Saturday, September 23, 2017

NZ election results

Counting continues, and NZ is infamous for taking forever to count. Final results, in fact, will not be in for nearly a month! Unlike political parties in Canada, of the UK elections agency, any postal ballots only need to be sent by, not received by, the date of the election.

As such, my post that explains the results in greater detail will be a few days away.

However, the results we have are somewhat clear.

At current, expected seats are as follows:

58 - National
45 - Labour
9 - NZ First
7 - Green
1 - ACT
0 - Maori

National has clearly won the election, but the coalitions are not yet formed and Labour could still find a way in to government.

Chances are, however, that Winston Peters of NZ First will choose to go with National; but will leverage the possibility of going with Labour to get the best deal possible.

Friday, September 22, 2017

New Zealand - What to expect

Exactly 24 hours from now we should be getting a good idea of what the new government will look like as the results come in. What kind of results can we expect?


The most recent polls show Labour falling behind. It is unclear if this is simply due to the margin of error, or a swing back to National. Due to the general lack of polling it is difficult to tell what kind of results are most likely.

My current projection is as follows.

53 - National
48 - Labour
9 - New Zealand First
8 - Green
2 - Maori
1 - ACT

121 seats; 1 overhang.

It is likely that National and New Zealand First would form a government in this scenario.

Keep in mind that we could still see a 10 seat variance on either of the top two parties, and it is, in fact, possible for New Zealand First, or the Greens, to take 0 seats due to failing to meet the threshold.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Emergency Update - Europe

There are enough small stories going on in Europe I decided for an emergency update.

First off, more of a public service announcement, the UK terror level has been raised. Trump has tweeted about related events, and May has attacked him for it (as usual) but this does have the potential to change views politically.

A politician in Sweden was raped for being a leftist. The details of his attack are outlined in the article. It's very very rare to hear about something like this, and hopefully it remains that way.

The government in Iceland has collapsed. It fell apart due to accusations of pedophilia and links to the Prime Minister through his father's support of a convict.

And the Spanish government is making threats to take over effective operation of one of its states, Catalonia, which wants Independence.

Not Europe, but in the neighbourhood, Iraqi Kurdistan will vote on Independence. It is always difficult to get news from non-english nations. Lebanon, for example, was supposed to have an election this year, but, just, didn't. Details on the election being called, and on it being cancelled, are scant at best; so confirmation of a poll (like this article) is always great.



I'll be reporting on the latter of these 5 when the vote occurs on the 25th and results come in, and almost certainly will cover the Spanish situation as well. Given previous coverage of Iceland, its safe to say I will also be covering any election in that nation.

Quick Update - Germany

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_German_federal_election,_2017

I've been keeping track of this page, and wanted to give everyone a heads up on recent movements.

AfD is on a minor uptick. While this might not seem like much, it has pushed a CDU-FDP coalition, and a SPD-GRN-LNK coalition into very unlikely territory. As such, the bump by the AfD makes a continuation of the CDU-SPD coalition much more likely.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Norway - Coalition Negotiations

The final results in the Norwegian election have become clear.

49 - AP - Labour
45 - H - Conservative
27 - FrP - Progressive
19 - SP - Centre
11 - SV - Socialist (Left)
8 - V - Liberal
8 - KrF - Christian Democrat
1 - MDG - Green
1 - R - Red (Communist)

A few notes about how I've been referring to the parties. The Socialists I've been calling the "Left"

Left in Norwegian is Venstre. There is a party called Venstre, the Liberals. Hoyre (actually H√łyre) meanwhile means right, and Hoyre is the Conservatives. It's generally and widely accepted that Venstre is the "Liberal" party, and Hoyre is the "Conservative" party, when translated to English. However, technically, the direct translation, is Right and Left. As such I've decided to start calling the Socialist Left party, the Socialists.

Additionally, the Red party is separate and distinct from the actual NKP, or Communist Party.

Moving on

The existing government coalition, and previous government coalition, provide us with these results.

88 - Right Coalition - H + FrP + V + KrF
79 - Left Coalition - AP + SP + SV
2 - Others - MDG + R

This is a clear victory for the government, however, there is a problem.

The Progressives (FrP) are very much a party in line with Trump policies on immigration and very nationalistic. Forming the coalition 4 years ago was difficult, due to how controversial the Progressives are, and, this is happening again.

The Liberals and Christian Democrats are both looking for changes. Without them, the Conservatives and Progressives only have 72 seats, compared to a total of 97 for the other parties. There is a chance that the Liberals and Christian Democrats could sit with other parties.

A possible alternative coalition is V+KrF+SP+AP. The Centre Party, along with the Liberals and Christian Democrats, have a total of 35 seats, and could easily work with one another. The problem comes with who else they sit with. If they chose Labour, you end up with a "left" coalition. However, you have the problem that this is only 84 seats, not the 85 needed for a majority.

This is why it is likely that the current coalition will continue. In the end you may end up with a coalition of just the Conservatives and the Progressives, with "support" from the Liberals and Christian Democrats.

In the end this will likely take some time to play out, as European coalition negotiations tend to. When all is said and done, I suspect that the current coalition will continue, even if in another form.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Norway election results

85% counted, in norway. Compared to my projection the biggest change is that the Greens did not meet the threshold.

Current results show the following:

49 - Labour (L)
45 - Conservative (R)
28 - Progressive (R)
18 - Centre (L)
11 - Left (L)
8 - Christian Democrats (R)
8 - Liberals (R)
1 - Greens (L)*
1 - Communist (L)*

This is a victory for the right-wing coalition, but only just. The Liberals are just on the very edge of the threshold, and if they fail to meet it, the left parties could still manage 85 seats compared to 84 for the right. Despite this, Labour's leader has admitted that he fully expects the Liberals to pass the threshold when all is said and done. 

I'll make another post in a day or two once the dust settles. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Norway election tomorrow, how to watch it

Since my last update, the right-wing coalition government has appeared to have solidified their lead, and as such, are all but certain to be re-elected.

You may be wondering how you can watch the election live. I'll detail how I find the answer to this, as, simply giving you a fish is less efficient than teaching you how to fish.

First off, note the time zone difference. Norway is in Europe, which, generally, is an hour beyond the UK. This means a 5 hour difference with Toronto.

Elections can begin at varying times. Some places start counting as early as 6pm and others as late as 10pm, and still others, even later. 8pm seems a generally good estimate. Given that we are talking about a 5 hour difference, it means results can be expected to begin at 3pm here in Toronto, give or take the aforementioned two hour window.

As for how to watch, I find the "media of" pages on wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_of_Norway

From here I'd go to Television, and when possible, Newspaper as well.

NRK appears to be the top broadcaster and after a quick visit to their wiki page, you can easily get the link to their actual website.

Now this is when a problem hits that I've become used to but that you may not have necessarily realized. None of this is in English. I use google chrome which translates a lot of this for me automatically. Doing so leads me right to the news tab from which I can see a tag that says "election 2017"or "vlag 2017" in the original norwegian.

A quick click and we get to the meat and potatoes.

Norwegian parties use legally approved acronyms. In fact, many countries do this. While in Canada you may see CPC for the Tories, Elections Canada does not enforce that, and the Communist Party of Canada is free to use CPC if they wish. Many countries, however, have strict limits on acronym use. Wikipedia provides a guide to who is who. Additionally, the colour scheme for the parties is consistent across multiple platforms.

At this time, the H party, light blue, is on 24.2% in the polls. These are the Conservatives. FRP is on 17.0% with their dark blue, these are the progressives. AP, red, or Labour, are on 25.8%, with SP, light green, or the Centre Party, are on 9.6%

This is when a solution hits that, again, I've become used to but which not everyone may necessarily have realized; elections are numbers. To a degree it does not actually matter if you understand the words around the numbers so long as you understand what the numbers themselves mean.

In fact it becomes obvious the little graphic on the right with the poll bars is some kind of polling bank. Clicking on it confirms this. It shows you all the various coalition possibilities given the current polls.

Now there is an issue with "watching the election". It will all be in norwegian. Personally, I watch anyway, numbers are numbers and they'll show them on the screen, even if I can't understand a word they are saying. Sometimes, with larger countries, you'll get lucky and find an english feed. France 24 had an english feed for the French elections, for example, but for countries like Norway, you can forget about it. This is why, sometimes, you want newspapers.

While TV networks are great at making video, they are not always the best at making easy to follow content full of numbers. By that I mean content like this, from the UK's Guardian newspaper about the 2016 US election. Maps, numbers, graphics.


These are the general strategies I use to find live results coverage video on the date of elections in various countries. Another prime source is actually youtube. Increasingly, more and more major media outlets are realizing the benefits of streaming their election coverage to youtube, and more are doing so. For the New Zealand elections on the 23rd this is what I plan to use, as it's almost certain TVNZ will stream to youtube.

For the German election on the 24th I will look for an english stream, and if I find one I'll share it, but in the past I've had no luck. German TV however tends to have streams, and there is a website I consistently forget about until I need it that has truly excellent graphics and information about all german elections, national or state.

Regardless, I hope these skills serve you well in watching your own international elections.

Friday, September 8, 2017

NZ Labour in the drivers seat

Just a quick update, Labour is in the drivers seat in New Zealand.

54 - Labour (16 list, 38 electorate)
48 - National (17 list, 31 electorate)
10 - NZ First (10 list, 0 electorate)
7 - Green (7 list, 0 electorate)
2 - Maori (0 list, 2 electorate)
0 - ACT (0 list, 0 electorate)
0 - Mana (0 list, 0 electorate)

A newsroom poll shows Labour leading National 45% to 30%. However, Newsroom has not done many polls before; polls from One News and Bauer show leads of 43% to 39%, and 37% to 34% respectively. All 3 shows Ardern leading English by a margin of at least 3 points as best PM. 

If you are interested, you can do a vote compass for NZ 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Norway; government re-election likely

Polls are showing that the right-wing government is likely to win re-election.

As mentioned in my last post, there were tight polls, but that has changed through August.

I've been attempting to pinpoint exactly why, but this seems to be a more widespread and general feeling that a change is not needed.

Solberg, the Conservative Prime Minister, is popular. Oil prices have recently bumped up, important for this oil producing nation, and there have been increasing concerns that a Labour lead government would need support from parties that wish to reduce oil production. Additionally, the economy has performed better than expected.

Based on current polls my current projection is as follows. (L) / (R) indicate likely left or right coalitions

47 - Labour (L)
43 - Conservative (R)
28 - Progressive (R)
19 - Centre (L)
10 - Left (L)
8 - Christian Democrats (R)
7 - Greens (L)*
6 - Liberals (R)
1 - Communist (L)*

It is possible for the Greens and Liberals to fail to meet the threshold, if this only one of the parties fails to meet it, it helps the other coalition significantly. It is also possible the Communists will actually make the threshold, which would help a potential left government significantly.

This projection would see 85 (R) members elected and 84 (L) members, however, 8 of those noted with a * are parties not currently working together with the left coalition, and may thus decide to not participate in any such left coalition.

The TLDR is that the government (the right-wing coalition) is in the drivers seat, and has a good chance of winning

Friday, September 1, 2017

Germany

Germany is going to the polls on the 24th of September.

I've done three previous posts that are recommended reading in general. This post outlines how much of a challenge the 3 left parties have. This projection is from exactly one year ago. This post outlines how things have been stable for a while.

It is hard to follow what the big issues are, but from what I can gather, there are none. One reason that Merkel and the CDU is doing so well is the simple lack of focus of attention on a few issues. As such voters default to their general view of the parties. The actual platforms of the (two leading) parties are not calling for much in the way of radical change. For this reason I do not expect much of a change between now and the vote.

However, I wanted to do a more full introduction to Germany, and as such, I will go through the parties contesting the election, in particular, those polling at rates to possibly win seats.


CDU

The CDU, at least, in the context I've been using it, is actually two parties. The CDU and CSU. The parties were formed after WW2 as a break from the old Centre Party (Zentrum) which had a similar political leaning and support base.

The (coalition of) parties are generally right-wing, but mostly moderate. The CSU is far more liable to have socially conservative views. The CSU itself is organized in Bavaria. It is seen as a successor to the BVP, or the Bavarian Peoples Party, which itself broke off from Zentrum during the Weimar Republic era.

The closest Canadian analogy to the CDU is probably the old PC Party.


SPD

The SPD, or Social Democratic Party, is the oldest of the major parties. The SPD was founded prior to WW1 in 1863, and won seats in the first elected of the united German Empire in 1871.

The Party is generally social democratic in nature, and has had its leanings match that of social democratic parties elsewhere in Europe and around the world, including the UK Labour Party.

The closest Canadian analogy is the New Democratic Party, perhaps a bit more left wing even.


FDP

The FDP, or Free Democratic Party, is the "Liberal" party. That is liberal in the European sense, or, more "libertarian" to most North Americans.

The party has spent nearly 60 years in government, as the junior coalition partner, due to its centrist position, a longer period of time than either the SPD or CDU.

It has no real match in Canada. In general, it can be thought of as a mash of the Liberal Party and the lesser known Libertarian Party. They are pro-business, but otherwise generally hold "Liberal" views on the issues.


Greens

Alliance 90/The Greens is the Green Party of Germany. They are generally a left-wing Green party. They current form government in one of the German states; Baden-Wurttemberg, across the Rhine river from Strasbourg in France, and bordering Switzerland. To specify, they lead a coalition with the SPD, and their 2011 victory was the first since WW2 to lead a state coalition that is not SPD or CDU (excepting a few interim FDP regimes lasting only a few days)

The party has an interesting incident. Starting in 1965, only the three parties listed above won seats. In 1983 the Greens won seats for the first time, and have always had seats since. However, in 1990, upon the merger of Germany (east and west) the same Greens that had been holding seats, lost. That is, there was a dual threshold to win seats, 5% in either West or East germany. The West German Greens did not meet the 5% and lost all of their seats; however the East German Greens, Alliance 90, managed to win 8 seats. This caused the cementing of the existing alliance (the Greens agreed to fully support Alliance 90)

The party is similar to that in Canada, except more of a traditional left-wing Greens and not the eco-Greens that are more common in Canada.


Die Linke

Die Linke, or, The Left in german, is the successor to the old Communist party in East Germany. Like most successor parties, Die Linke is fully democratic. They are strongest in the former East Germany, but have managed to win seats in a few other assemblies as well.

The party is on the hard left, and from time to time has rejected a coalition with the SPD or Greens. However, there are times that such coalitions have been formed. Die Linke currently leading the government in Thuringia, won in 2014, and is and has been the junior government partner in various former East German states.

The party has no match in Canada outside except possibly the Communist Party.


AfD

AfD, or the Alternative for Germany, is the hot new gig in town. The party failed to pass the threshold in 2013, but polls have them comfortably winning seats.

They've managed to win a few seats in various state assemblies. They are Nationalist in nature, and right-wing. They are Germany's answer to UKIP, Marie Le Pen, and Donald Trump. Given the former NAZI history of Germany, there are great concerns about this party within certain segments of the German voter base.

The closest match to the party in Canada is Kellie Leitch.



Polls suggest the SPD have returned to their low position prior to the selection of Schulz as the candidate.

Current poll average suggests the CDU and FDP could take 289 seats, short of the 300 they'd need for a majority. However, SPD, even with the Greens and Die Linke, only reach 251 seats. AfD is set to take 58, tied with Die Linke for 3rd.

As such, a continuation of the current CDU-FDP coalition, which would take 383 seats, seems most likely.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Quick updates on coming elections

In Norway, the right wing alliance has been able to open a narrow lead, and if the momentum continues, will win re-election.

In New Zealand, the two main parties are neck and neck.

In Germany, polls remain stable. A post introducing Germany will be done within 2 days.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Alternate History

In a month Germany goes to the polls; but I've posted about Germany a few times on this blog. Instead, for now, I want to talk about alternate history.

I've been working on a story on my new personal blog.

Unlike the old one, I've decided my new personal blog won't be filled with random filth and profanity, but will be an outlet for my creativity, and a place I can post things that do not fit in with the theme of this, my professional blog.

I'm going to be updating the alternate history later today and encourage anyone curious to follow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

New Zealand

One month from now, New Zealand goes to the polls.

Much has changed in New Zealand in the past year, and even more in the past month.

The shake up began with the Kaikoura earthquake in November. John Key, the long time Prime Minister, decided, a few weeks later, to retire. He was replaced with Bill English, who announced the date of the coming election.

English is a former leader of the National Party. He ran the 2002 election as leader, and captured 20.93% of the vote, the lowest ever vote total for National, by far.

In February, Jacinda Ardern, a list MP from Labour, ran for and won a constituency. She was named Deputy Leader. An interesting fact is that Ardern was raised a mormon, but left the church over the issue of gay rights.

By June of 2017, a new scandal had broke. English, who is a list MP, does not have a constituency. The MP who replaced him in his old constituency, also from English's National Party, secretly recorded a conversation, an act illegal in New Zealand. That MP, Todd Barclay, announced he would not run for re-election.

Not only was National Party money supposedly used as a hush fund, but Bill English admitted he was aware of this scandal prior to it becoming public.

In July, Metiria Turei, Co-Leader of the Greens, admitted to not disclosing Rent payments made to her while she was on welfare, also illegal and known as benefits fraud.

A few weeks later on August 1st, Andrew Little, leader of Labour, stepped down. Little had been tied with or trailing Ardern in leadership preference polls since her becoming deputy leader.

On August 3rd, Turei admitted to lying on official elections documents in order to vote for a friend in 1993.

August 7th saw two Green MPs quit the party, and also saw a flare up of the Barclay scandal involving Bill English.

On the 9th, Turei resigned as Greens leader.

Three polls came out in august. All three show Labour above 32%. Labour has not had polls this strong for this long since 2013. Additionally, Ardern has tied English in prefered Prime Minister polling, a feat Labour has not achieved in nearly a decade.

With polling showing a likely loss, United Future leader, Peter Dunne, announced he would not run in the coming election, and is retiring. Polling shows the Maori party likely losing all of their seats as well.

All of this is a massive shift in politics in New Zealand, away from what had been a stable trend that has lasted a decade. It is now unclear who will win the election.


SYSTEM

New Zealand uses a fairly simple MMP Proportional Representation system.

There are 64 "Standard" electorates (constituencies) and 7 Maori electorates. Added to these 71 electorate seats are 49 "list" seats. These seats are elected so that the final proportions of parties in the Parliament is equal to the proportion of voters who cast ballots for those parties.

There are two thresholds. If a party wins 5% of the vote, they win list seats. However, a party may also win list seats if it wins any electorate seat.


PARTIES

New Zealand has two major parties, two mid-size parties, and a number of smaller parties.


National

The National Party, or Nats are New Zealand's answer to Canada's Conservatives. The Nats are a fairly moderate party in comparison, but Bill English's socially conservative views have some potential to change that. Like Stephen Harper, however, English is not expected to allow his social views to impact his governance.

The National is campaigning on continuing what is seen by many as the positive record of government over the past decade. It focuses on issues like Transportation, Justice, and Healthcare.


Labour

Labour is a moderate left party, similar to the Labor party in Australia, and more moderate Labour members in the UK. It is best compared in Canada to left-wing Liberals or moderate New Democrats.

With the resignation of Andrew Little, Labour is restarting its campaign. It focuses on change. Labour's transportation policy focuses more on rail than road. Labour wants to reverse the tax cuts in the most recent budget to invest the money in support for social services.


Greens

The Greens in New Zealand are a more traditional and left-wing group than that in Canada, and can better be compared to other Green parties elsewhere in the world. The scandals and controversies of late have harmed the Greens.

The party has taken a hard left turn in this election, wishing to increase welfare by 20% and hiking taxes on the richest by 40%. This comes after years of trying to moderate their platform. Most attention, however, has been focused on the scandals of the party.


New Zealand First

This party is seen as populist, but is in reality a vehicle for its leader, Winston Peters. Peters is very popular with a segment of the population, and his party is polling between 5% and 15% of the vote. Most expect that both National and Labour will require NZF support to form a government.

Policies include forcing the government to spend GST in the areas where it is collected, cancelling student loan debt for those willing to work in rural areas, cutting immigration from 73K a year to 10K a year, and holding a referendum on the Maori electorates.


ACT

ACT is a Pro-Business and Libertarian party. In practise, it is seen as propping up the Nats, electing 1 electorate seat without the votes needed for a list seat, thus adding a "free seat" to the Nats (compared to if the Nats had won the seat themselves)


Maori

Created as a party run by and for the Maori people, this left-wing party has run into trouble due to their support of the National government; polls show they may lose all of their seats.


TOP

This is a new party, and the only other party that can realistically win a seat at this point. TOP was founded by Gareth Morgan. The party wishes to tax assets in an effort to reform the tax system to better support wage earners, reduce immigration, and legalize marijuana. Interesting Morgan has called for all cats in New Zealand to be sterilized as to eliminate the cat population, reasoning they are a menace to nature.



PREDICTIONS

It is hard to predict a winner at this point. There are many questions, such as if the Greens will actually pass the threshold. As such there are three basic scenarios that could play out.


No Greens
54 Nats
54 Lab
11 NZF
1 ACT
This scenario would see Winston Peters get to choose the government.

Pro-English
54 Nats
46 Lab
11 NZF
8 Grn
1 ACT
It remains Winston Peters who is kingmaker, but Bill English now becomes the obvious choice for 'king' in this analogy.

Jacindamania
54 Lab
46 Nats
11 NZF
8 Grn
1 ACT
Not nearly as much of a stretch as might be imagined. Ardern is very popular. Still, however, it remains up to Winston Peters; but it appears that as of now, he slightly favours Labour over National.


I will, of course, keep you updated as things progress.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New alberta map

This post is largely a test; a new account to use to post on the same blog (long story)

However, I've decided to include my alberta map, latest version, so this is not simply a "wasted post"


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How to do Canadian seat diagrams

After a debate with a friend, I realized it may be useful to share this here.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Break and New Zealand

For a few months now, I've been getting in a few dollars on my Patreon each month, and this is what drove me to try to fill the summer with posts. Despite that, I do not think I've made quality posts this summer so far mostly, and, the donations have now dried up.

As such, I will be taking a short break of a week or two.

New Zealand goes to the polls on the 23rd of September, and on the 23rd of August, I hope to have an introduction post ready. Quite a bit has been going on in New Zealand in the past few weeks and months, so the election itself looks interesting.

Just within the past 2 weeks; Bill English (Prime Minister) has faced questions about his involvement in a major scandal, Jacinda Ardern has taken over as Labour leader (official opposition), two Green MPs resigned to protest the leader, and this was followed by the Green leader (one of the two co-leaders) resigning herself.

After nearly a decade of stable polling, Labour is now in a possible winning position, and weakness in the Greens may push them over the edge.

All will be detailed in my intro post on or before the 23rd.

While donations will not change my plans for a break, donating to my patreon does help keep me motivated. Money is very tight for me, and after paying for housing bills (rent, internet, power, and so forth) I have about $10 left to spend a day on food and everything else. Not having to worry about the few dollars to throw at other creators through patreon is a huge relief on my mind.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Introduction: Norway

The next election in Norway is expected on September 11th, 2017. One month from the date of this post.

As this is an introduction to post, I want to introduce the political scene in Norway. Since an election is upon us, I also want to discuss where things currently stand.

Since 2000, the three largest parties in Norway have been Labour, the Conservatives, and Progress.



Labour is a Social Democratic Party, that has won the plurality of seats in every election since 1927. A Labour member has been Prime Minister for all but 24 years since the end of WW2. Labour is expected to win the most seats in this election, as usual.

Labour can be thought of as a moderate left-wing nordic party, and the policies of Labour are often what people picture when they think of the policies of scandinavia. Of course, there is nuance beyond this; but this is an introduction post, intended to introduce Norway and the politics therein to people who may not know anything about Norway itself; and it is designed to be short and easy to digest.



The Conservatives currently provide the Prime Minister, Erna Solberg. She heads a 4 party coalition of moderate and right-wing parties. The Conservatives are a right-wing party, but very moderate compared to right-wing parties in places like Canada.

Socially the party is progressive, and it fits in well with other moderate conservative parties in Europe, and in Scandinavia in particular.



Progress, despite its name, is a nationalistic party, with a libertarian streak. The party is similar in some ways to the policies of Donald Trump. For many years, parties refused to work with Progress, but that changed in recent years due to a more moderate position on some issues.

Their main concern is immigration, and they wish to see the rates of immigration reduced. They are currently in the right of centre government coalition.




Poll suggest a 4th party has risen to join these parties as one of the larger parties in Norway.

The Centre Party is an Agrarian party, difficult to explain in the Canadian context, but in short, a party with strong rural support, but that is otherwise moderate. This would contrast with, in the Canadian context, "urban" right-wing figures such as current Toronto mayor John Tory, or former Calgary mayor Ralph Klein.

The Centre Party usually sits with Labour when in coalition, and much of its recent growth in the polls is due to weakness in Labour polling numbers.



Current polls show Labour with around 31.5% support, followed by the Conservatives around 23.5%, the Progressives around 13%, and the Centre Party around 10.5%

The five other parties that look set to win seats are all between 5% and 2% in the polls.


Socialist Left makes up the third party in the 'standard' or 'expected' Labour-Centre-Left coalition. While all 3 parties may not be in official coalition, in general, they can be expected to support one another so that even if outside the coalition, they will support the coalition on confidence matters. The party is hard left and socialist in nature, and is considered by most to be feminist.


The Christian Democrats often sit with the centre-right, and currently support the centre-right coalition government on confidence matters. They are socially conservative but otherwise moderate in policy.


The Liberal Party is a moderate centrist party with small l liberal values and ideas. They make up the 4th in what is usually considered the potential right of centre coalition, and like the Christian Democrats, support the current coalition on confidence matters.


The Green Party has so far avoided being lumped in to either left or right coalition. Their best result was in the last election in 2013 when they elected a single MP. Given the policies of the party, chances are if they were forced to choose, they'd back a left government over a right government.


The Red Party is currently seatless, and has never won a seat, but is polling at a level to potentially take a seat in the coming election. They are openly communist and propose a national income cap, charging 100% income tax above a certain level (roughly $250K Canadian a year)



Polls currently show the left-wing coalition of Labour, the Centre party, and the Socialist Left are in the lead, but only just. There may be the need of the Green member to join them to push them over the majority. Regardless, with a month to go, the Labour lead coalition should is ahead, but the current government is close behind, and Labour can take nothing for granted.




Monday, August 7, 2017

Alberta baseline


I've finished refining my alberta baseline. This is what I am assuming the starting position will be when the next election happens.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Personal post - Left and right

I was browsing twitter recently and a name popped up that I'd not thought of in a while. Reminded me of a story. Two stories, in fact, I wanted to share.


You see I used to post on the preeminent left-wing political discussion forum in Canada. The problem was that I was not very left-wing. Sure I'm progressive, but I'm a moderate, and even have some conservative views. Eventually, I left, but in doing so, it became known that I was suffering from mental illness, and was depressed, and suicidal.

That is when Audra, the admin, contacted me personally. For no reason other than to make sure I was okay. I was, but I still remember that the administrator of a large forum took time out of their day to personally contact me, just to make sure I was alright.

Many years later, I found myself on the preeminent right-wing political discussion forum in Canada. Again, while I do have some conservative views, in general, I'm moderate, and more progressive. Again, my mental illness caught up with me, and this time, I ended up in the hospital.

That's when Connie, the admin, sent me a get well card. She too, contacted me personally, for no reason other to to make sure I was okay.


Left and Right. Debate, discussion, and argument, and yet at the end of the day, I found the two "leaders" of online political discussion for both the left and the right in that era both were good decent individuals who cared about people

There are good people on all sides, and I just wanted to take a moment to call attention to two of them.

Thank you audra
Thank you connie

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Alberta, new poll

A new poll was published today suggesting the UCP is in majority territory.


Running the poll through my spreadsheet, I get the following result. The NDP actually is doing very well in Calgary even if the map does not show it; the UCP is losing half the vote in that city, and is only winning ridings due to their massive lead over the NDP. In a tighter race, Calgary would not be going blue to such an extent.

I want to caution however that undecided voters can sway the outcome heavily. Polls taken before the writ was dropped in Alberta in 2015 show the NDP gained significantly, so much that you'd almost need to add the entire undecided total in to the polled response for the NDP to project the actual outcome. Doing so now produces a very different map:



This, would be a return of the NDP with a majority.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Update: 31JUL2017

This post is unfinished, but has been pre-scheduled to help the author with planning.

Fortnightly Update on events:

Not much. The US has had political occurrences; but I don't follow the US much as readers know. BC's new NDP government was sworn in, and they appear to be softening on pipelines. More importantly, Christy Clark resigned, not just as Liberal leader, but as MLA. I'll go into greater detail when I cover BC on Wednesday.

Poland perhaps has had the biggest update, with the President vetoing the more controversial legislation which would have allowed Parliament a great deal of power over the judicial branch.


I'll make a post shortly covering the countries I've already done in greater detail, in the way I intended, and from there we will continue our summer look at various countries and provinces.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Schedule change (again?)

I've had a few time syncs build up over the past two weeks, so am adjusting the schedule to include two locations, and a weekly update.

I also may redo some previous countries as my time has become too limited to do the posts properly as I had intended.

I may change the country-province-country-province ordering, as provinces are much easier to write about and are good to do during a time crunch

Friday, July 28, 2017

Christy Clark resigns

Christy Clark resigns as BC Liberal Leader

I will be doing a full post on BC within the next week; but wanted to provide this update.

I suspect and expect my readers follow political news, so I won't say things that I expect to fill the papers today; rather I want to speculate on the politics.

The smart strategy, politically, is to bring down the coalition and go to an election. It still is. This is easy to do so long as all BC Liberal MLAs remain in the Legislature.

This is why Clark's resignation from the legislature makes little sense; unless...

This strategy works brilliantly if someone is waiting in the wings to take over the party, someone Clark approves of. The problem is who?

While names like Sam Sullivan or John Reynolds come to mind as possibilities, and other names like Kevin Falcon can be floated, none of them really strike me as having the kind of "star power" that is needed to really make this work. In fact the only BC MLA or MP in the past decade that does is Stockwell Day, and I honestly can't see him making the jump to provincial politics at all.

As such the question of who will take over remains a mystery to me.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Germany

Since our last look at Germany, things have returned to stability.

The CDU is hovering around 40% in the polls with the SPD back at 25%. An improvement for the SPD over the previous leader, but not by much. All 4 other parties, meanwhile, hover at or around 8% or 9% in the polls. The 4 parties in question are the Greens, the Left party, the liberal FDP, and the nationalist AfD.

With these numbers, it is quite likely the CDU could win a majority with only FPD support. SPD and Green support, even with Left support added, has trouble getting to the level of the CDU alone. The AfD, meanwhile, while at one time polling over 15%, is now even with the other parties, and does not, at this time, appear strong enough to spoil a CDU-FPD victory. This is a change from the previous update on this blog where the math did not work so well for Merkel.

At this time, as such, it looks like a CDU-FPD majority is, indeed, possible, but would possibly be a narrow one depending on how well AfD does in the election itself. All the CDU-FPD alliance needs is one or two more points in the polls to secure a victory, and current trend lines suggest that remains a possibility.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Alberta

The recent vote to merge the PC and Wildrose parties into the UCP confirms what we already expected was going to happen. What is new is the move to the Alberta Party of many disgruntled PC members.

I've taken some of the math from the federal CA-PC merger, and applied to to this one; as well, I've looked at recent polls. I've come up with a figure that I feel best represents the current standings of both parties. I've also been able to re-balance the sub-regional standings of the parties.

Regardless, this is a topic I've spoken about before.

Kenney and the UCP should not count on an automatic victory. Federally,  the merger did not result in a simple addition of one plus one. You will always run in to people who vote for certain parties for various reasons. Many people vote for parties they disagree with because they may like the leader, or, more commonly, may want to hurt another party in particular. There will be both PC and Wildrose voters who will vote NDP just to hurt the UCP because they disagree with the merger as a concept. Not many, but enough to boost the NDP by a few points. Additionally, the two right-wing parties, with different policies, could attract more voters than a single UCP could with a single policy booklet.

As such a close two way race is likely. It is always possible, if the NDP keeps making mistakes in office, or the UCP jerks itself to the right, that one or the other party could gain a strong lead, but until then, I expect the election itself will be a contest between two strong parties, even if the polls say otherwise right up to the dropping of the writ (as it did last time)



Popular Vote

Provincewide
44% NDP (42)
44% UCP (42)
8% ALB (3)

Calgary
44.2% UCP (13 seats)
41.6% NDP (11)
8.6% ALB (1)

Edmonton
58.1% NDP (23)
32.1% UCP (1)
6.0% ALB

Smaller Cities (Med Hat, R.Deer, Leth, G.Prairie, Airdrie, F.Mac)
43.1% UCP (6)
42.3% NDP (3)
11.4% ALB (1)

Rural North
49.2% UCP (10)
39.6% NDP (4)
8.9% ALB (1)

Rural South
61.5% UCP (12)
27.9% NDP (1)
6.8% ALB


Sunday, July 23, 2017

United Kingdom

Theresa May's position has been progressively weakened since the election, with suggestions that David Davis may take over as Prime Minister.

There is still some thought to calling a snap election to help sort out this mess. Any such snap election could look like this:


Labour seems to be in lead, and that lead seems to be slowly growing.

It is not unreasonable to think that Corbyn could win a majority if a snap election were called. Additionally, with a stronger leader, the Liberal Democrats could slowly grow in strength, perhaps gaining a few seats as well.

Not much else to say at this point. Corbyn is in a very strong position as it is, and the Tories will need to get their house in order if they plan to win the next election.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Prince Edward Island

Not much to say here that I've not already pointed out before. The Green Party is polling very well, and has been in second place during the term. Pever Bevan-Baker, party leader, is extremely popular.

I know quite a bit about PEI politics, and much of the Green Party vote is similar to the NDP vote in that it is a vote against the two major parties. As such I expect a degree of fluidity of the NDP vote willing to swing to the Green Party should the Greens be doing very well at the time of the next election.

PEI as well, being a smaller province, can easily see apparently major swings in various ridings based on local factors and candidates. However, presuming province-wide trends remain stable, it is possible to make a projection of sorts.

Thus, assuming the Tories fall to 3rd, and more importantly, the Greens were to take around 35% of the vote, and, were to attract the majority of NDP supporters (ideally including a few of their stronger candidates) we could expect to see a result that looks somewhat like this:

This would, of course, mark a radical shift in politics for PEI and would make headlines across the country.

In the end, however, I expect that this result is unlikely as it is far more likely the Tories will return to a stable second place and the Greens will fall back into a clear third.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Plan for the summer

As I've mentioned before, I will be making 3 posts a week. Ideally, this will be a post every 2 days, meaning some weeks will have 4 posts, but I can't guarantee that. I've decided that for the next 10 weeks I want to cover all 10 provinces, and, look at 10 countries, in particular: The UK, Belgium, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Japan, Lebanon, and Norway. 

I can't guarantee the order in which they will be covered, events may happen (or not happen) that cause me to bring up (or delay) a certain country (or province) but in general, I want to get places where things are happening (UK, BC, etc) out of the way first and save places where (outside of polling) things are stable and are expected to remain that way (such as Italy, or Nova Scotia) for the latter weeks.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Next Israeli Election

In the last (2015) election, 10 parties won seats.

30 Likud (Conservative)
24 Zionist Union (Progressive)
13 Joint List (Pro-Arab)
11 Yesh Atid (Liberal)
10 Kulanu (Centrist)
8 Jewish Home (Nationalist)
7 Shas (Religious)
6 Yisrael Beiteinu (Populist)
6 UTJ (Religious)
5 Meretz (Left)


Current polls show that some shifts would occur. The following is a rough average from prior to June of this year.


28 Likud (Conservative)
25 Yesh Atid (Liberal)
13 Joint List (Pro-Arab)
11 Jewish Home (Nationalist)
10 Zionist Union (Progressive)
7 Kulanu (Centrist)
7 Yisrael Beiteinu (Populist)
7 UTJ (Religious)
6 Shas (Religious)
6 Meretz (Left)


Since then, Labour (part of the Zionist Union) has elected a new leader who is seen as more moderate. Polls since this have shown a shift.


27 Likud (Conservative)
20 Zionist Union (Progressive)
20 Yesh Atid (Liberal)
12 Joint List (Pro-Arab)
11 Jewish Home (Nationalist)
8 Kulanu (Centrist)
7 UTJ (Religious)
5 Shas (Religious)
5 Yisrael Beiteinu (Populist)
5 Meretz (Left)


An election is not expected for years however.

It is unclear what coalition could be formed from this, but some people seem to think the Joint List could get in on a government in the future. If this were to ever happen, a Zionist Union, Yesh Atid, Joint List, Kulanu, Meretz government would have a majority. 



Friday, July 14, 2017

Update - 14JUL2017

The only ongoing political stories are about Trump, which I go out of my way to ignore.

In the coming week we'll look at the Israeli political situation along with keep up to date with current events

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer Schedule

July and August tend to be quiet months for politics, so posts might be a bit spotty.

As such I'm scaling back the schedule slightly, but will always try to make at least 3 posts a week.

I will try to use this time to examine certain nations in more detail without only doing so as they near an election. Places like Germany, Italy, Israel, Japan, and so on.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Results of a Fictional Election

I've been involved in a political simulation (a game) on reddit called CMHoC.

The Canadian Model House of Commons recently held elections for all 54 seats of Parliament. You can watch the livestream of the results here

CMHoC is part of the "model world" where a reality of an earth is shared with other model sims, such as in the US or UK. An election in CMHoC was called at the end of June and election day was July 3rd.

In the last election in February, the New Democratic Party took top spot with 11 seats, followed by the Liberals at 8, the Libertarians at 8, the Conservatives at 7, the Socialists at 5, and the various others at 2.

Since then the Libertarian party all but folded, and the Socialists faced serious stability problems. The governing coalition heading into the election of the NDP, Liberals, and Socialists, faced a challenge in getting re-elected.

CMHoC changed its election system from STV to Proportional Representation. It was decided that each MP would have an individual riding, but they would be elected regionally. Thus, 4 people, for example, will win seats, proportionally, in the Atlantic, but, each of the 4 MPs can choose a riding to represent within the Atlantic itself, as, this helps with realism.

The election saw 3 major parties and 6 minor parties contesting for seats.

MAJOR PARTIES:

NDP:
The New Democratic Party of CMHoC is similar to the more moderate wing of the NDP in real life (IRL) or the more left wing of the Justin Trudeau Liberals. Their leader and Prime Minister is VendingMachineKing or VMK who has served as leader for 18 months, which, in game terms, is equivalent to serving for 18 years.

Liberal:
The Liberal Party of CMHoC is lead by Karomne, who has played the game since its opening rounds in 2015, 25 months ago. The Liberals are similar to the right-wing of the IRL Liberals and the more moderate wing of the IRL Conservatives. They entered the election leading in all the polls.

Conservative:
The Conservative Party of CMHoC is more libertarian than the IRL Tories, but has a wide range of members including moderates and even progressives. Their leader is Wagbo, who has been in the position for nearly a full IRL year.

MINOR PARTIES:

Socialist:
Two things make the Socialists much smaller now than at the previous election. The first was a purge of older and inactive members from the party, done, if I understand, to prevent people with connections to these inactive members from staging a "coup" of sorts against the party (as many of these inactive members may well be active elsewhere in the model world) The second thing damaging the party is defections. Both the ACF and Radicals are full of former Socialists. The party is lead by Hayley. She was elected in April and has held the leadership since that time.

Libertarians:
Lyra, the Libertarian leader, is a highly controversial figure. She decided to donate all of her party's seats to the Conservatives in the middle of the last term. She is the only Libertarian candidate in this election, but is a highly public figure in CMHoC and may thus be able to count on grassroot support from voters. The party has sometimes been accused of being AnCap (Anarcho-Capitalist)

CHP:
The Christian Heritage Party is mostly populated by members active elsewhere in the model world. They contested the last election but failed to win a seat. They are similar to the IRL CHP in policy.

Liberty:
Prior to the mass seat donation, the Libertarians had an internal civil war sparked by a change to the party constitution that some members felt violated the amending process. As a result, two high profile Libertarians were removed from the party and, along with other disgruntled Libertarians, went on to form what is now known as the Liberty Party. The party is lead by Redwolf, and was formerly known as the "Reformed Libertarians" until action by the Lyra lead Libertarians forced a change to their name.

ACF:
The Anti-Capitalist Front is a left-wing party with many former Socialist members. Lead by Kinth, the party has been accused by some of being a "one man band"

Radical:
The Radical Party is lead by Partisa, a popular figure and a known left-wing rabble rouser. The party was able to score many high-profile defections from a number of different political parties including the Socialists, NDP, and Liberty.



Polls indicated an interesting race shaping up.



Things began to change with the campaign. Prior to the start of the campaign, voters had only been looking at things like bills passed or which MPs actually bothered to turn up and vote; but once things started rolling, voters also began to take into account debate performance, and performances at Question Period, and so forth. As well, the campaign itself had an impact on the race, especially in areas like Toronto.

In the end, the results were as follows:




The Liberals managed a plurality of seats. The Tories were damaged in Toronto by their decision to run weaker candidates, bringing down their vote in the area, as well as the design of the system itself, allowing only 4 seats from the area. Elections Canada CMHoC will be looking at this when making refinements to the system before the next election.

The Liberals were helped by an endorsement by Liberty in areas where Liberty had no candidates.

In what followed, we saw a surprise, with the Liberals forming an official coalition with Liberty, and working out a confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservatives. Parliament itself will look like this:



All in all a great election and process, and its still not over. Many Liberals are unhappy with the C&S with the Tories as it binds them to some quite right-libertarian policies, and at least one plans to vote against the Throne Speech itself. I meanwhile get to watch the fun from my seat in the Senate.

This is what's been sucking my time in the past few days, but with a Throne Speech expected soon (hopefully) that should release the pent up activity levels and allow things to return to normal.

I highly recommend CMHoC for anyone looking for a low-roleplay canadian political simulation

Friday, July 7, 2017

07JUL2017

I've been having a bit of a rough week in my personal life; just a lot of bad luck things happening in a short period. Regardless, politics has been a bit quiet, at least, in terms of the kind of elections I cover.

Regardless, on the 18th the BC NDP-Green coalition is to be sworn in.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

An updated basic income proposal

For some context, you might want to re-check my old post on the topic.

The new idea is as follows.

First, every family / household would get a payment from the Federal Government. This should be set at $700 but the Federal Government can change that to a number they feel works better.

Second, every adult would get a payment from the Provincial government. This should be $700 but the Provincial Government can change that to a number they feel works better; this is likely to be done as each province has different costs of living.


Half of the Federal amount would be a "unit" and half of the provincial amount would be a "unit". In these examples, both are $350, but, again, these are just example amounts.


Each child, up to 3, would get one extra provincial unit.

The first child would get 2 extra federal units. The second and third children would each earn 1 extra federal unit.


Remember; the $700 is just an example unit. The actual number can be changed.

Using this as an example:

EXAMPLES:

(NOTE: all these examples presume people who are not getting ANY other income)

An individual single person would get $1400. This is $700 from the Federal government, $700 from the Provincial government.

A couple would get $2100. $1400 from the Province and $700 from the Federal government.

A couple with one child would get $3150, $1750 from the Province and $1400 from the Federal government.

A couple with two children would get $3850, $2100 from the Province and $1750 from the Federal government.

A couple with three children would get $4550, $2450 from the Province and $2100 from the Federal government.

A couple with four or more children would get $4900, $2450 from the Province and $2450 from the Federal government.

FTR, and for comparison; a couple with four children on ODSP, would get $2000 from the Federal Government, and $2377 from the Province, for a total of $4377, so this is an increase but not a massive one.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Apologies for the earlier post

This one, which I will leave up.

This is a work in progress post that was mis-scheduled, and this went up before it was ready.

The final version will be posted when complete.

Friday, June 30, 2017

New Left/Right vs Old Left/Right; It's cultural

The first time I broached the topic of "cultural" left or right politics was in this post about the NDP.

For a long time now, I've been trying to figure out how to best explain something I am seeing; a new politics. A new left is replacing the old left, and a new right is replacing the old right.

The various posts about this can be found
over here
and here
and here
and here

I've never been able to properly articulate exactly what the big difference is; until now.

It's cultural.


For the past century, the biggest divide has been economic.




The new divide will be cultural.





Prohibition
Anti-Trust laws and regulation
Suffrage
Proliferation of Political Newspapers and Magazines (ads meant they were much much cheaper to sell)
Strong belief in Science and Technology
The Rise of Labour Unions
1909, Peoples Budget, Income Tax Amendment
Democratization (referenda, electing senators, etc)
Tariff and Trade


Update on BC and other things

Clark has lost the VONC and the NDP-Green coalition has been asked to form a government. As pointed out earlier, there are still many things that can go wrong for the NDP.

First up will be the selection of a speaker.


There are also various elections coming up I am keeping an eye on. Local elections are mostly done for the year, at least in places I track.

National elections continue.

In July we have Bermuda on the 18th, East Timor on the 22nd, and Venezuela on the 30th. August 8th (my birthday) has Kenya going to the polls.

In September things pick up again with the 11th being host to the Norway elections, 23rd to elections in New Zealand, and the big one, Germany on the 24th.

Polls suggest Merkel will be re-elected, sitting on about 38% of the vote. Her ally, the FDP has about 8%

The SPD has about 25%, with the Left on 9% and the Greens on 8%.

AFD however could play spoiler as it is sitting on about 8% of the vote, meaning neither left nor right coalition may achieve a majority.

At this time, my thinking is the most likely result is a return of the grand coalition.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Update: 29 JUN 2017 - back on track

The issue that caused my residence to be turned upside down has ceased, at least for the most part and for now, and I should be able to return to a normal schedule.


ITALY

Italy held local elections recently. Five star won 8 comuni, while the left won 67, and the right won 59. However; this compares to 2 comuni for Five star last time (2012) 82 for the left and 29 for the right.

Five star gained about 2% of the vote.


KOSOVO

Kosovo held elections recently as well. The governing coalition has lost seats. The more extremist pro-albanian party has gained. No official seat total results are out yet that I can find however, but a grand coalition between the two non-"extreme" coalitions seems possible.



PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Unclear exactly what is going on as information is spotty; but Prime Minister Peter O'Neill is facing off against Don Polye, the leader of the opposition, in an election that began earlier this week and continues until the 8th of July.



ALBANIA

The incumbent Socialists have gained 9 seats, bringing them from a strong minority position to a majority.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

BC; where things stand

On Thursday, the BC government will almost certainly fall to a VONC.

As outlined earlier, this is all part of the plan.

Yesterday the Coalition (of the Greens and BC NDP) voted down some bills proposed by the Liberals, including one to ban union and corporate donations.

The rationale is simple on both sides.

Clark wants another election. Horgan wants a working majority within this legislature.

I will attempt to write this as a flowchart.


VONC -> Speaker Resigns

This is all but certain, and has been addressed.

This is where things get complicated

VONC and Speaker Resigns
|
Clark suggests a snap election
OR
Nobody steps forward to be new speaker; this will result in a snap election
OR
Coalition puts forward a speaker

IF there is a coalition speaker, the following may happen:

Coalition puts forward a speaker
|
Speaker votes in favour of enough bills to all the Coalition to govern
OR
Speaker votes against all bills including budgets and causes government to collapse
OR
Speaker votes for budgets, throne speeches, and VOCs but against all else
OR
MLA resignation, death, or defection causes the Coalition to gain a majority
OR
MLA resignation, death, or defection causes the Liberals to hold a majority of non-speaker seats (if this happens they will almost certainly call an election)

Of these options, the first would be extremely controversial. The second would be highly likely, and cause an election, and the third is a possibility and could see an election avoided for the time being.

However, Clark is attempting to rule out some of these options. To do this she will have the current Liberal speaker make a ruling on how the next speaker should act.

Clark's objective is to get into an election without being seen as forcing one. Ruling out having a speaker vote for Coalition bills is perhaps the best way to do that as it leaves very few other options for the Coalition.


In short, nearly every possible path this could take lead to "snap election" and the 'drama' of the situation is in seeing if the Coalition can possibly avoid that outcome.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Schedule Interruption

Just a quick notice that some things are going on in my personal life right now that is taking up all my time. This should end after the 28th

Monday, June 19, 2017

Is modern "progressive" europe built on a crime?

This is a different sort of post.

In discussions with people from the balkans, I find a strong opinion on genocide and ethnic cleansing, as would be expected. To quote someone from Slovenia, who I asked about both just now, "They are both equally bad"

This seems to be the prevailing opinion not just within the balkan states, but around the world.

To ensure that this post is clear I want to explain what I see as the key difference between the two; intentionally causing death.

Genocide is a campaign to kill another ethnicity.

Ethnic Cleansing is a campaign to remove them from the land.


To begin I want to examine various states with "mixed" ethnicities and how they've done since the end of WW2, by looking at each and every country in Europe with over 10% of the population from a minority group.

Switzerland is the bright spot. While officially everyone is "swiss" one could easily split the country across the franco/germanic divide. Despite that, Switzerland is peaceful and modern and stable.

Wales is the next biggest success story, but has a weak but ingrained separatist party.

The baltic states of Estonia and Latvia are often beset by instability caused, in part, by their large russian minority and a split in both countries over east-west relations.

The former USSR itself fell apart not only due to communism collapsing, but due to the desires and wants of the various ethnic republics.

Of those republics, Moldova and Ukraine, both over this 10% barrier, have separatist Russian communities that have set up their own states. Belarus is the only former republic with such a large minority without instability and much of this is due to the totalitarian dictatorship that exists in the nation.

Yugoslavia is another former state that split up due to ethnic tension, with only Slovenia being below the 10% barrier, and also, stable. Every other republic has faced problems. Bosnia, Serbia (Kosovo) and Croatia, has faced violent war, while Montenegro and Macedonia face internal instability.

Cyprus faced a civil war and remains divided to this day.

Northern Ireland also faced major troubles for decades due to the split there.

Belgium, however, the most "progressive" and "western" of these, has avoided mass violence but has had over a decade if instability and many separatist movements.


Why is it, though, that I wanted to look at countries with over 10% belonging to a minority group?

Because of what happened after WW2.

Ethnic Cleansing of Germans.

The scattered German population across Eastern and Southern europe was one of the factors that lead to WW2.

Consider that after this event, and the similar expulsion of the Polish by the Soviets, that both Germany and Poland have only within the past few years faced the same kind of "mainstream" rabid nationalism that we've seen for decades in France.


As such my argument here is a simple one.

The "Modern" and "Progressive" Europe that people idolize, is, in part, built on ethnic cleansing, and that, in short, Europe should be ashamed.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Macron wins majority in Parliament

In today's 2nd round of the French parliamentary elections, President Macron's party, En Marche, has won a majority.


With 300 confirmed victories, they will be able to command a clear majority within the 577 seat National Assembly.

With their ally the Democratic Movement, they will hold at least 341 seats.

The Conservatives have won at least 135, with the main Republican party winning 113 of these.

The Socialists alliance has won at least 44, with the party itself taking 29.

The Communist alliance has won at least 27, but of these the party holds only 10, with Melenchon's party winning 17, potentially allowing it to sit as it's own grouping within the Assembly.

The National Front has won 8 seats, including that of Marine Le Pen, and an additional seat has been won by their ally party, France Arise.

3 Independents have won seats as well as 5 Regionalists.



Counting continues for the final 13 seats, however the shape of the results will not drastically change.

This result is down on earlier projections for Macron. as it seems some voters simply voted against his party causing a less favourable vote transfer in the 2nd round than expected. The change in the results map from the 1st round leaders to 2nd round winners shows that shift. It implies that Macron may already be starting to get some push back from the electorate and any honeymoon he has will be short lived.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Christy Clark's plan

Given some of the news that has come out since the election, I thought I would explain exactly what Clark is doing, how, and why.

There are 87 seats in the BC Legislature. The Liberals hold 43, the NDP hold 41, and the Greens hold 3. One of the MLAs will need to serve as speaker. You need 44 MLAs to have a majority.

The plan is this. Clark, as the incumbent premier, has the right to meet the house and test its confidence. All premiers do. Even if the NDP had won 60 seats, she still would have this right. It's simply custom that Premiers in Canada stand down when it becomes clear and obvious they will lose a confidence vote. The Liberals will put up a candidate for Speaker during this period. This means there will be 1 speaker, 42 Liberals, and 44 members of the Coalition (NDP-Green) that will vote on issues.

It is unclear if Clark will call a direct VONC (Vote of Non-Confidence) or will simply try to pass a throne speech, which itself, is automatically also a VONC. The result will, regardless, be the same. The VONC is expected to pass, 44-42, and Clark will be forced to resign as Premier.

At this stage, John Horgan would probably be asked to become Premier by the LtG.

Horgan would then need to submit his own Throne Speech.


This is where things get tricky. Clark says the then-current speaker will resign, and that no Liberal will run for Speaker. This means it is possible that an NDP MLA will need to become Speaker. This would mean 1 speaker, 43 Liberals, and 43 Coalition members. The Throne Speech would thus be a tie.

However, according to tradition, the speaker votes against VONC motions, and so, a throne speech may well pass. Clark could even have an MLA or two sit out the vote specifically so it does.

The problem comes when it is budget time, as there is simply no way the Coalition, under these circumstances, could pass a budget. The speaker would likely have to vote against it, and this would bring down the government.


It gets even more complicated.

While I can find information saying Denison's rules would have a speaker vote against both Budgets and Amendments to the Throne Speech; I can't find the rules for the speech itself; however, given amendments are given special attention as a "no" it would imply that yes, a speaker is to support a governments throne speech. Regardless, the sitting speaker may simply decide that Denison's rules are unclear, or, outdated, and vote against a Throne Speech, or vote for Budgets.

Additionally, the LtG could simply decide that Horgan can not actually obtain the confidence of the house, and, as a result, refuse his request to be Premier and simply call another election.

The Coalition's best hope is for a Liberal to agree to be speaker under an NDP Government. The reason this is unlikely is that the current speaker, Linda Reid, almost certainly was spoken to (by Clark) prior to her announcement, and, any Liberal agreeing to do this, would be ending their political career.

Finally; things could simply play out as Clark intends. She'd fail the VONC, Horgan would become Premier, lose his majority, win his VONC, but fail at his first budget. This could mean a year of NDP government without a majority in the Legislature. Why would Clark do this?

The simple answer is that governing is hard. The NDP will almost certainly not be able to carry out everything they planned to, even if they had a majority of their own. Additionally, there may be things she knows that we do not - for example, there may be a hidden deficit that will require unpopular cuts. Lastly, there were many Green voters who wanted the party to go into coalition with the Liberals. Clark can now say to all of them that the only way to get a Liberal government is to vote Liberal and that a vote for the Greens is a vote for the NDP.


In the end, this is a good strategy from Clark that has one major flaw; it requires loyalty. That does not mean I expect any BC Liberal MLA to join the NDP, or, agree to sit as speaker under an NDP government, but, MLAs get job offers from private firms from time to time, and in order for Clark to maintain the 43 seats she needs to block the Coalition, she will require each and every MLA to remain in the legislature and not decide to leave for a better job, or even for personal reasons. If as much as one BCL MLA resigns, this entire strategy unravels, and should the by-election result in a Coalition victory, it is game over for Christy Clark.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

13JUN2017 Update

Next week features the 2nd round of the French elections. I'm also keeping an eye on things in Kosovo and Albania. 

Puerto Rico held a referendum on becoming a state, with over 97% voting for statehood; but turnout was only 23% and as a result the vote will likely be ignored. 


Sunday, June 11, 2017

French Elections, and some random balkan history

The counting in the first round of the french elections are wrapping up. Only a handful of seats have an official winner, someone who has taken 50%+1 of the vote, in the remainder, two candidates will go head to head next week. Despite that, there are projections, done by the media, that show how well things are going. From them I've developed my own projection which is as follows:

420 Liberals
100 Conservatives
25 Socialists
15 Communists
5 Nationalists
12 Others

This would give Macron a massive majority in the House.

There are two main parties making up the Liberals, REM, Macron's own party, and MoDem, the centrist Liberal party lead by Bayrou which has existed for some years. The 420 seats is their combined total.

In 2002, the combined Conservative seat total was 399

In 1993, the Conservatives managed a whopping 485 seats, however, this was at a time of a Socialist Presidency, and so, could not be counted as part of the "President's Majority" in the same way the 2002 Conservatives, or 2017 Liberals can.

In 1981 the Socialists took 333 seats in a smaller chamber, but they would have had to have taken 358 to beat the share of seats Macron is expecting.

1962 saw 324 seats for the President's Conservatives

However, all of this pales to the events of 1968.

In may of that year, France was hit by general strikes and occupations of universities and factories, causing de Gaulle, who had the balls to stand up to Hitler, to flee the country for a few hours. Within 24 hours of returning, he called an election and dissolved Parliament. This caused the strikes to die down

This election saw the return of 91 Socialist and Communist members, and a whopping and massive 396 Conservatives to the 487 seat assembly; a number equal to 470 seats in the modern 577 seat assembly.



Things are a bit more complex in the Senate.

Elections will be held in September for half of the Senate. The other half is composed of
91 Conservatives
33 Moderates
48 Socialists
2 Communists
4 Others

Keep in mind that Macron has shown an ability to attract sitting members of other parties to his side. It is possible that half of the Socialists, a dozen of the Conservatives, and nearly every Moderate will choose to sit with his party. Macron has also won nearly every seat from the Socialists, and up to half from the Conservatives. If that trend continued, his Senate results could be expected to be as follows:

184 Liberals
108 Conservatives
30 Socialists
20 Communists
6 Others

However, there is a major caveat.

The senate is not chosen by popular vote, it is chosen by an electoral college, one made up of municipal councillors. As such, projections should be taken with a grain of salt. The current Senate makeup is as follows:

143 Conservatives
122 Socialists
56 Moderates
18 Communists
9 Others



Lastly, a bit of world history, in particular, nearing the end of WW2.

You would be hard pressed to find someone who has never heard of d-day and the invasion of Normandy, when the US, and UK (including Canada) invaded NAZI occupied France, and liberated it from the Germans.

Most also know that the US and UK invaded Italy, and that Italy switched sides, and these armies drove up the peninsula, and liberated Italy.

Many know that the US and UK, after invading Normandy, attacked Germany. In the process, the US liberated most of Wallonia in Belgium and Luxembourg. Canada and the UK Liberated most of Flanders in Belgium, and Canada liberated the majority of the Netherlands.

It is also known by those who read history, that Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary were liberated from the NAZIs by the Soviets.

Lesser known is that Norway mostly Liberated itself, though with some significant UK aid.

Denmark also liberated itself. Both due to the NAZIs simply withdrawing in order to fight in, Germany. This being similar to how Denmark was occupied, the Germans simply rolled in.

That's great and all, but it does not cover every country in Europe that the NAZIs had occupied.

Yugoslavia is probably the most famous country that Liberated itself. Communist partisans fought the puppet government in Croatia, and liberated Yugoslavia. The fact that Yugoslavia liberated itself is one key reason why Yugoslavia was able to be independent from the Soviets during the Cold War.

What I learned only yesterday was the following.

Romania resisted the Soviet invasion to a point, but like Italy, switched sides. In fact, it was King Michael who lead the coup against the NAZI government, and then fought alongside the Soviets, with Romania, against NAZI Germany.
Fun fact: Michael is still alive as of the writing of this post, though he is 95 and has leukemia.

Bulgaria was invaded by the USSR next, and there was no resistance. The Soviets marched into Sofia, and helped a coup, which flipped Bulgaria to the allies.

Albania was liberated nearly completely by itself. Communist militias took over after the Germans withdrew to fight in Germany.

Greece was also mostly Liberated by itself, though the British were quick to move in to prevent a power vacuum. Communist militias held most of the country and this would eventually lead to the Greek Civil War.


So, only yesterday I learned that a lot of european countries had liberated themselves. I pride myself on knowing history and only learning this yesterday I find disturbing. The reality is a lot of this information was a bit hidden and harder to find. The "official story" of the war likes to focus on how the US and UK were the ones who freed most of europe, but in reality, many countries freed themselves as the Germans withdrew to fight in Germany.

Friday, June 9, 2017

UK Projection - 59 errors



591 correct calls, 59 errors.

Reminder; in the Canadian election I had 276 correct calls and 62 errors and was within the top three in the world for seat by seat calls.

I'd love to see how this compares to other projections!

UK - Results

Not all seats have fully reported. Kensington in particular is still close, and three seats in Cornwall have yet to release final results; however, here are the results of the election:


You may be wondering why I've included numbers for England, the reason is due to the Grand Committee system that was set up as an answer to the West Lothian Question.

In short, this means that on issues where Scotland has the power to make its own laws, such as education, only members of the proper Grand Committee get to vote; put another way, Scottish MPs don't get a vote on these issues.

The Tories hold a majority on the English, English and Welsh, and English, Welsh, and Northern Irish committees. On the latter, there are 32 seats outside the two main parties; including every NI seat and all Liberal Democrats from the area; 254 Labour seats (for a combined 286) compared with 304 Tories. Things only get better in England and Wales, and even better in just England.

I've also included England outside of London, in the event that such a committee is set up (one does not exist just yet) and the numbers for Wales and Scotland, to help you understand how things played out across the UK.

I've also assumed the Tories will be forming either an outright coalition with the DUP, or, some kind of working arrangement, or a deal or accord to support them in government. Failure to work with the DUP gives the Tories few other options, as the Liberal Democrats oppose brexit, and the only other party that works mathematically, Plaid Cymru, is a progressive party that also opposes brexit.

The working theory is the DUP will demand two key things; first of all free movement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and secondly, it seems, they want the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

This would change the ballgame in Northern Ireland. It would mean "Direct Rule" is "DUP Rule" and would seriously impact negotiations and likely lead to direct rule, after another election or not, and the exclusion of Sinn Fein from power sharing, and could spark off a new round of the troubles.

Interestingly, Nigel Farage may return for a 3rd time due to all of this. Farage became UKIP leader in 2006. He resigned in 2009 but returned a year later. He resigned again in 2016, but returned for a second time to lead the party for a month. Now he's threatening to return for a third time.

With 4 seats yet to declare, the results are as follows.

318 CON 42.4%
261 LAB 40.1%
35 SNP 3.1%
12 L-D 7.3%
10 DUP 0.9%
7 SF 0.7%
4 PC 0.5%
1 GRN 1.6%
0 UKIP 1.9%

Thursday, June 8, 2017

UK - mid day gut check


Still a bit rattled from an incident in my apartment building involving 5 police officers, threats of assault, blood on the floor, and other fun stuff; so my analysis in words may be delayed.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

UK - Final Projection - Narrow Tory Majority


I'm projecting 328 seats for the Conservative Party, a Majority, but a small one. A loss of 2 seats on the 330 seats they took last

Facing them will be Labour at 243, a gain of 14. Corbyn will certainly be able to stay on with these kinds of numbers.

The SNP will be at 40, a loss of 14. A bad result, but considering the SNP broke all records in 2015, and prior to that their best result was 11, this is still a massive victory.

The Liberal Democrats are set to take 14, up from 8, but could lose a few of their northern seats to Labour.


A more detailed explanation will be presented tomorrow, today's post is more about the numbers.


UK: Evening update to come late

Due to the high chance of polls being released near midnight, I've decided to wait until after this, and do my update closer to 8pm in Toronto.

My current work-in-progress map:


UK: Morning update, Final Day of Campaigning

This update is scheduled to go out at 12:01am where I am.

There will be an evening update as well. that will release prior to (or at) 11:59pm in London