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. Thinks-keep repeating-this is UKPR-not the real world.

  2. @Candy

    “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.”


    Now this is a valid concern, to which I alluded in an earlier post. It’s complicated, because immigration can also create jobs and growth…

    But it’s not an argument against creating jobs, per set. It’s an argument over who gets them…

  3. Carfrew – “Our Protectionism was bust open at the post-war Bretton Woods agreement”

    You appear to be pretending that trade in the 1950’s and 1960’s is as free as it is now in the post EU post WTO world.


    Were companies in the 1950’s able to locate in Luxembourg for tax purposes while selling their goods in the UK? No! Were we in a zero tariff free trade zone with big developed economies (like Germany and France)? No!

    Oh – and the Breton Woods world was a fixed currency world pegged to gold!

    You want to return to the 1950’s/60’s but without the fixed currency, without the tariffs, without immigration controls.

    You can’t turn back the clock.

    Instead of dragging out ideas from the long distant past, how about fashioning policies that work in the world as it is now?

  4. @Candy

    “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.”


    Nah, that’s neolib propaganda. Don’t drink the koolaid, Candy!! What happens as more money goes into the economy, is you stoke demand and employment, which reduces wages and offsets the inflation. UNTIL… you get close to full employment. THEN you get inflationary issues, which is why managing inflation was a key concern in the fifties and sixties.

    But once you get near full employment, you don’t need to create more jobs. Unless the political agenda is to keep growing the populace till we’re the largest nation in Western Europe (scheduled for around 2050).

    Incidentally, we have poured hundreds of billions into the economy via Quantitative Easing. Note the absence of rampant inflation. Bank of England calculated we got a few percent growth for a few percent inflation.

  5. @Candy

    We are talking about building houses and stuff, and creating local jobs. Not competing with Luxembourg on making HiFi or summat. Can you explain how no longer being pegged to the dollar means we can’t build housing? There are lots of ways the past is different to now, but most are straw men. Immigration, fair enough, but some of the other stuff…

  6. @Carfrew

    We’re near full employment now, but you are still advocating creating Pretendy Jobs! I doubt once it started anyone would be able to stop creating them – vested interests would just howl.

    As for QE not creating inflation – as I said in my previous post, that’s because velocity of money has collapsed and we’re in a globalised world. Once velocity of money picks up, you have to stop printing money else you get inflation.

    And if you stop printing money you have to finance govt spending via tax or international borrowing (which comes at a price).

    As I said, new thinking is required. Time machine politics don’t really work because we can’t recreate the exact conditions of the distant past.

  7. Uh, I made the resolution that I’m not coming to UKPR today … Well, that’s broken.

    There are just a few things:

    1) to be able to redistribute, we have to produce things to redistribute. It’s actually not easy (if you have ever worked on the line, even if like me for summer money and research)
    2) the currency that the BoE issues are IoYs. Goes only as far as your reputation. Beyond that the automatic discount would start to devalue them
    3) we can create work by building more canals, railways and what have you, but some of these have become skilled jobs, and also (while the UK should invest in infrastructure), they are not the future.
    4) you can’t abolish temporary unemployment, it existed even in state socialism, but it is not the person’s fault, so have a benefit system that doesn’t punish the person for this
    5) long term unemployment is a vice shared by the individual and the government as it is related to the skill set no longer required, and geographic movement of jobs
    6) the UK government doesn’t have the institutional means to introduce economic policies in any systematic manner. If you want one, it’s a huge job.
    7) if you think that benefit is down to individual circumstances, devise a system in which you delegate the decision making as decentralised as it’s possible (my neighbour knows that I knocked by rib cage pretty badly a month ago, but also that I don’t need benefit)
    8) for Labour: think of a message in which the Conservative vision of transparent relationships (which are not transparent, and often used to justify the status quo), the Liberal message of fair chances (when they aren’t fair, but give “aspirations”), the social democratic message of redistribution (that runs out of money time to time), the Green message of responsibility for present and future (but with some science please, e.g. Locally produced has a higher carbon footprint in most cases) come together. Only Labour can do it, and it won’t.

  8. @COLIN

    “Thinks-keep repeating-this is UKPR-not the real world.”


    It’s generally a lot nicer here…


    Of course-that’s what unreal worlds are for-to be in a nice place with no problems and instant painless solutions to everything.

    Its great-actually people have voted for it in my lifetime-but that was a while ago :-)

  10. @Candy

    Bulding housing, infrastructure, flood defences etc. Are not pretendy jobs. They have numerous benefits which you are ignoring by distracting with Straw men.

    Zero hours contracts etc. are a poor approximation to full employment. It’s not just about any old job but better jobs. Otherwise big tax credit spend etc.

    And no one is advocating printing money forever. Only till you get inflationary issues, whereupon you would usually no longer need to keep printing it as it would conventionally mean strong employment and healthy economy.

  11. @Carfrew

    You are taking about creating Pretendy Jobs on construction sites (knock buildings down, build them, knock them down, rebuild them).

    What I’m pointing out is that to pay for the Pretendy Jobs, you will have to tax actual businesses, which can avoid the tax by relocating to Luxembourg. In a free movement of capital world, it’s simple to avoid tax if you want.

    Your ideas all come from the distant past where a) businesses couldn’t avoid tax by relocating headquarters b) people couldn’t move here to take advantage of Pretendy Jobs at Full Pay.

    As for the suggestion that we don’t need to raise tax to pay for the scheme, we just print money – we are only able to do that in current circumstances because velocity of money has collapsed. But that won’t be the case long term.

    The current era we’re living in is an abberation of history, even if you go back 400 years. Sooner or later we’ll revert to the norm – normal velocity of money, normal interest rates, normal inflation. Making plans assuming we’ll be in permanent deflation is like the Scots making plans assuming oil would be permanently over $100 (when it only managed that price for a grand total of five years in it’s entire history).

    Also, why this obsession with regurgitating policies from the distant past? You are as bad as the Kippers. Where’s the new thinking?

  12. @Colin

    No one said anything about instant or painless. Even building housing has issues, esp. if you’re into BTL and want rents and property values to rise.

  13. @ Candy @ Carfrew

    Tax revenue and not profit. It’s simple, well, it isn’t. It requires the change of mind sets.

  14. @CANDY

    “You are taking about creating Pretendy Jobs on construction sites (knock buildings down, build them, knock them down, rebuild them).”


    No, you’re misrepresenting. I’m talking about building assets: housing, infrastructure, flood defences etc.
    You are trying to characterise it as make-work.

  15. Just out of interest….

    I have just been sorting out a few old local newspapers (Clacton Gazette) I accumulated during the election campaign and came across this snippet from 19 March 2015:

    “A leading election forecaster has predicted a UKIP win in Clacton at the forthcoming General Election….

    “Politics professor, Matthew Goodwin, of Nottingham University, said Clacton was one of four seats the party had already won….

    “He said there would have to be a ‘monumental car crash before May 7’ for the party not to take Clacton along with South Thanet, Rochester and Strood and Thurrock.

    “Prof Goodwin said,’My view is that UKIP is likely to win six Parliamentary constituencies.They have got three or four seats in the bag unless there is a monumental mistake and a car crash before May7….”

    Apparently it was a pretty horrific car crash, with only one survivor.

  16. @ Carfrew

    Do you really think that housing and the slowly (well, at the moment) swelling housing price bubble is the main issue of the UK economy (including employment)? If 500,000 houses were built, would it solve the key questions of the economy?

    No doubt that houses should be built. But it is not an economic policy. It’s a mirage.

  17. @Candy

    “What I’m pointing out is that to pay for the Pretendy Jobs, you will have to tax actual businesses”


    Nope, as I pointed out, it can pay for itself, and has previously.

    We don’t need to print money to do it, that was just an aside. We agree you can’t do it forever: point is, as I said, you don’t need to.

    You are reiterating points already dealt with ignoring my replies. I’m off to see a gig or summat.

    I take it backmCol.: Sometimes life’s better elsewhere!!

  18. @ Norbold

    Well, with the blushes of my predictions I can’t comment :-)

  19. Laszlo
    “Tax revenue and not profit. It’s simple, well, it isn’t. It requires the change of mind sets.”

    Is it fair to tax revenue if a company makes a loss?

  20. CANDY

    Just to point out that we are not “printing money” to pay for government spending.

    The BoE has purchased £375 bn of Gilts in the secondary market in exchange for new cash – ie an excercise in improving liquidity in the UK Credit system.

    They didn’t pay the money to the Treasury.

    The Gilts in question are all dated . As the redemption dates come round the BoE gets repaid by the Treasury . As of now £ 27.3 bn has been repaid to BoE by the Treasury-and of course the Treasury has had to go to the Gilt market to refinance that sum-in the usual way.

    Currently BoE is using redemptions to re-purchase Gilts already in issue from Financial Institutions-thus maintaining the Liquidity it originally created at the £375 bn level.

    When it judges conditions to be right, BoE will stop re-investing redemptions from the Treasury-at which point the additional Liquidity created by QE will start to be withdrawn from the Market.

    Throughout, however the Government must borrow & repay & reborrow……….to fund its Debt.

  21. @Laszlo – “Tax revenue and not profit. It’s simple, well, it isn’t. It requires the change of mind sets.”

    It’s a recipe for eliminating all businesses in the UK!

    Consider this example:

    Revenue: £1,000,000
    Cost of goods including raw materials: £500,000
    Staff costs: £200,000
    Profit after all costs: £300,000
    Tax on profits at 30%: £90,000

    Now suppose you just say, lets tax revenue, so the tax yield will be £300,000 @ a tax rate of 30%

    The business says, Oh, Oh, that means there is no profit and hence no point in running this business. They file to wind the business down.

    The tax take the govt gets then goes from the existing, £90,000 (plus what they got from NI conts and income tax on the employees), to ZERO. And now they have some newly unemployed people to house and feed as well!

    Big state intervention requires Big Controls on the economy. In the 1950’s we were in a currency system pegged to gold, there was no free movement of capital, capital controls were in place. There was no free movement of people, we controlled who came into the country. Businesses couldn’t sell here without paying tax on profits generated here – but now they can.

    It was a very very different world. We can change back, but that involves leaving the EU and the WTO and all that comes with it’s own set of new problems.

    Magical thinking where you can go back to the past and keep the norms of the present at the same time, just doesn’t work.

  22. @Colin

    Yes. But the net effect is that the govt didn’t need to go to the markets for it’s borrowing like poor old Greece. And hence didn’t have to pay a premium – so in effect printing the money and buying gilts at near zero interests rates was a free lunch of sorts for teh taxpayer. But one that won’t last forever.

  23. @ Pete B

    Yes, it is, in general. You can account for particular circumstances that you, the regulator, want to account for.

    The reason I came to this: for all the technological changes, for all the market changes, etc. the COGS (cost of goods sold) relative to the revenue has been the same for the last 60 years in the U.S. economy. It is artificially created, constructed (like margins, really).

  24. Candy
    Obviously the tax rate on revenue would have to be a much lower rate than the tax rate on profits. However there is still the problem of taxing revenue if the company makes a losss.

  25. @ Candy

    All you speak about is accounting and not business.

    Let them do it. If the market is there, there will be companies to do it.

    By the way, if you tax revenue, you can be more sophisticated than taxing profits.

  26. Candy and Laszlo
    Re taxing revenue. It could get very complicated trying to find a tax rate or rates that was fair to companies with a small margin but huge volume, like Tesco and a company with big margin but small volume such as a computer contractor for instance (but there are many others).

    e.g. 5% tax rate would have a massive effect on the likes of Tesco (I can’t be bothered to look up their latest figures), but much less effect on the other sort of company.

  27. CANDY

    Thats not correct.

    As I have explained, the BoE purchased its Gilts in the secondary market.

    It is debarred from buying them from the Government.

    Therefore the Treasury is always exposed to the Gilt Market for its borrowing..

    Of course though-the existence of a willing buyer of UK Gilts on that scale has caused a bubble in Gilt prices ( some would argue also in other asset classes !!) -and a fall in Gilt yields to ultra low levels.

    The Government has benefited from this.

    In addition GO has received the interest paid to BoE on QE Gilts back -making the £375bn effectively interest free.

    A suspect policy in my book-because when BoE winds down the QE asset holdings it may sustain losses -and the Treasury will have to fund these.

    The coupon on QE Gilts should have stayed with BoE in my view.

  28. @Syzygy

    Ah, yes you did, thank you

  29. @Colin

    Yes, but the BoE being such a big purchaser in the Gilt market, essentially makes that market.

    Having such a big player that can print at will the amount it needs to purchase, essentially means that the market for gilts is not “free”. It’s controlled by institutions owned by the state.

  30. CANDY

    Well the stock of Gilts held by BoE is certainly a significant part of State Debt-though with the latter at £1.5 trillion , not a “controlling” factor. There are still massive amounts of Government Debt unsupported by the BoE secondary purchases .

    No-the BIG factors from GOs point of view have been :-

    A ready market for his Funding requirements.
    Very low interest rates to service his Debt.

  31. CANDY

    ……….and of course BoE is no longer in the market for new Gilts.

    Its stck is being held at £375 bn-and it is only re-investing funds from redeemed Gilts now-pretty small beer.

  32. @Norbold

    To be fair everybody’s predictions were wrong. Going through the constituency guide threads here makes for a good laugh – particularly the Lib Dem supporters backing them to make gains!

    The odd thing about UKIP is that whilst most people had them winning about the 4 seats that Prof. Goodwin predicted most didn’t have them getting as good a vote share as they did… what seems to have happened is that where they were competitive there had been a polarising effect with anti-UKIPpers tactically voting for the incumbent.

  33. Candy

    According to the UK Debt Management Office website-they plan to sell £ 131 bn of Gilts in 2015/16

    BoE re-investments of QE Gilt repayments have been :-
    2103 £8.5 bn
    2014 £14.4 bn
    2015 to date £ 4.4 bn

    As I say-small beer now-the Liquidity stimulus is done & dusted a few years ago

  34. Laszlo – “All you speak about is accounting and not business. Let them do it. If the market is there, there will be companies to do it.”

    Accounting reflects real costs! So if your accounts say you’ve spent £200,000 on staff costs, this is not just an entry on a ledger – you’ve actually paid that money out. There are real costs involved in businesses – rent for the premises, council tax for premises, electricity and heating, machines, raw materials, as well as the staff.

    As for your remark about “if the market is there”, you seem to think that demand for a product is the only consideration. But a business will only fulfil the demand for a product if it is profitable for them to do so.

    While we’re in the EU, the solution for a business should the UK start taxing revenue is simple. Just relocate to say Ireland, and you can then supply the demand in the UK while your entire tax regime is under the jurisdiction of a country that only taxes profits. Job done as far as the business is concerned. (The EU is great for business!) And the customer is happy too, as their demand is being met.

    The govt will be very unhappy though, as there won’t be any businesses within their jurisdiction to tax!

    If we left the EU – then if the tax on revenue is greater than the profit, then something must be cut in order to be able to pay it – staff costs most likely. Or the business closes if it can’t cut expenses enough to pay the tax bill.

    So we’re looking at business closures either way with this policy, but more if we’re in the EU than if we leave.

    P.S. I’m fascinated by how all the solutions left-wing people come up with would work better outside the EU than in…

    I think Mr Crosby was predicting a Tory win, as did Matthew Parris of the Times.
    The new MP for Ilford North says he knew; in an article for the new House magazine.
    BTW, as kids say, I think Yvette and Andy and Tom Watson seem to be in denial about Labour’s crisis.

  36. @Chris Lane

    There has been some after the event people saying they were right… the Labour and Tory pollsters, Survation, various others. Matthew Parris did get it right to be fair. But I’m not sure any one can have been certain – they can’t have known their data was better than everybody elses even if it turned out to be right.

    Around conference season I’d thought a Tory maj was conceivable but in the end followed the data as I suppose you have to. I was right about the LDs doing a bit worse than Ashcroft and consequently the CONs making a few more gains than expected though even there I over-estimated them… I think I gave the LDs 16 or 18 in my prediction on here when most were going for 25-ish.

  37. @ Carfew

    ‘Not sure it’s appropriate to unleash MMT on Candy yet.’

    (Had to smile)

  38. Labour leadership debate turning very ugly. (This is not a sexist, misogynistic, unreconstructed Tory comment about the two ladies, sorry woman’s appearance.)

  39. Meanwhile on the EU ref front, an alliance of convenience between Ken Clarke and John Redwood asking David Cameron that cabinet members be allowed to campaign freely in EU debate

    You are a little naught at times, but we like you on UKPR.

    Harriet Harman has said that Labour needs a real debate, and there is going to be one; I think Liz Kendall will win in the end, as most members and registered supporters will want to vote for a candidate who can appeal outside London and the old coal fields and docks.

  41. @ExileinYorks

    I think we have to distinguish between letting ministers campaign either way on principle and letting ministers campaign for out because they didn’t think Cameron did a very good job with renegotiation… the former should be allowed (repressing the debate would be non-sensical), the latter would undermine the PMs authority.

  42. @ Jack Sheldon

    Differentiating between those who take an Out position “on principle”, and those who take an Out position because DC fails to meet their personal red-lines may prove to be a challenge, especially as DC (for obvious reasons) has not boxed himself in with a set of minimum acceptable terms.

    I suspect that there will only be a few ministers who will openly take the opposite side to DC/GO. However, there may be quite a few who for the sake of loyalty/party unity opt to keep their heads down as much as possible and in effect support neither side.

  43. @ Candy

    In accounting you have discretionary and non-discretionary expenditures. I don’t know UK companies (I haven’t had got to do that analysis), but in the case of the about 40,000 U.S. public companies, I can tell you that all the costs carefully structured, and the structure reflects the expectations of the stock markets and not the business.

    I can also say that a fairly large proportion of these firms officially have never made any profit, but they have been around for decades.

    Most of the losses aren’t operating losses, but exceptional items (mainly writing off bad M&A).

    Discretionary spending has an interesting pattern (e.g. sales cost going up when sales going down) and suggests ways of taking money out of the company (by the management).

  44. If Liz Kendall wins the Labour Party leadership and Tim Farron wins the LibDem one, will that put the LibDems recognisably to the left of the Labour Party? And, if it does, what does that mean in electoral terms?

  45. Colin

    “Thinks-keep repeating-this is UKPR-not the real world.”

    How right you are Colin, our friends on the left still don’t seem to understand the economic realities of the Modern World.

    Still if the left go on thinking that way then the Tories are likely to win again in 2020. It seems to me that many on the left still do not understand that the electorate have rejected socialism.

  46. TOH

    If they choose Burnham/Watson I will be quite happy :-)

  47. LASZLO

    @”in the case of the about 40,000 U.S. public companies,”

    There are approx 5000 public listed companies in USA.
    ( WSJ)

    @”I can also say that a fairly large proportion of these firms officially have never made any profit, but they have been around for decades.”

    Could you supply the evidence for this statement please.

    @”Most of the losses aren’t operating losses, but exceptional items (mainly writing off bad M&A).”

    Could you supply the evidence for this statement please.

    @”Discretionary spending has an interesting pattern (e.g. sales cost going up when sales going down) and suggests ways of taking money out of the company (by the management).”

    Could you supply the evidence for this statement-and also explain why Marketing Costs would not increase when sales are declining.

  48. Norbold

    I still think that Burnham is likely to win.

    But Kendall is right to identify the centre as the place for Labour to be. It is reasonable to assume that the Tories will drift somewhat to the right, thus leaving the centre for Labour to occupy.

    The trick for Labour is to secure those Middle England voters, by adopting centrist policies, but also by showing that they are economically competent and fiscally sound. That is a tall order, because the reputation of Labour for ‘tax and spend’ is deserved.

    They have to do all this without alienating their traditional voter in their heartlands, although many of these seats are pretty safe.

    On top of that, they need the Tories to have a few internecine wars, and for ‘events’ to favour them, and for the Tories to fail to engineer a pre-election set of favourable economic numbers.

    On top of that, they need the LibDems and Greens to fail to make any significant progress by claiming a disenchanted Labour left wing.

    Perhaps the most difficult task will be to stop whingeing.

    Anyway, if all the above can be promoted and achieved, then they have every chance of winning. I really don’t think it is as big a task as some are suggesting: in particular, I don’t see their chances in terms of the ‘swing’ that they need. If they offer the best option for voters, it will probably be taken up.

    And they can only gain in Scotland. There is obvious opportunity there.

    As for the LibDems, especially if Kendall wins the Lab leadership, they cannot possibly survive as the ‘squeezed middle’. The odds are already stacked against them with no incumbency bonus. I seriously think that they may be down to one or no seats.

    They simply have to tack to the left and offer a liberal, localist, green agenda. This will take them close to the Greens, but that is the chance they take, and something might develop between them.

    In electoral terms, they face oblivion either way, but they can still be a powerful force, as the Greens have been, in shaping opinion. Ultimately, this could translate into a viable parliamentary presence. It will be a very long road, but it can be done.

    The first thing I would do is talk to what still functions as the Liberal Party. They have the name and they have many of the policies. It would be a good start to building that progressive left coalition.

    I would also have a chat with Caroline Lucas about parliamentary cooperation. Including only one candidate in any by-election.

  49. Apologies – I’ve just seen what an essay that was.

  50. I think given Labour’s likely direction, there will be a massive gap for a left of centre, socially liberal, civil right’s defending and environmentally based party.

    If you ‘merged’ a Charles Kennedy LD party, and the current Green Party, I think you would be close.

    The Conservatives and Labour have left this space sometime ago.

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