looking at opinion in the “red wall seats”, you have to be careful how you define it, and what you are actually looking at.

All that brings me round to the actual JLpartners/Channel 4 polling. This polled 500 people in the seats that the Conservatives won from Labour in the North & Midlands in 2019. The write up and full tables are here (do go and have a read, as there is lots of detail I have not explored below).

Overall the poll shows Labour at 47%, the Conservatives at 41%. In comparison, in the same seats the vote share in 2019 was Conservative 48%, Labour 39%. That translates into a swing of 7.5% from Conservative to Labour. In comparison the national polls conducted over the same period showed on average a Conservative lead of 1 point, a swing of 5.5% from Conservative to Labour.

On the face of it, that suggests the Conservatives are doing marginally worse in these seats than in the country as a whole. If that was to happen at an election it would be unusual – parties actually tend to do a bit better than average in seats they gained at the previous election because they have gained the incumbency advantage (the MP’s “personal vote”), and their opponents have lost it, so this would be a particularly poor performance. However, I should add the caveat that it’s just one poll of 500 people, so there is a margin of error of 4% on there. We should not put too much confidence on whether the Conservatives are doing a couple of percentage points better or worse in an area based on a single poll.

More interesting of course would be to be able to look under the bonnet at the different types of seat within those we’ve lumped together as “red wall” seats. Are there different patterns at work in those traditional marginal seats to those former mining and industrial seats that have been part of the bigger red-wall sea-change. There is no particular reason to think that seats like Lincoln or Blackpool South or Gedling would behave any differently to marginal seats elsewhere – but for seats like Sedgefield, Bassetlaw or Bolsover there’s a question of whether the political re-alignment we’ve seen over the last few elections has come to a halt or is still ongoing.

That’s not to say the JLPartners/Channel 4 poll isn’t good stuff – it is – it’s more than it’s only a starting point.

The question people tend to ask on the back of polls like this is whether the Tories need to worry unduly about keeping these seats in their column, and whether Labour can win them back. In that context, it is probably too simplistic to look at them as a single lump. In one sense, obviously these seats will be part of the battleground – but that’s just a truism. These are marginal seats, elections will be always be won and lost in the marginal seats. The more important question is whether these marginal seats are the ones that are most likely to change at the next election, or whether by looking at the fashionable “red wall” seats we miss looking at potentially more vulnerable seats elsewhere?

It may be that the political re-alignment in the true “red wall” seats is so seismic that they actually become safer Tory seats than some of the more traditional marginals. It may be that the more vulnerable Tory seats next time round are actually some more affluent seats with high proportions of graduates. The pattern of key marginals next time round could be those that are similar to North West Bristol or Canterbury, rather than winning back old mining seats.

Northern Tory gains last time weren’t monolithic – it isn’t one single “red wall” – they mix up some traditional marginals, as well as some sea that have seen truly transformational change. We shouldn’t assume they’ll behave as one block, or in the same way in the future either. Equally, we shouldn’t necessarily assume that all the interesting changes at the next election will happen in the same place as the last one. There are risks and opportunities elsewhere too.


12,036 Responses to “On the importance of the “Red Wall” seats”

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  1. @ CBX1985 – Agree WTD is easy to work around in many, but not all, sectors and politically it would seem daft to fix something that isn’t broken, especially as it goes against the effort to ‘rebrand’ as ‘worker friendly’

    CON HMG have enough things to fix that are broken – WTD is not an issue to spend political goodwill on (which is running on empty anyway) or limited HMG-HoC ‘bandwidth’ and debating time.

    It’s an ‘own goal’ issue that would be a gift to Starmer-LAB (as we saw in the ‘outrage’ y’day) and, especially after the polling, I expect we’ll hear no more about it.

    PS Whilst Dom ended up being more trouble than he was worth then he used to ‘trial’ a lot of policy in focus groups etc and avoid some of the ‘own goal’ stuff. I will agree with some ABCON folk that there appears to be very little evidence of a coordinated ‘plan’ for ‘what now’.

    Lots of ‘ideas’ from very wide ranging perspectives that will make ‘unity’ difficult and I respect C19 is the priority for next few months but either in the budget or other announcements then I hope we start seeing some pro-active policy announcements rather than just fire-fighting and ‘own goals’ of the last 10mths.

  2. @Danny

    “So we are in agreement it created a large amount of immunity to it, or at least in total there was a large amount of immunity , and in fact you think it was enough to end that outbreak without further intervention. The original outbreak was in fact over?

    That is what I have been arguing too.

    Or have you redefined what you mean by original strain, to confuse us all?”

    I agree coronavirus Infection leaves the survivors immune in most cases, meaning it can only move onto other social acquaintances of the carrier.

    The fact the strain of SARS-CoV-2 that infected the UK in the first half of this year is gone indicates that the lockdown measures and probably good weather and less indoor mixing etc saw it off. Had we restricted international travel, it would not have come back.

    Think of it as a wildfire, it can’t burn the same ground twice, it needs fresh ground to spread too. A firebreak lockdown does exactly what is says on the tin.

    Unfortunately, lax controls of international travel meant that loads of little firestarters were brought in to the UK from Spain. Lots of new ground and fresh social connections for SARS-CoV-2 to take advantage of. We even aided the process by packing loads of mixed and previously socially unacquainted youngsters into University Halls. Madness.

    Obviously the vaccination programme is closing the door on SARS-CoV-2 and the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. But wave 2 / 3 was not inevitable.

  3. ‘Obviously the vaccination programme is closing the door on SARS-CoV-2 ‘

    Is it? Given the amount of idiot anti-vaxxers, that no vaccine is 100% effective and that we don’t even know how long these vaccines last for – say they last 6 months? And nor have we stopped it mutating. So, the positive statement that vaccines are closing the door really needs to be rephrased to something more like ‘ vaccines MIGHT be the start of closing the door – or might be a false dawn.’

  4. TW

    “IMO we are arguing the same point from a different perspective.”

    I don’t think we are, really, as I am talking about a polling issue (false recall), and your points are about FPTP and tactical voting.

    to summarise:

    * The panel-based pollsters ( YG and Opinium) headline figures are clustered around 39/39/6 for C/L/LD.

    * Non panel-based pollsters such as ComRes, R&W and Survation are showing around 40/37/8

    *The non panel based pollsters are consistently getting samples which are low in 2019 LD voters (by recalled vote) – typically by around 20% and never less than 10% short.

    * The non panel based pollsters (who have no need to rely on participants’ recall) have LD2019 sub-samples which average around LD 50%, Lab 26%.

    * In contrast, the panel-based pollsters’ LD2019 sub-samples currently average around LD 43%, Lab 43%.

  5. TW

    I think your vaccination data is out of date. Todays figures from the Government website are:

    As at 15th January

    Daily 1st dose administered 324,233
    Daily 2nd dose administered 4027
    Cumulative 1st dose 3,559,179
    Cumulative 2nd dose 447,266

    So over 4million doses in total.

  6. #

    * The non panel based pollsters (who need to rely on participants’ recall) have LD2019 sub-samples which average around LD 50%, Lab 26%.

    * In contrast, the panel-based pollsters (who do not need to rely on participants recall) have LD2019 sub-samples which currently average around LD 43%, Lab 43%.

  7. @ JAMES E – Perhaps let’s just agree that the panel based pollsters numbers are probably the more accurate for current VI given that we do agree on that.

  8. @Jack – I agree. It’s great news, but we’re not there yet.

    depressing perhaps, but quite conceivable that we soon find a strain that partially or largely evades these vaccines. That isn’t terminal, as the experts say that the shots could be reconfigured within a few weeks, but it might mean a whole new round of vaccines is required.

    My concern is that people start to think it’s all over way before we’ve reached a safe space, and the more virus is left out there, the greater the risk of a new and different strain emerging.

    The mistake we’ve made time and again with this, in the UK particularly but across Europe as a whole, is to relax when we think we’ve got ahead.

    You need to keep the foot firmly on the throat, however long that takes.

  9. @ TOH – My numbers were from NHS England so England only. The numbers you’ve posted are for whole of UK[1].

    I note gov.uk have been adding more detail to the their UK-wide dashboard numbers today (or maybe y’day?)

    https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare#card-people_who_have_received_vaccinations_by_report_date_daily

    [1] The combined date shows accurate data for England up to and including 15Jan but shows 0 for Scotland and Wales and a low daily number for NI. I would expect the other 3 nations numbers are higher than shown for 15Jan but I’ve only been checking England data and commenting on England’s issues.

  10. Lucky for Johnson Marcus Rashford is only a footballer.

    .

  11. Further to the debate on the actual number of people dying in Hastings from covid. Looking at the gov coronavirus page , https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/deaths?areaType=ltla&areaName=Hastings

    It lists deaths in hastings within 28 days of a positive test as 155. However it lists deaths with covid as contrubutory factor on the death certificate as only 69.

    There a couple of suggested reason why this might be. Certified deaths might be subject to more delay, I dont know how they get reported, and most of all covid deaths in hastings have been very recent. The other is that it expressly states deaths are reported as of the home address of the deceased not where they died.

    The adjacent region of Rother has 229 deaths within 28 days, and 131 death certificate deaths. Rother has a lot more early deaths in april/may than Hastings.

    Wealden to the west has 199 within 28 days, and 183 certified.
    Eastbourne 138 within 28, 99 certified.
    Lewes 131 within 28, 141 certified.
    Brighton 201 within 28, 212 certified.
    Folkestone 317, 228 certified
    Ashford 257, 223
    Dover 252, 211
    Tunbridge Wells 151, 126

    Hastings seems to have the highest discrepancy between deaths within 28 days and certified covid deaths in any of the regions nearby.

    The other observation is there seems to be overall more people being reported as covid deaths within 28 days by about 25%, than had it actually contributing to their deaths.

    Is this the measure of people catching it in hospital but dying from something else?

  12. Alec

    I do get the impression vaccinations are going to resemble flu ; but this might be for the whole population.

    I read a sad article this morning that BME are far far far more likely to be anti-vax. I think we need to make vaccination like the Census and of earlier times National Service. An offence not to have, due to the affect on the whole of society.

    We need to make it as hard for the virus as possible and give it no room to re-establish itself.

  13. UK racing up the ‘deaths per million’ chart tonight. Latest stats see us jump 2 places to No 7, wheezing down the neck of Czechia. Within a week it looks like we might leapfrog past Bosnia – Herzogovina and surge past Italy to get a top 5 slot.

    World beaters that we are!

  14. @CBX1985 – agreed.

    Even without Boris, I think getting the messaging right for the next phase is going to be tough.

  15. Alec
    Of course there’s a possibility there could be further more lethal variations it’s just as conceivable that the next successful mutation has a mortality rate of zero.

    You can’t always rely on historical precedent however we haven’t seen a pandemic in the world , with the exception of hiv aids, in the last 120 years that’s actually lasted more than two years.

    It’s a reasonable expectation to envisage a return to normality this year , of course if covid continues to.pose the risk primarily to the elderly with pre conditions then there will have to be adjustments to that.
    They can’t be the current utterly disastrous lock downs of entire populations.

  16. James E (and those who have joined in) thanks for your posts, very enlightening and do give some succour to Labour supporters.

    In the period running up to the 2019 GE, YG used to give better Tory leads over Labour and their panel reducing the impact of false recall was generally considered to be the main reason. Turns out they were probably right.

  17. @Danny

    “Hastings seems to have the highest discrepancy between deaths within 28 days and certified covid deaths in any of the regions nearby.”

    Your nonsense about Hastings having a hidden epidemic, now this.

    You claim to be a scientist, yet you obsess about a smallish town on the South East Coast of England. Look at the big picture.

    You’ve over indulged on micro analysis. It says very little. Shall I claim that my part of the world in similarly immune?

    No. Because I trust science, fact and understand the concepts of probability.

  18. Alec – to be slightly pedantic ,you said upthread that the reputation of British Business will be damaged.

    I think this is unfair as if anything Britsih Business will get sympathy – sadly sympathy does not produce orders!

  19. @ALEC
    @JIM JAM

    Alec – to be slightly pedantic ,you said upthread that the reputation of British Business will be damaged.

    I think this is unfair as if anything Britsih Business will get sympathy – sadly sympathy does not produce orders!

    I am going to agree with you both what I see is that we have a combination of sympathy and just a new stand offishness as if to say you ‘poor b4stards’ Some don’t envy our position but some actually look at us and say how did you get into this mess. it is as if they used to think we were smart and now simply put we are not. It is not an individual thing it is a collective thing

    I remember one Irishman said to me ‘But I have never met a leaver, every British person I have met is a remainer, how did this happen’

    So basically most europeans abroad actually see a different demographic and thus they believe that we screwed up as it were.

  20. “England are prioritising groups 1 and 2. Not 1 then 2, or 2 then 1. 1 AND 2 – before end of Jan (then 1-4 by 15Feb).”

    Absolutely true, and the same timetable as the other 3 polities – which isn’t surprising, as the distribution of the vaccines by Movianto has been arranged equitably across the UK.

    JICV advice was that care home residents and staff were the top priority – which is why they were Priority 1. Fortunately, the planning for the already (or guaranteed) vaccine supply allows both Groups 1 & 2 to be included in Phase 1.

    However, the entirety of these groups cannot be vaccinated simultaneously, thus there is some internal prioritisation. Thus Scotland was able to proceed with vaccinating front line health and care staff (Priority 2) at the same time as the Priority 1 vaccinations were done.

    In England on 22nd December, PHE chose to only vaccinate with the Pfizer vaccine in care homes with more than 50 beds, and to leave smaller care homes till later in Phase 1, when the Astra Zeneca vaccine became available. Meanwhile, Group 2 was to be done – whether there was internal prioritisation between the over 80s and front line health care staff, I don’t know – though there would be a reasonable case for prioritising either cohort.

    2 days ago, NHS England increased the doctor’s fee for vaccinating those in the remaining care homes to £30 per first dose if done by tomorrow (17 Jan). Thereafter the fee drops to £20 if administered in the following week, and to £10 the week after. This change incentivises GPs to shift their priority from the over 80s in the community to the over 60% of care home residents in England that Johnson referred to.

    I understand Davwel’s concern that, if he lived in England, he might have been fortunate enough to be served by a GP group prioritising the over 80s in the community, and not those in smaller care homes.

    All this information is in the public domain. A wonderful thing this internet thingie. You can search for data about polities all over the world. Equally, you can live in a polity and have little comprehension of what goes on there.

  21. Chrislane1945

    Starmer needs a revival among the Lib dems.

    Starmer is in danger of becoming the new grey man of politics. Instead of parroting the same old lines on any government policy with that exaggerated pained look on his face he should take a little more time pushing Labour policies.

    Since he took over I have no idea what any Labour policies are. Of corse I expect him to hold government to account ,but on top of that he should show leadership by telling us what he would have done differently given the same advice the government had over the last year.

    On the occasion I’ve heard him speak whatever the subject ,lockdown seems to be his buzz word ,do I take from that he would have locked down the UK for the last 12 months .I wonder how that balance of payments would look now.

    I couldn’t give a fig how Starmer preforms as I think almost any Labour government is a disaster. But those who support the grey man I’m sure you would like to know where he is taking your party rather than relying on the Lib Dem’s.

  22. Covid eye candy for the 16th – https://i.ibb.co/vcGkgPJ/covid-16-1-2021.png

  23. RTE’s Tony Connelly on “The Brexit Effect: The squall before the storm”

    https://amp.rte.ie/amp/1190108/?__twitter_impression=true

    He’s always worth a read to get a balanced and well informed view of current difficulties.

    I noted “Scottish fishermen are landing their catch in Denmark, while more still are contemplating registering in Northern Ireland.” That move to registering boats in NI was predicted.

  24. Jim Jam

    “In the period running up to the 2019 GE, YG used to give better Tory leads over Labour and their panel reducing the impact of false recall was generally considered to be the main reason. Turns out they were probably right.”

    Indeed – this was how Anthony Wells described the effect in July 2019, when it was found that a significant number of Lab 2017 had forgotten their vote 2 years on.

    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2019/07/17/false-recall-and-how-it-affects-polling

  25. TURK.
    Hello to you.
    New Opinium tonight . 4 Point lead. Maybe an Outlier

  26. Labour have a 4pt lead over the Tories in the latest Opinium poll with approval of the UK Government’s handling of the pandemic falls to -20, the second lowest recorded by Opinium

    https://twitter.com/OpiniumResearch/status/1350533531668254720?s=19

  27. @ JJ – did my contributions to the ‘false recall’ discussion make sense?

    The polling into GE’19 ‘overstating’ LAB VI amongst some pollsters would fit on the basis of a small % wishing to ‘forget’ they voted for Corbyn in GE’17 so past vote weighted samples boosted LAB VI into GE’19
    (could be Leave’16 who into GE’17 thought Brexit was ‘settled’ as we saw UKIP’15 initially move 10:1 CON:LAB but end up as more like 2.5:1 in GE’17. During HoC 17-19 it was clear Brexit was not settled and that the LAB’19 manifesto was further left than LAB’17 then some UKIP’15-Leave’16-LAB’17 ‘forgot’ they voted LAB in recall between GE’17-19)

    The situation has flipped now. Starmer is ‘not Corbyn’ and Davey is offering nothing so some pollsters are now ‘overstating’ LDEM as they boost LDEM VI by giving a past vote weighting to a small % of folks who wish to forget they (tactically perhaps) voted LDEM in GE’19

    Make a da sense or non?

  28. HIRETON.
    Good Evening to you from seat 105 on the target list for Labour, in the land of Tobias Ellwood (?)
    I too saw that poll on twitter.

    TREVOR. Thank you for your analytical posts of late. Have you seen the report, again on twitter, of an article about Starmer and Dodds being potentially a threat to Johnson?

    As you have written Game One, but I hope Rashford plays well tomorrow on the pitch at Anfield Road.

  29. “I noted “Scottish fishermen are landing their catch in Denmark, while more still are contemplating registering in Northern Ireland.” That move to registering boats in NI was predicted.”

    Imagine how many companies across the UK would be registering in Scotland, had 2014 gone differently…

  30. A thread which shows the reality of dealing with Brexit for an importing firm which did all its preparation:

    https://twitter.com/DanielLambert29/status/1350367078662987777?s=19

  31. Statgeek

    Indeed.

    I’m not going to excited by the SNP having a VI of 62% in that Opinium poll (out of 106 respondents) – though the SLAB figure of 9% and the LD one of 0% may both be a little bit too high. :-)

  32. Yes Trevor,

    If I can summarise what you were asking without giving a definitive view either way was if the LDs who seem to have forgotten how they voted last time were predominantly Lab sympathisers who votes tactically in LD/Tory seats and might do again.

    Under FPTP, This would reduce the benefit from false recall avoidance by YG to Labour but not negate it.

  33. PTRP
    “So here is the question how do you change the culture? what do we learn from or is everything OK?”

    Why would you want to change the culture? Of course those who want to should pursue higher education, but not everyone is suited or able to undertake it. If someone wants to be a bus driver or a binman why shouldn’t they? Someone’s got to do those jobs. As technology advances some jobs will become automated, but that will (and has already) affected office workers just as much, and quite a few of them have degrees.
    ———————–
    Steve
    “They can’t be the current utterly disastrous lock downs of entire populations.”

    Agreed. The fall-out amongst small businesses in particular will already be horrendous. It will be interesting to see how many independent pubs manage to reopen eventually for instance.

  34. JIB,
    “Look at the big picture. ”

    OK….WHO propounded a plan for controlling the covid epidemic which was adopted by nations all around the world, and has failed.

    The evidence would seem to be lockdowns do not work to control the spread of covid, which just carries on regardless as if they were not there. Its true this is probably because we do not lock down enough, but unfortunately we live in an inticately inter related world where if we did close down to that extent, we would simply die anyway.

    So its not much of a strategy.

    This isnt altogether a new finding. In the past people used lockdowns to control the black death and so forth. Just lock people up in their own houses and dont let them out for a few weeks. If they recover, then let them out. most died. Didnt stop spread either.

    Luckily however, covid does not kill many whatever you do. If it was not for our modern sensibilities where we really do try to keep people alive, they would have long since been written off and everyone gone back to normal. The irony is that in the long run probably just as many would have survived doing it that way. Different individuals, but thats the luck of an epidemic. It just happens we have chosen to see off younger people in the place of older.

    I wonder how people feel whose relatives have or will die because of the policy of lockdown, who will be dying in place of others?

    ” I trust science, fact and understand the concepts of probability.”

    I refer you to eg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory

    In fact I don’t regard hastings having covid in 2019 as a black swan event, because a number of other places have been positively dentified as having had covid at that same time. So it isnt really rare enought to qualify. It seems likely infected people left Wuhan for places all over the world, but most of them never caused a lasting infection because they failed to take part in a high spread event.

    You are misunderstanding probability. If the chance of a town having been infected in 2019 in the UK was maybe 1/100,000, then that does not mean out of 100,000 towns no town gets infected. It means out of 100,000 exactly 1 does get infected, and it should be no surprise that it does.

    If we looked into this further we might be able to refine why. If WHO is allowed to freely investigate the origins of this epidemic in China we might learn something, but I very much doubt the chinese will do so.

  35. @Statgeek – “Imagine how many companies across the UK would be registering in Scotland, had 2014 gone differently…”

    Indeed. The shake out we are seeing now, in multiple sectors, feels like it’s going to be substantially greater than anticipated by many, myself included.

    The poor deal Johnson accepted was entirely the wrong deal for the economy we have. Whether it helps us design a new economy remains to be seen, but there will be a lot of catching up needed before we can hope to forge ahead.

  36. https://twitter.com/DanielLambert29/status/1350367078662987777

    Daniel Lambert (Wines). ?????????????
    @DanielLambert29
    Over the past 15 days I have not only been running my company as normal but I have been faced with largest threat to its future since it began in 1992. This is #Brexit & here is my thread on just how bad things are getting. 1/26
    —————————

    A wine guy explaining some brexit problems

  37. Sarwar has said he will stand as SLab leader. It will be interesting to see if any remaining MSP of a less conservative bent decides to run as well. They only have Sunday to register interest in standing.

  38. @STEAMDRIVENANDY

    On the proportional Electoral College thing, I revisited my 2016 numbers because I realised I’d forgotten something quite important – how much more support third-party candidates had that year.

    Whilst all the usual caveats about not being able to transplant votes from one electoral system to another apply, there would need to have been a significant shift in behaviour to produce a direct result at all. Votes as they were actually cast would have led to a 261-261 tie, with the remaining 16 going mostly to the Libertarian, and the election would have gone to Congress to resolve.

  39. Danny
    “Just lock people up in their own houses and dont let them out for a few weeks. If they recover, then let them out. most died. Didnt stop spread either.”

    Eyam?

    “You are misunderstanding probability. If the chance of a town having been infected in 2019 in the UK was maybe 1/100,000, then that does not mean out of 100,000 towns no town gets infected. It means out of 100,000 exactly 1 does get infected, and it should be no surprise that it does.”

    No it doesn’t. Probability isn’t certainty. 0 is still quite likely, as is 2,3 etc. Some of what you say sometimes seemed to make sense, but I’m beginning to concur with the majority.

  40. Pete B

    If I remember correctly, you used to work on NHS England databases?

    Is it standard practice to make massive deletions from one, if you haven’t kept a backup of the original, to return to if you screw up?

    Thinking of the police records central file.

  41. @DANNY

    DANNY:At the moment though the death rate still stands at only 0.15%.
    EOR:An achievement considering it’s still rising, quite fast,

    DANNY: It isnt rising in Hastings, its falling. Has been for weeks.

    Erm, we’re talking about the proportion of people who have died. That’s not falling anywhere, unless something pretty miraculous is happening.

    Indeed, when we started talking about this aspect a few days ago Hastings was at just over 140/100k, and now it’s at nearly 170/100k. Gone from worse than 70% of LAs to worse than 80%, in a few days. I’d say that’s quite a fast rise.

    “and you said it doesn’t get above 0.1% anywhere regardless?”

    i was half right. That was old variant covid. So in effect I am arguing its lethality has increased.

    In opposition to the scientists again then, who seem to be saying there’s no evidence it’s any more lethal, just more transmissible?

  42. Good evening all or should that be Good morning all from a almost cloud free Winchester.

    TREVS

    Labour 41% Con 37% SNP 6% Lib/Dems 6% Greens 5%

    AND

    Just 30% (-1) now approve of how the government has handled Coronavirus, compared to 50% (+2) who disapprove.

    All that spinning and waffle you have been chucking onto UKPR over the past several months in support of the regime looks to have backfired for them .

    Bring back PRESSMAN….. You’re as useless as a knitted condom.

    Night Night. X

  43. @DANNY

    The Hastings evidence could be interpreted that without intervention it survived its first outbreak much better than its recent one where restrictions were in place.

    Yes, and me being single for most of my 20s could be interpreted as Clooney just not knowing what he was missing.

    The unnoticed epidemic also isn’t “evidence” that can be used to support your theory, it’s conjecture by you that’s been derived from it.

  44. ON
    “Is it standard practice to make massive deletions from one, if you haven’t kept a backup of the original, to return to if you screw up?”

    No of course not. I raised this last night. Ever since I started in computing in the early ’70s careful backup routines were the norm. I moved away from the operational side of things over the years, but a typical routine in those days would be a daily backup, which would be retained for a week, a weekly backup which would be kept for a month, a monthly backup which would kept for a year and an annual backup which would be kept indefinitely. With the almost limitless storage available nowadays more could be kept. Mind you, the story seems to have gone quiet so perhaps the police PR department has discovered backups?

  45. Pete B

    Thanks. I had assumed that the practices you describe would be the norm, but good to have it confirmed.

    It seems odd that protocols allowed someone to do what seems to have occurred.

  46. @PETE B, @OLDNAT

    My dad worked extensively on some of the relatively early major computerisations, including one in the public sector about 50 years ago, and his view is that it only ever gets easier for kids who think they know everything to screw it up entirely.

    To be fair to him, this view was first voiced in the immediate aftermath of that episode where someone at the DWP managed to break about 60,000 Win2k PCs by applying a patch meant for a handful of XP machines.

  47. EOR
    “…and his view is that it only ever gets easier for kids who think they know everything to screw it up entirely.”

    Agreed, though to be fair there is a hell of a lot more to know nowadays. But kids seem to assume that big commercial systems work in much the same way as their smartphones.

  48. EOR/Pete B

    Then there’s the problem of know-all managers insisting that a change is made, despite having been warned by their IT people that it won’t work, will cost them millions to put right etc etc.

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