Yesterday’s post about the European election results drew on some of my comments at MetaFilter, where another commenter responded that “inferring anything about the UK voting pattern in next year’s general election from the EU results is particularly unwise this year in view of the referendum on Scottish independence”. Clearly, if the next general election is for a new United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland then all current bets are off. The fact that I’m contemplating a 2015 general election for the UK as it now exists reflects my own sense of how the Scottish referendum will go, but that’s another story.

If Scotland votes for the status quo, though, I wouldn’t expect any electoral bounce for Cameron. Few on this side of the border would see him as some sort of hero saving the union; it’s Salmond’s battle, and really a much older and bigger battle than even him. As for south of the border, polls seem to show greater English support for Scottish independence than Scottish support, with no sense that a break would affect their daily lives much, so I would expect a No vote to be greeted by England with a combination of bemusement (“I thought you wanted independence!?”) and indifference. Staunch Tories might give Cameron some credit, but they would have been voting Tory anyway.

When predicting how the next general election will go compared to the last one, what matters is which of the two main parties has consolidated support from their side of the left-right spectrum to give them the largest single vote in the majority of individual electorates. The European and council results indicate two revealing things: the only consolidation of voters to the right of the Tories is happening in UKIP’s favour, not the Tories’, and the consolidation to the left of the Tories is happening in Labour’s favour.

Read More · 27 May 2014 · Politics

Little Earthquake

The media and Twitter are full of talk today of UKIP earthquakes and the end being nigh for the major parties, but I’m actually encouraged by the European election voting figures for the UK. Leaving aside the lamentable 34% turnout, look at the changes in vote share from 2009—the second column—in these results at the BBC:

Vote 2014 Europe: Great Britain

Over half of UKIP’s gain in voting share has come from the BNP, the English Democrats, the Christian People’s Alliance and NO2EU, not from the major parties; those four parties between them lost 8.29% of the total share. The remaining 2.7% will have come from the Tories, most likely. UKIP have consolidated the angry xenophobic vote that was always there, but which previously was distributed among UKIP, the Tories and several fringe right-wing/Euroskeptic parties.

Read More · 26 May 2014 · Politics


shells shells shells


It’s been a while since I’ve posted any photos. Here are some from a few weeks ago.

16 May 2014 · Journal

Hamster Dances

The world’s most toxic money pit.

Copyable text from any online image.

Hamfter fafe changef.

Worst hold music ever?

On the set of The Empire Strikes Back.

Ancient tundra lies under Greenland’s ice sheet.

Warming water lies under some of Antarctica’s ice sheets.

Geoff Dyer’s rules for¬†writers.

“OK nighty night. No, don’t even.”

The Westographer of Melbourne’s fading suburbs.

British public wrong about nearly everything.

15 May 2014 · Weblog

April 2014