Just a quick line to point out that the Constituency guide part of the site has now been updated to reflect the general election results and the new MPs elected, including the target and defence lists for the parties (SNP and UKIP to follow). Before anyone points it out there’s still lots to do – including new swingometers and updating MPs profiles to reflect the reshuffles.


345 Responses to “Constituency Guide update”

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  1. @Sunreada

    Amazing what good stuff you can pick up in the Sun. If it always contains such sharp analysis, perhaps I’d better change my newspaper habit.

  2. It’s possible The Sun’s coverage of pressing issues such as Thorium or the risible storage taxation thing may be a trifle underdone…

  3. The problem for Labour is their vote has been split several ways.

    – some has gone to Greens over “not left wing enough”
    – some to SNP since the latter better-placed to fight for Scots’ interests alone
    – some to Ukip over immigration
    – some to Tories – or maybe abstaining – over fears of SNP hegemony etc.

    Question is: how do you solve those problems.
    – move left and lose in the centre
    – can’t easily address immigration
    – can’t easily outbid SNP
    – and if Scots keep voting SNP, how do you stop fears in England about that?

    These problems exist regardless of leader…

  4. Given the difficulty in appeasing lefties, Scots, and the anti-immigration peeps, you can see the attraction of competing more in the centre…

  5. Given the difficulty in appeasing the left, Scots, and the anti-immigration peeps, you can see the attraction of competing more in the centre…

  6. @ Carfrew

    It’s not that difficult.

    Give a social democratic message with economic responsibilities (I do think that immigration is a red herring, although with the hindsight the EU referendum was necessary). The real trouble is defining each of them. If they don’t define them, they remain vulnerable (for example, I feel a strong dislike of Lord Mandelson’s politics, but his attempts for British economic policies at the end of the last Labour government were thoughtful, and commendable).

    It’s seems to me an “eternal” problem for the Labour Party. For a completely different reasons I was reading Kaldor’s articles, and he is bringing up the same problem in the language of the 1970s (incomes policy, balance of payments).

  7. @ Carfrew

    How about just copying the key points of the Danish flexecurity system? It would need some change in taxation, but it would satisfy all your points. It would also need a leader with a very strong stomach though.

  8. It would probably require some changes in other laws.

    It would run something like this:

    If you were subject to compulsory redundancy, you will receive your wages as unemployment benefit for the first six months, the 90% of your salary for the next 12 months, then 70% of your salary for 6 months. Then absolutely nothing. No benefit at all. Full stop. Unemployment doesn’t push you into poverty, but you have two years only to sort your skills out (i.e. unemployment benefit in general is immoral.

    However, during your unemployment, you are offered training courses with stated probabilities of getting employment from them. It’s up to you to take the, but don’t forget the two years rule.

    It would require the participation of employers (and perhaps the unions’).

    It would remove the false dichotomy between benefits and responsibility for the economy,

    (Obviously disability would come under a completely different system).

    One can dream …

  9. Why dream, when it would be possible for gov’t to create a buffer stock of jobs with a guarantee of employment to all who wanted or needed a job – a New Deal similar to that implemented by FDR.

    Not only would such employment offer a vehicle for apprenticeships/re-training, and avoid the costs of the deterioration of mental health caused by unemployment but it would also automatically rebalance the economy. There is no shortage of things that could be usefully achieved but in tackling the housing shortage and mitigating climate change, there is also the opportunity to create new manufacturing, utilising old skills … and R&D into renewables (even Thorium).

    I particularly like that a Job’s Guarantee would automatically underpin the minimum wage/’living wage’ and could be sufficiently adaptable to facilitate employment of those with disability or long-term fluctuating illness.

    Why dream of a Danish flexecurity system when a Job’s Guarantee could be very simple to set up?

  10. @Laszlo

    Yeah, I’m with Syzygy. Benefits are a sticking plaster (unless one day with enough growth we go the whole hog for a Citizen’s Income or summat) – the real issue is jobs.

    One of Govt.’s jobs should be to provide buffers for whenever the private sector fails. Oil prices shooting up artificially? Have a commodities buffer. Banking trashed the economy? Have a Sovereign Wealth fund. Private Sector not creating enough decent-paying jobs? Govt. creates the jobs. Not enough houses being built? Have a proper housebuilding programme, and keep selling ’em off if you like. Utilities cornering the market and driving up prices, disguising profits by reinvesting profits in hoovering up more of the market? No need to nationalise everything, just introduce a state player in the market you can ramp up or down as necessary.

    And I don’t see how your remedy addresses concerns re: immigration, losing votes to SNP in Scotland, or fears of SNP in England.

    The real problem, is in part, political. E.g housebuilding. This would reduce housing pressures, and benefit costs, stimulate the economy, and reduce concerns re: immigration. But if parties get votes from allowing housing pressures to increase owing to value of homes going up, and then get to blame the shortage on immigration, it reduces the political incentive to build housing.

  11. The political incentive is reduced further if, as Sunreada notes, the political class also profit more directly from housing shortages via BTL, etc.

  12. In other news a crack in the Bedroom Tax

    The Coast & Country ‘Tenants Working Together’ Group’s victory could mean that parents sharing responsibility for a child or children will not be subject to Bedroom Tax on the ‘spare room’ used by their child.

  13. Good Morning Everyone, as the rain clears here on our beach.
    JIM JAM.
    A second item of news is Caroline Flint’s strong performance on Radio 4’s Any Questions. Labour must hope that she, Rachel Reeves, Stella Creasy, Mary Creagh and Luciana Berger can work well together.

  14. Colin,

    Your comments last night regarding the GE performance of the Greens, exactly coincided with my thoughts whilst walking the dog yesterday.

    Why did they set themselves up as a full scale political party offering an alternative government?

    By all means have a set of policies and a manifesto, but surely the approach should have been: ‘elect us and we will bring a greater voice concerning environmental issues and ‘Green’ approaches to the work of the House of Commons’.

    Instead we were offered a madcap collection of left-wing Utopianism.

    Having listened to a talk by Jonathan Porritt earlier this week, I am very aware that the concerns of the Greens are with considerable justification, and, for example, there is a great need for government to better consider the long term.

    Yet instead we got the ‘loony left’.

  15. MILLIE

    Thanks.

    Yes-exactly.

    The pure Protest Party seems to have disappeared.

    Cart before Horse.

    I do think the LDs will have to think carefully about this too.

  16. Carfrew yes tricky for labour -meanwhile the tories is much more straightforward-win the EU referendum as convincingly as poss and then hope that ukip will fade away as predicted by the great Crosby and win 30 seats off labour by being the workers friend .

    It wont be like that of course.

    But Labour badly needs a long term project to improve voters understanding of the country they live in.Otherwise voters will remain easy meat for the simpler and individually directed solutions offered by the tories.

    Voting from 16 should be accompanied by mandatory civic society education in schools .Simple stuff -voting ,how much is spent on this and that,postwar history -designed to allow citizens to educate themselves further when they leave school.

    My five nephews and nieces managed to cast two votes between them on may 7th.One didnt get a postal vote (after moving, hes a teacher !!),one first timer booked a last minute holiday and thought she could get someone to vote for her (shes studying to be a doctor) ,one applied for a postal vote which didnt work.One voted green, the other ukip.This after I explaining what they needed to do in january.

    Then get the mirror to buy the express and for murdochs successor to sell the sun and the times and sky news,ditto the barclay bros with the telegraph and lord rothermere to lose his non dom status and go off in a huff.

  17. Colin,

    Quite.

    I have previously speculated that Labour must move to the centre to have any chance of winning, which means that the LibDems have no choice whatsoever but to go to the left, where there will be some breathing room, especially as this is Farron’s tendency anyway.

    The Greens have reduced emphasis upon their traditional environmental concerns and have adopted the thinking of left-leaning Labour activists, i.e. statist, interventionist, and a concentration on socio-economic issues.

    Fair enough, but I suspect a better future lies with a coalition of interests based around ‘alternative’ green thinking and old-fashioned liberalism. I think that is a better route to electoral success, but perhaps more importantly, a way to increase the influence of the green approach.

    Fanciful, I know, but a merger between the Lib Dems, the Greens, and indeed the Liberal Party, is a possible way forward.

    A marriage of concern for the environment, long term thinking, liberal values, redistribution of wealth, constitutional reform, anti-Trident, etc. together with a non-revolutionary acceptance that change is best achieved through penetrating the system rather than destroying it,
    seems to me to be a more attractive line.

  18. Chris – I think we will just have to agree to disagree about Flint and the importance of loyalty in public.

    I must have missed her strong performance in the NEWS have seen; perhaps I should be looking under Chris’ views? smiley thing.

    Labour do have many capable women MPs within their ranks.

    That children with divorced and separated parents can be deemed to have 2 homes with the Bedroom Tax, therefore, not applying is good news imo.

  19. Yvette Cooper on Marr this morning… still struggling to set out her personal vision in my view. I still think she’d be the best Labour PM and the most effective opponent for Cameron at PMQs but needs to do more to break out. Else she’ll be relying on piling up 2nd preference votes.

  20. The MoS reporting that Murdoch has uturned on EU -now thinks we should stay in.A spokesman declined to comment.

  21. MILLIE

    Thanks-interesting thoughts on the LDs.

    The business of looking for a “slot” in the Left/Right space as Labour moves this way or that in doesn’t seem much of a future to me.

    My inclination would be a namechange ( did you read about UMP to Republicans in France) -to The Liberal Party , and concentrate on the Liberal case in Social matters. But I imagine that if Farron gets it he will be more inclined to the full Manifesto for Government , to the Left of Labour. With a handful of MPs I think that is just laughable.

    I agree with your second para. & that Greens have lost their way.

    The intriguing one though , is Labour. What will they say they are for now?

  22. MILLIE

    ……….oops-of course there already is a Liberal Party, which stands for

    “The Liberal Party exists to build a Liberal Society in which every citizen shall possess liberty, property and security, and none shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. Its chief care is for the rights and opportunities of the individual and in all spheres it sets freedom first.”

    So name change isn’t an option for LDs.

  23. What matters for an individual, political party, organisation or country is to win.

    There is no point in hankering after intellectual purity if the consequence is insufficient support to get chosen.

    The Tories demonstrated this effectively on 7/5, as did Sepp Blatter (who has been a foremost promoter of football worldwide) 2 few days ago. Putin and Merkel, the 2 most important current European leaders by far, have done likewise. However much others may bleat, they are the winners, because they are perceived to have delivered sufficiently by enough voters to get re-elected.

    In planning for future elections, challengers need to seek the widest possible support, and present a credible message, to succeed. It is also important to focus on one challenge at a time – a 1 by 1 strategy – so as not to dissipate resources on multiple fronts.

    There is no evidence that Labour are likely to achieve this in the near future – I no longer expect to see a Labour government in what is likely to be left of the UK for 10-15 years. For a start they need to focus on winning back Middle England, forget about Scotland (which they have lost) and pay less attention to places like Scouseland which support them anyway. As for the LDs, they have been annihilated and have no realistic way back, so are an irrelevance.

  24. I agree with your second para. & that Greens have lost their way.

    Changes 2010 GE to 2015 GE

    Votes – 265,243 to 1,157.613
    Share of vote – 0.9% to 3.8%
    Members – 12,768 to 66,500

    -lots more retained deposits
    -some good seconds

    If that’s losing your way, I’ll have to recheck what that phrase means….

  25. Good morning all from a blustery and grey Giffnock.

    I don’t know what the topic is today but Russia has blacklisted 89 European Union politicians and officials among them Nick Clegg.

    So as well as the Lib/Dems only having 8 MP’s, their former leader is now blacklisted from entering 33% of the Worlds land mass!!

    It’s not funny.

  26. @07052015

    “Carfrew yes tricky for labour -meanwhile the tories is much more straightforward-win the EU referendum as convincingly as poss and then hope that ukip will fade away as predicted by the great Crosby and win 30 seats off labour by being the workers friend.”

    ——————

    The thing about immigration, is that the right were more likely to return from Ukip from Tories, than the left from Ukip back to Labour.

    Because the right have an added incentive. They may worry about the cultural impact of immigration, but with assets and stuff, are also liable to be worried about mansion taxes and the like. And some with businesses may welcome the impact of immigration on wages etc.

    Whereas the poorer have less to protect, and see what little they have as being under threat from immigration.

    The problem of perceptions concerning immigration are thornier than one might think. For example, imagine a Carfrew in a bar, being approached by some random complaining about immigration, all these supposed skivers supposedly coming here to claim benefits. Carfrew points out how most demographics have some skivers, and many immigrants work hard and can be very successful. Some even get their kids into Oxford, whereupon they perform a v. useful role in society, moaning about Thorium and storage and insufficient attention to the cricket etc.

    The randoms may see the point, but it doesn’t solve the problem in their eyes, because now you have a new problem: immigrants out-competing and hoovering up the best jobs!! Now you have to point out that immigrants create jobs too, but then they’ll be thinking new immigrants hoover up those too!! Etc. etc…

  27. “But Labour badly needs a long term project to improve voters understanding of the country they live in.”

    —————

    For this to happen, it might help if Labour understood it themselves.

    On media ownership: one of the many fundamental challenges ducked by Blair.

    The focus was identity politics, rather than the broader role of the party and its long-term survival.

  28. “…The right were more likely to return from Ukip TO Tories, than the left from Ukip back to Labour…”

  29. @Colin @Millie

    I like the idea that some, including Simon Hughes, have floated of changing the name to the Liberal Party but I think both Farron and Lamb have rejected it. Both have, however, committed to a programme centred on promoting the value of having a strong liberal voice in politics. Personally I think it will be a long way back that will need to start with re-invigorating the base.

    In Westminster terms things may get worse before they get better – without any national role they could struggle to hang on even to the share of the vote they recorded this time round. They won’t simply be able to slot back into their old place as the natural party of protest and will probably have to fight hard to keep the seats they held on to. If any party’s activists are prepared for this type of challenge it is the LDs though and I doubt they’ll die away completely.

  30. @Carfrew

    To appease Scots / Left the solution is very, very simple.

    1. Make deliverable promises

    2. Deliver on those promises

    3. Keep hands out of the till

    4. Don’t cosy up to business in a corrupt manner.

    It’s really that boring and simple.

  31. Colin,

    My strategy would be to change their name to “The Democratic Party” and campaign on a limited platform of PR, internet freedom and social equality issues. No point having a detailed platform for government while they’re languishing in single figures.

  32. @Syzygy

    (from memory) General Franco had a jobs guarantee for the unemployed. They were conscripted.

  33. MR NAMELESS.
    Good Afternoon, and Easter Season has finished.
    I think that the Lib Dems, being on quite high numbers, in comparison to when I was a mere lad, are in a position to set out a series of policy principles if not policy pledges, with Simon Hughes, IMHO, a potential leader.

  34. CMJ

    Fair comment :-)

  35. MR N

    Thats an interesting option.-I think it makes a lot of sense.

    I agree about a narrow focus rather than a pretend Manifesto for Government.

  36. I’ve had in mind the workability of a party like the Referendum Party?

    They could stand for reforms along the lines Mr N has suggested. They could stand to get in, bring in PR etc. then dissolve themselves, allowing people to fight the GE according to their usual flavour.

  37. @Statty

    But that ignores what I was saying: the SNP can usually up the ante and just offer a bit more, and offer to fight more for Scots interests in a way that is rather harder for Lab.

  38. “So as well as the Lib/Dems only having 8 MP’s, their former leader is now blacklisted from entering 33% of the Worlds land mass!!
    It’s not funny.”

    ————-

    Indeed it isn’t. Surely in the interests of fairness, he might be blacklisted here as well?

  39. Carfrew

    It is unfair; after all, he has family there, some of whom would appreciate a visit perhaps.

  40. SYZYGY – “Why dream, when it would be possible for gov’t to create a buffer stock of jobs with a guarantee of employment to all who wanted or needed a job – a New Deal similar to that implemented by FDR.”

    And how would you pay for it? By taxing actual productive businesses – you know the ones that produce goods and services that people actually want to pay for and have an actual business case, rather than “pretendy make work” created by the govt.

    But why would those businesses put up with an extra burden like that? While in the EU they can relocate to anywhere that doesn’t have those types of burdens. In order for your plan to work, we’d have to leave the EU – is that what you are advocating?

    Also, why the obsession with what FDR did? The 1930’s were over seven decades ago! Does the world look the same as it was seven decades ago? Hint: there was no EU then, no World Trade Organisation, and protectionist policies that Americans and the Empire went for back then, won’t wash now.

    And did people in the 1930’s say “we must return to how things were seven decades before in the 1840’s before the Civil War”? No, FDR was being cutting edge modern when he was in the hot seat!

    It’s lazy thinking to look at the long distant past and think if only we could go back to that everything would be fine. You are suffering from the same problem as the Kippers!

    The party that looks at the world as it is now and does some new thinking, will be the one that prevails this century.

  41. That should be the 1860’s. The Civil War was in the 1860’s

  42. @Candy

    “And how would you pay for it? By taxing actual productive businesses – you know the ones that produce goods and services that people actually want to pay for and have an actual business case, rather than “pretendy make work” created by the govt.”

    ———-

    It largely pays for itself. Instead of paying benefits, you pay wages. And because creating more demand, it encourages more business investment, thus employing more, and increasing govt. tax revenues while reducing welfare costs.

    If, as Syzygy suggests, they are employed to build housing, there is further financial benefit in reducing housing benefit costs and giving govt. an asset it can sell at a profit. And the housebuilding can stoke further demand and growth as people buy furnishings etc.

    It’s how we got decades of growth in the fifties and sixties while paying off big post war debt, until the Oil Crisis hit. Conversely, if you shed govt. jobs, as what happened in the early part of last parliament, growth fails, and govt. costs go up as tax revenue falls, welfare costs rise and business holds back on investment.

  43. @Carfrew

    Wages are not equal to benefits, they are higher, so the cost would rise from what it is now. And the difference would need to be made up from tax on the productive bits of the economy. Which would promptly relocate to escape the new costs, which would create further unemployment.

    You mention the 1950’s and 1960s – that was before Britain joined the EU!!!! Which meant companies couldn’t back then really pick the jurisdiction that favoured them while continuing to sell to Britons! They can now.

    It was also before the World Trade Organisation too – that was founded in 1995.

    Again, you are advocating solutions from periods of heavy protectionism. (Same with solutions from the 1930’s – People forget that in the 1930’s FDR didn’t repeal the protectionist legislation against foreign goods, and the Americans had also tightened up immigration to the point where ships of Jewish refugees were turned back – that all took place under FDR).

    It sounds to me that you are advocating a roll-back of globalisation and for us to exit the EU (those are the only conditions your ideas would work under). If that’s the case, fine, just say so.

    But if you want to stay in the EU, then all these ideas are unworkable. Where is the fresh thinking that marries free trade with growth and security?

  44. @ Martyn

    ‘(from memory) General Franco had a jobs guarantee for the unemployed. They were conscripted.’

    (From memory) I said a ‘job for all who needed or wanted one’ (smiley, winky thing)

  45. @Carfrew

    Your reply to Candy is exemplary. I would only add that the UK gov’t is the sole issuer of the currency and taxes are not required to pay for anything. Gov’t can therefore spend whatever it wishes provided that it does not exceed the country’s capacity to do/provide stuff. Full employment is the best indicator that the country has reached its maximum potential.

  46. I should have added that without immigration controls, any system that gives people a full wage for a pretendy job if they want it, will cause a stampede from the basket case economies of the eurozone.

    There’s a reason why Keir Hardie, Tony Benn and co were anti-immigration and anti-globalisation.

    State intervention of the sort you are advocating is incompatible with free movement of people and free trade. You need to pick a side.

  47. SYZYGY – “I would only add that the UK gov’t is the sole issuer of the currency and taxes are not required to pay for anything.”

    Oh Gawd!

    The only reason we’re getting away with printing money at the moment is because the velocity of money has collapsed. (People arn’t spending much so a given pound is moving through the economy at a much slower rate that it did before the Great Financial Collapse).

    But if you created demand with your Pretendy Job Scheme, presumably people would think, “my income is guaranteed, so no need to save”, and they’d start spending. The velocity of money would accelerate. If you print money in that circumstance you get inflation.

    So to cool things down, you’d need to a) stop printing money, b) make up the difference with tax and c) hike interest rates for good measure too.

    And given b), as long as we’re in the EU, businesses can escape this simply by relocating because we’re in the EU and they can while still selling their products here.

  48. @Candy

    “Wages are not equal to benefits, they are higher, so the cost would rise from what it is now. And the difference would need to be made up from tax on the productive bits of the economy. Which would promptly relocate to escape the new costs, which would create further unemployment.”

    ———

    You seem unable to read the entirety of a post. Wages may cost more than benefits, but I gave a host of ways in which govt. finances may additionally profit: attracting further investment and growth, reducing benefit costs while increasing tax revenues, indirect boosts to growth from house-building, reducing housing benefit costs, selling assets like housing at a profit etc.

    (Similarly employing people in infrastructure can attract investment, boost productivity and growth, furthering govt. finances, providing you don’t build roads to nowhere).

    On “protectionism”. It would help if you read prior posts where we already did this. Our Protectionism was bust open at the post-war Bretton Woods agreement: a condition of getting American loans was to open up our overseas markets. We weren’t in any state to exploit them anyway as over 50% of our industry – that which hadn’t been bombed – had been repurposed for the war effort. That’s how effective creating jobs and housebuilding etc. was. Revived us from a much worse position.

    In any event, I gave an example from the last parliament; if you want another, look at what happened under Thatcher’s first term cuts. Initially benefiting the deficit, the deficit then rose again as the costs of unemployment etc. rose.

    I am not advocating a rollback of globalisation, just employing some peeps to build houses and stuff. The idea that building housing can only provide benefits in an era of empire and protectionism is laughable. Straw men abound.

  49. @” taxes are not required to pay for anything. Gov’t can therefore spend whatever it wishes provided that it does not exceed the country’s capacity to do/provide stuff. ”

    Oh gawd-here we go again.

  50. @SYZYGY

    “Your reply to Candy is exemplary. I would only add that the UK gov’t is the sole issuer of the currency and taxes are not required to pay for anything. Gov’t can therefore spend whatever it wishes provided that it does not exceed the country’s capacity to do/provide stuff. Full employment is the best indicator that the country has reached its maximum potential.”

    ————–

    Not sure it’s appropriate to unleash MMT on Candy yet. Still trying to get her to read the posts properly, get the basic history straight, and realise that protectionism isn’t exactly a dealbreaker when building local houses and infrastructure. I mean, we weren’t on about exporting the houses…

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