Voodoo polling corner

Back in 2012 I wrote about the Observer reporting an open-access poll on a website campaigning against the government’s health bill as if it was representative of members of the Royal College of Physicians. I also wrote to the Observer’s readers’ editor, Stephen Pritchard, who wrote this article about it.

The Guardian today is making the same error – they have an article claiming that seven out of ten junior doctors will leave the profession if the new junior doctor’s contract goes through. The headline presents it as representative of all junior doctors and it is referred to as a poll and a survey in the first two paragraphs. Only in the final, seventeenth paragraph is it revealed that it wasn’t conducted by any reputable market research organisation, but a self conducted survey of members of a Facebook group, the Junior Doctors Contract Forum, which is campaigning against the new contract (the Telegraph had a similar article earlier this month that appears to be based on the same data).

We cannot tell if efforts were made to limit the poll to actual doctors or to make it representative of junior doctors in terms of career stage, age, region and so on – it doesn’t really matter, as it is fatally undermined by being conducted in a forum campaigning against a contract. It would be like conducting a poll on fox hunting in the Countryside Alliance’s Facebook group and presenting that as representative of the countryside’s views on foxhunting. The flaw should be screamingly obvious.

Questions along the lines of “If thing you oppose happens, will you do x?” are extremely dubious anyway. The problem is that respondents to opinion polls are not lab rats, they are human beings who seek to use polls to express their opinion, even when it’s not exactly what the question asks. From a respondent’s point of view, if you are filling in a survey about something you oppose, you’re are likely to give the answers that most effectively express your opposition. Faced with a question like this, it’s far more effective to say you might leave your job if your contract is changed than say you’d meekly accept it and carry on as usual.

We see this again and again in polls seeking to measure the impact of policies. For example, before tuition fees were increased there were lots of polls claiming to show how many young people would be put off going to university by increased fees (such as here and here). After the rise, they miraculously continued to apply anyway. Nobody wants to tell a pollster that they would just swallow the thing they oppose.

I don’t doubt that many or most junior doctors are unhappy with the new contract, but you can’t get a representative poll by surveying campaigning groups, and you shouldn’t necessarily believe people telling pollsters about the awful consequences that will happen if something they don’t like happens. It’s a lot easier to make a threat to a pollster that you’ll resign from your job than it is to actually do it.

UPDATE: While I’m here in voodoo polling corner, I should also highlight this cracking example of a voodoo poll in the Daily Mail. It claims “One in three women admit they watch porn at least once a week”… but it seems to be an open access poll of Marie Claire readers, certainly it is in no way representative of all women in terms of things like age. It contains the delightful line that “Out of the more than 3,000 women surveyed, 91 per cent of the survey’s respondents identify as female, eight per cent identify as men and one per cent is transgender.” I don’t know how to break it to them, but you probably can’t include the 8% who are men in a survey of 3000 women.


217 Responses to “Voodoo polling corner”

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  1. Lazlo & Jack Sheldon

    As I hoped I had made clear I feel the current form of EVEL is still far from satisfactory but it mis better thatn the previous IMO iniquitous situation. To my mind a much simpler -only English MP’s can vote on English only legislation, would be much better and I hope that this is what we end up with after review in a years time.

  2. @TOH

    Things may end up going that way, though that would more legitimately raise many of the questions that Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs have been raising about what we have.

  3. @ John Sheldon

    Read it very carefully: what happens after the first reading of a proposal and who makes the decision.

  4. @RMJ1 & Oldnat
    In an ideal world, with a truly united kingdom, the single central government would give proper attention to and fair consideration of, the views and needs of the sparsely populated regions of the country.
    That would save much money, time and disputation, but ideals are hard to achieve.

  5. @Oldnat

    What’s to stop the UK Government (majority of Tories) raising all UK taxes, while England-only (with overwhelming majority of Tories) gets lower taxes in other forms?

    It’s time for taxes to remain in the nation they were generated. If Scots are indeed biting the hand that feeds them, it’s time the hand was withdrawn from their throats.

  6. @Laszlo

    Yes, the decision is made by the Speaker. In practice it will be made by the clerks of the House with the Speaker having a final say in the most controversial cases. I’m not sure the Speaker is the ideal person for this but who else? It can’t be a committee of MPs because that would politicise the decision, it shouldn’t be a panel of appointed legal experts because they can’t have the confidence of the House in the way the Speaker always does. I don’t doubt that the Speaker will have to set some precedents early on, which may not always be popular. But these things will, I’m sure, be ironed out over the next five years. It should be said that the Speaker already has similar powers to decide whether something is a money bill for the purposes of the Parliament Act and in selecting amendments, so it isn’t true that vesting a power in the Speaker is a radical new departure.

  7. @ Colin

    I happen to have the same “anxieties” (in search of a better word). By the way, the immigration from the Balkans has been constant, and remains significant.

    The EU is inadequate, and talking to some civil servants in the EC, I’m convinced they feel the same, and also that ideological assumptions are constantly in the way.

    My point was much more simple: I do know the winter in the Balkans – there is an urgent task.

    The problem won’t go away and a billion euro here or there won’t help much.

    Then it is really an ethical question for the Homo sapiens sapiens.

  8. statgeek

    “What’s to stop the UK Government (majority of Tories) raising all UK taxes, while England-only (with overwhelming majority of Tories) gets lower taxes in other forms?”

    Nothing – except that 1. it is too obvious and 2. the elite care no more for much of England than they do for the remainder of the UK.

    Far better (from their point of view) to continue with the present system, whereby the Treasury arbitrarily decides which matters are to be funded UK wide, and which can be labelled as “identifiable” to the nations/regions.

    I’ve linked to this report before.

    http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/faculty/social-sciences/news/infrastructure-investment-bias-1.501418

  9. There’s no justification for my MP in Cardiff North to be voting on English matters, but this proposal is coming across as very rushed.

  10. Dave

    “In an ideal world, with a truly united kingdom, the single central government would give proper attention to and fair consideration of, the views and needs of the sparsely populated regions of the country.”

    I’m sure that the interests of the Scilly Isles are a constant focus of discussion in the London clubs – though more action might be achieved through a reconstituted Stannary Parliament.

    And the Tories were obviously paying attention to their friends’ interests in the sparsely populated parts of Scotland when they abolished taxes on shooting and fishing estates in 1995.

    Fortunately, the Scottish Government has been paying attention to the rest of the rural population, and they will once again be subject to the taxation that every other business pays.

  11. DW

    I agree – if the “English” matter has no effect on the finance available to the Welsh government. if it does, then s/he has a legitimate vote.

    As to the proposal being “rushed”, again I agree. With the Tories having a majority of MPs in both England and the UK, they had no reason to ignore the call from the Lords to look at the proposals in more detail, and over a longer time span.

    The present rushed implementation can’t make a whit of difference to the governance of England for at least 4.5 years.

    However, it does allow a lot of English (& Welsh?) Tories to imagine that “their” government is delivering something (no matter how meaningless – though potentially problematic) to them.

  12. @DW @OldNat

    ‘Very rushed’ – the West Lothian question was first raised in 1977, the proposal accepted today appeared in draft before the end of the last Parliament and a number of committee’s have looked at it in this one. My only concern is that perhaps they could have set up a special debating committee to facilitate the type of line-by-line scrutiny a bill gets. Anyway, as I said earlier this will have little practical effect this Parliament so there is a good opportunity to identiy problems that might occur if and when it become a subject of genuine controversy.

  13. If the aim was solidify the Union, then I think EVEL achieves the opposite, and hastens the day it breaks apart.

    The UK political settlement is a hotch-potch of pieces that don’t fit well together. I think EVEL is just another piece that doesn’t fit.

    I think it is a short term tactical fix, that in the end will be a strategic failure. The entire way power is distributed nationally and locally in the UK needs looking at in detail, and taking back to the drawing board.

    That includes local government, regional government, our relationship with the EU, WTO and NATO, our voting system and so on…..

    It’s worth waiting a few years to get it right. Constructions made of cardboard and double-sided sticky soon fall to bit when it rains.

  14. Jack Sheldon

    “the West Lothian question was first raised in 1977” – wholly speculative until 1999 and meaningless thereafter. Judging by many of the comments on here, still widely misunderstood.

    Tam Dalyell was making an argument against any legislative devolution from Westminster and, rather ironically, Enoch Powell (sitting as a UUP MP for a constituency that had operated under the “West Belfast Question” since the inception of Northern Ireland in 1922) demonstrated his total lack of understanding of the Parliamentary Sovereignty that he so passionately supported – “We have finally grasped what the Honourable Member for West Lothian is getting at. Let us call it the West Lothian question”.

    Once that had occurred, the only “solutions” were to abolish the Scottish Parliament, or to establish an English devolved Parliament along similar lines.

    There are very legitimate concerns about how England (and the UK) can best be democratically governed. Those have existed since, at least 1920.

    The problem is very old, but political England has chosen to ignore it until recently.

    As has been discussed, the proposed EVEL changes will achieve nothing for English autonomy. Seemingly, it will keep a number of English Tories happy.

    That is the function of Westminster/Whitehall constitutional change – create a veneer of concern and cede the minimal possible change.

    Scotland has seen that policy in action since The Duke of Richmond was created as the first modern SoS for Scotland in 1885.

    If England is temporarily satisfied with EVEL, then you can look forward to something meaningful happening in 125 years or so (if the UK still exists).

  15. How will it work with the Northern powerhouse or greater devolution to a London, will we have a West Manchester question.

    You can’t solve English devolution from Westminster. The question is legitimate the answer is shoddy.

    I think an English Parliament if only to solve a coordination role for more local devolution is the logical solution.

  16. DW

    It’s a logical solution, but nothing significant will change as long as political England sees Westminster as “their” Parliament with the addition of some representatives of the other UK nations.

  17. @Oldnat

    Fair to say Edinburgh is as remote on these issues as London. How many homes do you own ?You must be practically an estate owner yourself

  18. Wolf

    Presumably something in your head persuaded you that you were making some point or other.

  19. @Oldnat, @Amber Star

    If the Scottish MPs wish to vote on these matters, it is simple to arrange.

    They merely have to persuade their MSP colleagues to return the relevant devolved power to Westminster. Then, as UK MPs they will be able to vote on what will once again be UK powers, EVEL will not apply, and MPs from any part of the UK vote for laws that apply to any part of the UK.

    Of course, the chance of any politician voting to reduce their powers is smaller than that of a paper dog successfully chasing an asbestos cat through hell, so persuading MSPs to return any power to Westminster seems unlikely.

  20. I watched the whole EVEL debate and it is very obviously a pigs ear.

    1. Scots Lords can vote on legislation that Scots MPs cannot
    2. English MPs vote down all amendments to Scotland Bill is that acceptable in these EVEL days
    3. English MPs are a majority on Scottish affairs committee, whereas Scots can’t sit on English committee
    3. Scottish block grant depends on English spending but Scots excluded from those votes
    4. Heathrow 3rd runway, HS2 English infrastructure projects Scots have to pay for…..
    5. Problem of never again having a Scots PM or Speaker etc

    58 out of 59 Scottish MPs voted against but it went through – the very democratic deficit that devolution was set up to address.

    But, as always I ask myself ‘Does this bring independence closer?’ The answer is a definite Yes, it will be a gift that keeps on giving.

    It amazes me that after winning the Referendum unionists seem to be actively trying to lose the next one.

  21. Laszlo
    “And as we are members of the same species, and as the notion of nations is a historical-political creation …”

    I can only guess what the dots signify, but if they mean that a person from anywhere in the world can come to this country and be at least partially supported by my taxes, they can think again.

  22. I can disclose now. The onlu reason there cannot be an English Parliament, because its members would be known as MEPs, which is rather confusing. However if the referendum in 2016/17 is a yes …

  23. @ Pete B

    “person from anywhere in the world can come to this country and be at least partially supported by my taxes, they can think again.”

    I’m afraid I probably won’t see it, but it certainly will happen. And it has nothing to do with your tax (you have been subsidised probably above your taxes anyway). But as to your taxes: check the latest figures about migrants net effect on public finances (hopefully then you will withdraw your comment).

    Also, when it happens, taxes and alike won’t matter. Only survival. So, you chose one death for about two quid on current prices.

    I rest my case.

    (Anthony Wells, apologies, but I could let an ignorant, offensive comment go).

  24. @ Colin

    According to the DT, the attacker was from the far right. It can be dealt with, and it is likely take out the wind from the sail of the Swedish Democrats, and lead them back to the mainstream parties.

    Feeling sorry, of course, for the victims.

  25. I really hate iPad’s attempts to correct what I want to write – taking out an apostrophe is bearable. But taking out a “not” – it is not, can we have an edit function please?

  26. LASZLO

    Yes-as expected-but the ethnic mix in the school is of more significance.

    Complacency will simply generate more of this-and political parties to step into the angry space to give it a “voice”.

    I have just read Henning Mankell’s first Wallander novel-topic -failed immigration controls/ mismanaged reception & distribution procedure / effect on policing etc etc

    It was published in 1997.

  27. Good morning all from Westminster North…

    “One in three women admit they watch porn at least once a week”… but it seems to be an open access poll of Marie Claire readers,”
    ________

    Nothing wrong with watching a bit of porn, however I personally don’t watch porn as I have two giant posters in my bedroom, one of Angela Eagle and the other Ann Widdecombe both of which more than satisfy my needs.

    I do have a question though! Why is a charity organisation like Marie Claire conducting polls on porn?

  28. @Oldnat
    Thank you for last night’s post which well illustrates how far we are from giving
    “proper attention to and fair consideration of, the views and needs”
    I agree with your other post too, about token solutions.
    But is your Stannary Court to be responsible for Scilly Isles only, or for the whole of Cornwall?
    Cornwall population 530,000; Scilly Isles 2,200 or 0.4% (Devon is now 1.1million)
    UK population 65 million; Scotland 5 million or 7.5%
    How do you ensure that Scilly gets a fair deal from a Cornish Stannary Court? They can hardly aim for independence. Stannary Courts looked after the interests of the tin miners. Perhaps the Orkneys or the Shetlands would want to separate from Scotland?

  29. The Isles of Scilly ( NEVER-Scilly Isles) do pretty well on the devolution front.

    Since 1890 “The Council of the Isles of Scilly “is a separate authority to the Cornwall Council unitary authority, despite Scilly ( a permissable diminutive) being part of the ceremonial county of Cornwall,and as such the islands are not part of the administrative county of Cornwall.

    Why would a reconstituted Tin Mining authority based in mainland Cornwall be an improvement ?

  30. @Couper

    In response to your points:

    1/ A red herring. Scottish peers will have the same power to amend or block as Scottish MPs, as is the case now.

    2/ I think there is a case for a Scottish consent motion for Scotland Bills (and Welsh for Wales Bills) – maybe something to look at during the review. Of course at the moment as the constitution is reserved these are UK-wide matters.

    3/ Two completely different types of committee. If we restored the Scottish Grand Committee it would be composed overwhelmingly of SNP members. If the select committee was composed of members in proportion to Scottish MPs that would be silly as it would just become a vehicle for SNP policy.

    4/ The way EVEL will work for spending will need to be watched, for sure.

    5/ No decision has been made about whether Heathrow or HS2 would necessarily be ‘English-only’. The Speaker will decide (as the HS2 (London-West Midlands Bill) is already in the hybrid bill committee the procedure won’t apply to remaining stages).

    6/ I don’t see why it would preclude either. What it probably does preclude is a Scottish Health or Education Secretary though, with a few exceptions, this has become a convention since 1999 anyway.

  31. Jack Sheldon – yours of11.27

    Your point 1: Wrong. The new arrangements only apply to the House of Commons, not to the House of Lords. So Scots peers will have a vote on English only legislation, when Scots MPs will not.

    Your point 5: Heathrow and HS2 are undoubtely UK wide matters, and not only because Scottish taxpayers will be helping to provide the money (as pointed out by Couper at 12.05 a.m.)!
    These two big infrastructure projects would have a massive impact on the rest of the UK, and not just on the immediate area around London.

    FWIW, my own view is that there should not be a third runway at Heathrow, but that a high speed train link should be built (much of it using existing motorway corridors) between the four outer London airports, thus making it more easy to transfer between them. Stanstead to Heathrow in 45 minutes would be far better than inflicting yet more noise and air pollution on the people of west London.

  32. @John B

    No, you are wrong. Under the changes agreed yesterday Scottish MPs will still be able to vote on, and potentially amend, even bills designated as ‘England-only’. There will just be an additional stage at which English MPs may exercise a veto. If the votes of Scottish MPs mean a bill could not proceed there would be nothing English MPs could do about it, even if the bill had been designated as ‘England-only’. This means that they will continue to have all of the powers they have at the moment.

  33. @Jack

    Will Scots’ MPs have a veto on matters pertaining to Scotland?

  34. @Statgeek

    No, they won’t. Though, of course, MSPs will have a veto over matters equivalent to those to which EVEL will apply. Bills such as the current Scotland Bill are a slightly awkward case – there is possibly a case to be made for a Scottish consent motion but right now it is a reserved matter and therefore for the purposes of these standing orders would be no more Scotland-only than, say, the Immigration Bill.

  35. @Jack Sheldon

    English MPs can also amend in that additional stage, amendments could change the nature of the bill ie from one that did not effect Scotland to one that does. But, once a bill is denoted as English only that status cannot be changed.

    […]

    If England wants devolved power then they should set up their own parliament not co-opt the UK one.

    But, as I always say never interrupt your enemy when they are making a mistake. England has got EVEL before Scotland has a single new power.

  36. Couper
    I find myself sadly agreeing with you, this whole EVEL farce should frankly be called out for what it is, its a blatant partisan ploy by the Tories. The West Lothian question obviously needs addressing and some method of properly devolving issues to respective elected representatives is important but this is a slap dash job designed to benefit the Tories and not cost any money and in my honest opinion if their is one thing that HAS to be done consensually, carefully and with no expense spared its the matter of a nations constitution. The UK is such a messy patchwork of nonsense at present we DESPERATLY need a constitutional convention.

    I actually found myself agreeing with the DUP for the first time when they said that “if their is a need for an English parliament let England have one, but stop meddling with the Union parliament” now as I’ve said before I’m staunchly against an English parliament but even that would be better than this bill.

  37. So I haven’t been following the EVEL debate closely, but from these comments it sounds in equal measures boring, farcical, predictable and impenetrable to anyone outside the Westminster bubble.

  38. So, if some sort of solution is required, but EVEL isn’t it (rushed, ill thought out, partisan, whatever), and most of you don’t like the idea of an English parliament, what IS the solution. It’s not like its a new problem, or that it’s only just received attention.

    I can understand those who say its not a problem (so the Scots have more rights than us, so what, they’re “special”, bless them, and only little, doesn’t really matter). But for those that believe that it IS a problem, I am always a bit suspicious when they say someone else is wrong but don’t say what is right.

    What are we talking, regional parliaments? Legislative powers for County and Unitary councils? Weighted voting in the HoC? What? What are the alternatives to EVEL that require all this discussion for the process not to be “rushed”.

  39. @Neil A

    The answer is Scottish independence obviously and I’m pretty sure the SNP will be able to use EVEL to further that cause.

    Ireland can be united and Wales can come with their Celtic cousin’s Scotland leaving the Westminster parliament to the English.

    @Polltroll

    I think you’d be surprised people in Scotland are well aware of what’s going on.

  40. Neil A
    I’ve made my views clear before, I personally am in favour of a Federal UK parliament based at Westminster dealing with national issues (defence, foreign policy, international development etc) and regional assemblies for England based on the EU election constituencies with equal powers to that of the devolved national assemblies (preferably some form of devo max)

    However I am open to either a bit more devolution (as you suggest legislative powers for councils but that might get a bit messy and confusing) or a bit less devolution (rather than regional assemblies just a Northern Parliament, Midlands Parliament and Southern Parliament perhaps but as I said I don’t think that goes far enough)

    Basically my primary concern is that as a Northerner I’m pretty sick of being treated like I have anything in common with most of the people in places like Surrey or Hampshire just because we’re both “English” I might be wrong here but I think I’m right in saying that like Scotland and Wales the Tories have not won a majority in the North East, North West or Yorkshire in recent history so why do we keep having to suffer Tory governments that we don’t elect either? There is clearly a huge political, cultural and economic disparity between the English regions (particularly the North and South) and lumping them all together in one huge parliament is not in any way a form of devolution.

    Even if you don’t agree that this gulf exists between the regions then there is at least the issue that the “Westminster Elite” are not suddenly going to take an interest in the English regions just because you shave Scotland, Wales and NI off, quite the opposite, if anything there is now less reason for them to look beyond the home counties.

    Basically if you believe in devolution England has to be broken up (for administrative purposes only) its too big and different to be governed as one homogeneous body without a large segment (in this case the North) suffering the tyranny of the majority)

  41. @Couper

    I don’t think you are correct there. Amendments that changed the status would be assessed by the Speaker (see section 83L of this – https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/468329/english-vote-english-laws-revised-explanatory-memorandum.pdf . And, as I say, Scottish MPs would always be able to block anything English/English and Welsh MPs wanted to do.

  42. Couper
    I know independence would be your preferred option but I do believe my solution would negate most of the need for independence. Aside from the “die hard” nats or the few who take a particular interest in issues like foreign policy my solution would probably satisfy. It basically grants Scotland independence within the union and rather than having to deal with a big bullying Tory England you’d be able to ally with similarly sized politically sympathetic Northern regions and a London region (and possibly Midland regions depending on the political tides) to deal with (again similarly sized) Tory Southern regions. It would negate the whole concept of a “Westminster Southern centric Elite” since most policy decisions would be made by the regional governments not Westminster and possibly most importantly it would restore that important solidarity that has been severed between the constituent nations and the Labour voting English regions thus both destroying the evil boogeyman of Tory England and demonstrating Scotland has an abundance of allies within the union. I may be wrong but a casual Scot would probably be more than happy with that settlement.

  43. @Rivers

    The answer would be to set up a Federal system, I think that is the only way to save the union. So to do that the areas would have to be fairly similar in size with variations ie Scotland would be California, to Wales’s Rhode Island.

    Anyway: Yorkshire, Cornwell, Northumberland…. you can see how England could be divided up.

    Then the representation in the Federal Parliament would be proportional to size of Nation\Region with a bit of evening up.

    It would be interesting the alliances that could be formed at Federal level.

    Obviously House of Lords would be gone

    If you can persuade Corbyn to go with this plan and England to vote for him, then it could be put in place in 2020 and the union could be saved.

  44. @ Cynosarges

    They merely have to persuade their MSP colleagues to return the relevant devolved power to Westminster…Of course, the chance of any politician voting to reduce their powers is smaller than that of a paper dog successfully chasing an asbestos cat through hell, so persuading MSPs to return any power to Westminster seems unlikely.

    Far from MSPs being reluctant to ‘return power to Westminster’, that’s exactly what the Sewel convention does! And MSPs of all Parties are generally willing to use the convention when it’s in the electorate’s interest to do so.

  45. Couper
    I agree its the only way to save the union (save something weird happening like Scotland suddenly voting Tory in large numbers)

    The Tories will obviously oppose it because it would pry most of the country out of their hands. The Lib Dem policy is I believe something very similar to what I have proposed same with the other minor parties. As you said I can’t see how the SNP could oppose it (unless I was to be really cynical and suggest that the SNP realise it would save the union and block it just so things fester, I hope they wouldn’t stoop so low but this is politics) As for Labour there are many who support something similar to what I have suggested. In my opinion Labour just need to grow a pair, stop all the waffle about city regions (its an irrelevance in the bigger picture) and aim to win just a handful of seats of the Tories, deprive them of a majority and set up a broad anti-Tory coalition with the sole purpose of setting up a constitutional convention which any sane independent body would come to the same conclusion we have and propose the aforementioned policies with an aim to set it up and hold fresh elections in 2021-22.

    Will it happen? Pprobably not but one can hope.

  46. Pprobably? Obviously meant probably.

  47. @ Jack Sheldon
    You didn’t reply to the point about the House of Lords. And I’m not sure I agree that all MPs continue to have the same rights under the new system that they had under the old, though I see how that argument could be made.

    @ Rivers10

    You seem to forget that Yorkshire, Northumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire had the opportunity to join Scotland a while back – at the time Cumbria was still ‘debatable land’ – and they turned down the offer. No point crying over spilt milk!

    (I realise, of course, that the phrase ‘a while back’ is rather unspecific. It was during the (second?) English civil war when John tried to renage on Magna Carta and Alexander II offered the north of England a way out of the mess).

    Seriously, though, the idea of dividing up England into some rather ancient parts will take a lot of work – and there seems little enthusiasm for the idea. And in the meantime, we’ve got the Euroreferendum to deal with…….

  48. @Rivers10

    A constitutional convention would be the first step. Would Labour set one up?

  49. John B
    As I said the way you split up England it up for debate but not the main issue. It could be as simple as Northern England, Midlands, Southern England. Conversely it could be along county lines. As I’ve said though my preferred option is using the EU constituencies which we still use for various administrative and statistical purposes (notable example is regional BBC news) In case your unaware of what they are they’re London, South East, South West, Eastern, East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber.

    As for the enthusiasm I concede its the only problem with it and many people will oppose it for no real reason but this is one of those moments where we have to accept the public are genuinely ill informed, don’t understand the total chaos that is the English constitution and how it disenfranchises large parts of the country not to mention the fragile state its left the union. Remember many people voted Tory at the last election because they thought keeping the SNP out of power would save the union….as I’ve said before the public are stupid (for the most part).

    Couper
    Thankfully Labour policy is still to set up a constitutional convention, whether they stick to everything it suggests is another matter of course.

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