Showing posts from April, 2017

It's on

Like it or lump it.
The Lib Dems are back - even if Brexit doesn't matter
A mostly ignored fact about the 2015 election is that Tory gains came from the Liberal Democrats, not from Labour. The Conservatives were able to take 27 seats from their coalition partners thanks to a combination of factors: some very astute decisions about campaign resource targeting, the general nationwide tanking of the Lib Dem vote, but also a counterproductive pickup in the Labour vote. In quite a few seats, particularly in the southwest, Labour increased its vote share at the expense of the Liberal Democrat candidate and allowed a Tory to win - sometimes even when the Tory vote barely moved, or even decreased, from 2010.
So there are some seats - in particular Twickenham, Kingston & Surbiton and Eastbourne - that the Lib Dems would take back even if the only thing that happened was that people who switched from Liberal Democrat to Labour between 2010 and 2015 switch back. Pure 'Labour is bad&#…


You may have heard of Andy Burnham, the Labour MP who was obviously going to win the Labour leadership, until he obviously wasn't. Since he's refocused himself on winning the mayoral race in Greater Manchester, Burnham has really amped up his man-of-the-people, 'screw those politicians' schtick. Sometimes this takes the form of wrong-headed and xenophobic pandering to anti-immigration sentiment. Sometimes it's more entertaining:
Bit bizarre hearing these right-wing calls for a "Barista Visa". God forbid the idea of waiting longer in the morning for their posh coffee. — Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) April 17, 2017 Of course Burnham didn't invent the idea of cafe culture as a symbol of metropolitan elitism. The first time I remember coming across it was in Don Watson's 2003 book about political language, and you can find a New York Times article referring to "planet-saving, latte-sipping individualists" from 1994. Unsurprisingly, what was…

The party decided

The Party Decides is a 2008 political science book, which argues that presidential nominations in the US are controlled by party establishments. This used to be literally true, but the book's claim is that since popular primaries were introduced in the 1960s and 70s, the parties have developed ways to support their chosen candidate, who usually ends up winning even when they weren't initially favoured by voters.
It's come in for a bit of a pasting in the last year and a half, for pretty obvious reasons: the Republican Party establishment did not want Donald Trump, and they signalled that very clearly, and yet. You can read various bits of musing about that here, here and here.

What if the party did get what it wanted?

Dissecting the US refugee swap

I have an article in Overland, examining the US-Australia refugee swap deal: how the Australian government is forced into pursuing this option because of the long-term cruelty of our policy, and how it perversely puts asylum seekers' fates in the hands of Donald Trump. Have a look.