Tuesday, February 28, 2017

NI - Possible Prediction

Just some preliminary math.

I need to double check in to all the details before my prediction for tomorrow Thursday; which will include explanations.

Northern Ireland election on Thursday

Just a quick update/reminder that the Northern Ireland election is on Thursday. I will be doing a post either today or tomorrow to expand on what I expect to see and why.

As well I met my first blog reader in the wild (meaning meeting them through something not directly related to the blog, just by chance, elsewhere online) which has given me a bit of encouragement to write more posts more frequently.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The copeland win is not surprising.

Don't believe the media, believe the numbers.

In the last election, Labour took 30.4% of the UK-wide vote. The Tories took 36.9%.
In the last election, Labour took 42.3% of the Copeland vote. The Tories took 35.8%
Currently, Labour is polling around 26% of the UK-wide vote. The Tories are around 42%
Pure math would then suggest Labour should take 36.2% in Copeland. The Tories 40.7%
However, the "other parties" took less of the vote than otherwise expected.
In the by-election Labour and the Tories, combined, took 81.5%. If you adjust things;
The math suggests Labour should take 38.3%. The math suggests the Tories should take 43.2%
In the actual by-election, Labour took 37.3% in Copeland. The Tories managed to win with 44.2%

This is not a shocking surprise win.
This was to be expected.

Constituencies change over time. The fact that Copeland was Labour for 80 years means nothing. Copeland has been trending Tory for the past 3 decades, and the fact the party won it, when they are at 42% of the support nationwide, is completely and totally unsurprising.

Edited to add:

The ratio method may not be clear to new readers, so I will explain it.
26% (the current polling level of Labour) needs to be compared to 30.4% (what they took last time)
This is 0.855
0.855 * 42.3 (what they took in Copeland) is 36.2

The Tories factor is 1.138 (36.9 vs 42) and applied to Copeland that is 40.7

The weakness of this system is that you'll end up with numbers above or below 100 if you do this for all parties; but this is simply corrected by calculating the new percentage using these numbers as a base.

No, it is not perfect, but it tends to work better than uniform swings, especially when the combined vote of the top two parties is under 80%

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

22FEB2017 - Quick Update (BC)

Just a quick update; BC elections take place in the next few months. My current prediction is as follows;

Thanks to Kyle of Blunt Objects who, I think, made the original map, and Bryan of 2 close 2 call, who made the prediction forecaster I used.

A reminder: Federal By-Elections are to happen on April 3rd

Friday, February 17, 2017

Northern Ireland Debate

The leaders of the 5 major parties in Northern Ireland held a debate yesterday. You can watch it on the UTV website that the link goes to. I'll try to summarize.

Remember the context; the DUP and SF were the only two parties in government, while the UUP and SDLP in particular focused on being an opposition. The Alliance was also in de jure opposition, and de facto held no government power, but the Alliance has always acted as a moderate neutral party.

In the debate, SF and the DUP both shared one talking point, that only SF and the DUP can finish first or second; that the First Minister and deputy First Minister must therefore come from these two parties, and that without SF or the DUP, that the entire system of government will fail. They differed on why the government collapsed, with the DUP blaming SF, and SF blaming the DUP.

The other 3 parties generally agreed that the DUP was primarily at fault for the government collapse, but also that SF acted rashly and didn't need to bring down the government. The UUP and SDLP basically offered a joint alternative government to SF and the DUP.

The only thing all parties agreed on was there would be a period of negotiations after the election, a period that could result in changing of the existing agreements that dictate how NI is governed. This means everything is up for grabs. We could see a change to the petition of concern, the way the First Minister is elected, potentially we could even do away with the concept of a deputy First Minister. The only limit to what can be done is agreement of the major parties.

All in all I think that SF did what it needed to, but the DUP failed to do what it needed to do. SF presented themselves as the vanguard of the nationalist community while the DUP could only threaten with "SF might win the election." Given that the powers of the FM are identical to the dFM I don't think this held much weight. The SDLP meanwhile didn't do horribly, and the Alliance made their points well.

However, I'd have to say from my own judgement at least that Mike Nesbitt and the UUP gained the most out of this debate. Nesbitt presented a clear alternative to the DUP; a party that works with nationalists not because it has to but because it wants to. He also came across as the most competent of all the leaders.

How all of this will play out is undetermined, and given the nature of Northern Ireland, it's 50-50 on if we get another poll before the election; but from what I've seen in this debate and the news in general, I'd expect the UUP to do very well.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

15FEB2017 - Update, UK By-elections

There is not much to update right now. Generally what was happening around the world, is continuing to happen, and what did happen, was, generally, what was expected. There are no big elections I'm following that are coming up until March.

On the 23rd of this month, the UK will hold by-elections in two seats. In Copeland Labour is defending against the Conservatives. The Tories could win here. This might be notable as it's a historic Labour area, but, in the 80's the seat was somewhat competitive, with the Tories being 4% / 2000 votes behind Labour in both 83 and 87. Of course, the 80's was a low point for Labour, and, the seat is trending to the right; so, in short, whoever wins it is not as big of a deal as it otherwise could be.

Stoke-on-Trent Central, however, is the by-election everyone is focusing on. Tristram Hunt, the Labour MP, and former historian, resigned to take over as Director of a museum. Hunt had won the seat with 12,200 votes, on 39.3%, over UKIP with 7,041 votes, on 22.7%. Paul Nuttall the new UKIP leader is running here, and there is some expectation that he should be able to win the seat; however, campaign issues and poor decisions have now put that in doubt.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Netherlands Election - 2017

I'd like to start by jumping right into the fire and looking at the 2012 elections.

41 - VVD - Conservative
38 - PvdA - Labour
15 - PVV - Nativist
15 - SP - Socialist
13 - CDA - Christian Democrat
12 - D66 - Liberal
5 - CU - Social Conservative
4 - GL - Green Left
3 - SGP - Christian Right
2 - PvdD - Pro Animal / Environmentalist
2 - 50PLUS - Pensioner
0 - DENK - "THINK" (read below)

The Netherlands uses a proportional system, the purest of them, with a single nation-wide constituency with 150 seats, and, it appears, without a minimum threshold. Polls show all the parties listed above are polling at rates that should earn them seats, while another party, DENK (THINK in English) seems to be on course to win a single seat. They are a small party that broke off from Labour. None of the other parties are polling a high enough average to get a seat.

At the current poll average, this is the prediction:

31 - PVV - Nativist
25 - VVD - Conservative
17 - CDA - Christian Democrat
15 - D66 - Liberal
15 - GL - Green Left
13 - SP - Socialist
11 - PvdA - Labour
9 - 50PLUS - Pensioner
6 - CU - Social Conservative
4 - PvdD - Pro Animal / Environmentalist
3 - SGP - Christian Right
1 - DENK - Labour Split

Given the number of parties, I'll group a few together.

32 - Moderate
32 - Left-wing
31 - Nativist
25 - Conservative
11 - Labour
9 - Pensioner
9 - Right-wing
1 - Labour Split

The most natural base grouping is VVD (Conservative) with CDA and D66 (Moderate)

57 - Potential Government
32 - Left-wing
31 - Nativist
11 - Labour
9 - Pensioner
9 - Right-wing
1 - Labour Split

19 more would be needed for a majority. PvdA (Labour) and 50PLUS (Pensioner) could achieve this, but minority governments have ruled before in the Netherlands.

Important as well is the Senate, which is elected by the provincial assemblies. Using the above groupings, it stands as such:

35 - Potential Government
15 - Left-wing
9 - Nativist
8 - Labour
2 - Pensioner
5 - Right-wing
0 - Labour Split
1 - 'Independent'

The addition of Labour would give them a majority in the Senate, while the Pensioners would leave them 1 short.

Consider that for the "Left" parties to form a government, they would need to ally with not just Labour and the Pensioner party, but also with D66, a decidedly moderate Liberal party. Even then they do not have a majority in either house. (67 and 35) and would require the slightly right of centre CDA for legislative support.

With that in mind, my current thinking is a VVD-CDA-D66 government, with PvdA, and 50PLUS possibly joining in.

In my next post I will explain more about the political history of the Netherlands. (I do realize this is a bit backwards, but I wanted to set the stage of the modern election before looking at the past, as everything is in context.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Northern Ireland - Map and Independents

I've decided to include a map with this post; as it is a short post, and there may be some confusion given some things I say about specific seats.

These are the names of each Constituency. The 4 in Belfast may be hard to read; they are simple North Belfast, West Belfast, South Belfast, and East Belfast.

In the upper left is my guide to which community makes up a majority in each, and in the upper right is a county map from Wikipedia. The county map helps explain the context behind many of the names.

A reminder that the City and County of Derry/Londonderry has a name controversy, with Unionists calling it Londonderry and Nationalists calling it Derry. Since the City has a Nationalist majority, while the remainder of the County has a Unionist majority, I lean towards calling it the City of Derry, in County Londonderry.

Derry is located in the Foyle constituency. Foyle is the river the splits the city in two, and is used to avoid naming controversies over the pick of a name.

Northern Ireland has a population of 1,868,700. This compares to Manitoba at 1,278,000; South Australia at 1,706,500, and West Virginia at 1,831,102.

Belfast is the largest city and has a mixed Unionist/Nationalist demographic. It has 333,000 people.
Derry is next largest with 85,000.
Finding the 3rd largest is not easy. Local government creates massive municipalities in terms of size, and population figures from within these areas are not always clear. However, I think I've determined the population of various centres using data from ward population.
55,000 Bangor (North Down)
41,000 Newtownabbey (split between Belfast North, South Antrim, and East Antrim)
34,000 Lisburn (Lagan Valley)
All three are effective 'suburbs' of Belfast, and heavily Unionist. At the municipal level, there is a grand total of one Nationalist councillor in these three towns.


I've created another map showing candidates

I've tried to divide up the 22 Independent candidates into smaller groups to help examine them.

2 are unknown, I've not been able to find where they stand on the issues.

3 are self-admitted progressives, and 2 more seem to have progressive stances on the issues. None of them are clearly unionist or nationalist.

2 are concerned mothers who have faced major health issues in their family

3 are unionists, including one who was tossed from the DUP. This is the only group with Incumbents, in this case, 2.

4 are nationalists, including one who left SF.

And 3 are unique. West Tyrone as a lady who thinks God wants her to hate on gays, North Down has a man who was arrested for smoking in council chambers (both these candidates have run before and finished last) and South Down has a former alliance candidate who has done some strange things, but is now seeking treatment for mental illness.

I have two posts that I'm working on at this time, one expanding on the New Left vs New Right, and another looking at my own personal proposals for Northern Ireland.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Northern Ireland: Candidates and additional parties

I've been able to map party coverage of the constituencies in terms of candidates. 

As you can see, the big 5 parties have full coverage, as do the Greens. These 6 parties are running candidates all across Northern Ireland and any voter, no matter where they live,

Next in terms of coverage is the TUV and the Conservatives, each running in 13 seats; however the TUV has 1 more candidate as they have two in North Antrim.

PBP is next with 7 (up from 3). The PUP is running 3 (down from 6), while UKIP is only running a single candidate (down from 13). There are also 22 Independents running.

The Workers Party is running 5 candidates. They are a communist party based in Ireland and are nationalist in nature, desiring a unification of Northern Ireland with Ireland. In the last election they took 1,565 votes with 4 candidates.

The Cross-Community Labour Alternative is running 4 candidates. They are a hard left party that attempts to appeal to both communities. Their vote, however, is concentrated in Unionist areas. In the last election they took 1,577 votes with 3 candidates.

CISTA, or the Citizens Independent Social Thought Alliance is a new party that uses the same organization as CISTA, or Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol. Both parties shared a Northern Ireland leader and most supporters. They are running 3 candidates, compared to the old CISTA party's 4. The old party took 2,510 votes in the last election.

For comparison, around 6,000 votes is the quota to elect a member, but it is always possible to gain votes on transfers due to the STV system used in Northern Ireland.

Tomorrow I will look at the various Independents running to a minimal degree to see patterns in their candidacy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Northern Ireland - Other Parties

There are many other parties in Northern Ireland. Most of them are officially "Other" but some are either Nationalist or Unionist but are simply very small compared to the other parties we've looked at so far.

Other parties have taken 78,041 votes in the last election, and this is the "Other vote" I will be looking at today.

Alliance Party of Northern Ireland

APNI, or "the Alliance" was founded in 1970 as an alternative to the various Unionist and Nationalist parties that existed. The original aim of the party was to serve as a bridge between Catholic and Protestant, and the party had success across Northern Ireland, in both Protestant and Catholic areas. It was one of the first parties to expressly support the idea that Northern Ireland should be in whatever country that its voters want it to be in.

In 1973 the party managed to win 13.6% of the vote in the local elections across Northern Ireland, finishing second in popular vote, winning seats on 20 of the 26 councils. In the 1977 local elections the party would take 14.4% of the vote.

The Alliance would begin to decline as Sinn Fein entered the scene and politics became more polarized. Over the 1980's the Alliance became less of a voice for Catholics and more of a voice for Protestants who wanted a far more moderate tone. The Alliance strongly supported the peace talks that lead to the Good Friday agreement, and have been a consistent presence since elections began to the assembly in it's current form in 1998.

The modern party is a very small l liberal party, especially in the more progressive traditions that we think of here in Canada.

The Alliance managed 62.1% of the Other vote.

The Greens

officially a branch of the Irish Green Party, the party maintains links to Greens elsewhere in the UK. Officially "Other" the party takes a neutral stance, saying that until a majority wants NI to join Ireland, it should remain in the UK.

The party's history can be traced back to 1981 under the name of the Ecology Party. In 1983, the NI party as well as the UK and Irish parties, met in Belfast to present a unified policy on Northern Ireland. In 2006, the Greens in NI officially affiliated with the Irish party.

The Greens managed 24.0% of the Other vote

NI Conservatives

Prior to 1922, the party was allied to the Irish Conservative Party, which itself merged into the Irish Unionist Party.
Between 1922 and 1972, the Ulster Unionist Party operated as the NI Conservatives, the local branch of the party.
In the late 1980's the party started to organize in the region, and did well in the 1989 council election in North Down; the area in and around Bangor.
North Down has always been the 'odd one out' often electing independents to Westminster, and others (UKUP, NIWC) to Stormont.

The party took 3.3% of the Other vote.

The only other party to receive more than 2,000 votes has since been de-registered, the combined vote of all other parties is 8,322, or 10.7% of the Other vote.

Lastly, are the Independents. This group managed 22,650 votes,

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Northern Ireland - Nationalist Parties

Nationalist Parties in Northern Ireland can rely on around 40%-42% of the vote. Voters for these parties tend to consider themselves Irish, Catholic, and wish for Northern Ireland to join Ireland. While this applies to some voters for the 'other' parties, it's not common for Nationalist voters to vote for Unionist parties; though it can happen when the only parties remaining during ballot counting are Unionist in nature.

I am going to focus on 3 parties in this section. Sinn Fein, the SDLP, and PBP.
It should be noted that People Before Profit is not officially a nationalist party; however their priorities, their stances on the issues, and the voter base they draw from does put them directly in line with the other Nationalist parties, and so, I will be including them here.

In the last election, 263910 votes were cast for one of these 3 parties that I am considering Nationalist for reasons outlined above. This is what I will call "the Nationalist vote"

Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein is officially and Ireland-wide party that has a Northern Ireland branch. I've gone over the history of the party, in general, in other posts looking at the history of Northern Ireland and Ireland. The Party is strongly dedicated to Irish Unification, and takes a left-wing stance to other issues. In the European Parliament SF sits with the United Left group, which is one of the more left-wing groupings in Europe.

I've already spelled out the party's history to a great degree in my these past posts on Irish History in general, The Troubles in particular, and past NI Elections. Important to note is the modern party was founded with two main goals in mind; first to unite Ireland, and second, to be an anti-capitalist voice. Since then, while the party has softened enough on Irish unity to enable it to sit in the NI Executive, it has softened more on issues of economics, becoming simply a hard-left party rather than one that is rabidly anti-capitalist.

The party managed to take 63.2% of the Nationalist vote in the last election, and as such, has been the main voice of the Nationalist community.

Social Democratic and Labour Party

The SDLP was the first nationalist party in Northern Ireland to have true and widespread success.

The SDLP is a merger of two movements in Northern Ireland; the Nationalist movement and the Labour movement. Consider that in 1962, the two groups made up the bulk of the opposition. Keep in mind as well that most seats went uncontested at this time. It was not until 1965 that the Nationalists agreed to take up their seats in the NI Parliament, and that only would last for a few years. However, that time gave them the chance to get used to the idea of participating within the existing Parliament.

In 1970 a group of 6 MLAs formed the SDLP. Rather than abstaining, they demanded reforms to the system. When reforms came in 1973, the party became the main voice for the entire Nationalist community, with other, smaller Nationalist and Labour parties falling by the wayside. The party has maintained some limited ties to both the Irish Labour party and the UK Labour party, but in terms of policy is probably closest to Fianna Fail, a moderate-left Irish political party. The biggest problem for the SDLP in recent years has been competition with SF.

In the last election, the party took 31.6% of the nationalist vote.

People Before Profit

Like SF, PBP is an Ireland-wide party that has a Northern Ireland branch. Unlike SF, the local branch seems a much weaker idea, and the party operates as a subservient tributary of the larger party.

The party was officially founded in 2005 in Dublin by the Socialist Workers Party, which is openly Trotskyist. While the official line of the party is that it unites Catholic and Protestant workers, the party's history, though the SWP, has seen it take a vague view on the violence committed by the PIRA during the troubles.

PBP is a fairly radical far-left party that rejects Capitalism outright. When it came time to declare their affiliation in the assembly; Nationalist Unionist or Other, they declared it to be "Socialist" and so were grouped in with the "Other" camp.

The party managed 5.2% of the Nationalist vote, but that support was heavily concentrated in two constituencies, Foyle where Derry is, and Belfast West.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Northern Ireland - Unionist Parties

Normally taking between 47%-51% of the vote. The main community providing this vote is the Protestant community, and descendants of the Scottish and English settlers to Ulster. This group contains some Catholics. Consider that only 4% of Protestants identify as "Irish" while 13% of Catholics identify as "British". Around one third of both groups simply identify as "Northern Irish".

5 parties, the DUP, UUP, TUV, UKIP, and the PUP. All are officially unionist. There are other "officially" unionist parties, such as NI Conservatives, but their vote total and impact is so minor, I've counted them in with the "Other" parties.

These parties have taken 329,709 votes combined in the last election,

A cautionary note as well, I will only be looking at parties that still exist, and as such, historic Unionist parties of importance will not be examined here.

Democratic Unionist Party

The DUP is currently the largest Unionist party in Northern Ireland. One can not look at the party without looking at it's larger-than-life founder, Ian Paisley.

Paisley was originally a member of the UUP. During that time he set up Ulster Protestant Action, a group dedicated to defending against anticipated IRA attacks. They would march down the street rounding up 'suspects'. This group would later grow into the Protestant Unionist Party which ran for 4 years. This party was folded into the DUP upon the latter's founding in 1971.

The main priority of the DUP during it's early decades would be to oppose power sharing, a stance it more or less maintained until 2007 when it received certain concessions from Sinn Fein and the PIRA about weapons and policing. Ian Paisley would then go on to become First Minister.

The DUP's political stances can be defined as generally right-wing and conservative, and many party members hold socially conservative views. One thing dividing the DUP and UUP is demographics. While both parties find support all across the Protestant community, DUP members are more likely to be Ulster Scots and Presbyterians,

Following Paisley's resignation as leader (he was 80 at the time) Peter Robinson took over. After being forced out by numerous scandals, Arlene Foster became leader. Foster now faces her own scandal in the RHI.

In the most recent election, the DUP took 61.4% of the Unionist vote, a level at which the party has remained for nearly a decade.

Ulster Unionist Party

The UUP can trace it's history back to the 1880's with the Irish Loyal and Patriotic Union; which attempted to oppose the Irish Parliamentary Party in the 1885 election. The ILPU backed Conservative candidates and encouraged Liberals to vote Conservative to stop the IP. A group of Liberal Unionists would alter break off from the Liberals and effectively join the Conservatives in Ireland as the Unionist Party. In 1892 the Irish Unionist Party managed to win most of the seats that would later be within Northern Ireland. In 1921 with the creation of Northern Ireland the party adopted it's current name.

For the first 4 decades, the UUP would remain unrecognizable compared to the party we know today. Lead by aristocrats and with deep ties to the Orange Order, the party did not even allow Catholic members for some time.

The modern party started to take shape under Terrance O'Neill, the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in the 60's. He began to implement reforms to allow for better participation of Catholics within Northern Ireland. This would split the party, and over time, those who opposed O'Neill and his pro-reform successors such as Brian Faulkner, and David Trimble. Trimble would be elected leader in 1995, following a long period of minimalist UUP policies for fear of dividing the party.

Trimble originally appeared as a hardliner, would would quickly become the first UUP leader in decades to meet with the Irish Prime Minister, and the first Unionist leader to negotiate with Sinn Fein. Trimble made the UUP what it effectively is today, a Unionist party willing to negotiate. Despite attempts to join forces with the PUP, and the Conservatives, the UUP remains an independent political party.

After a sharp decline which included a period where the UUP had no Members of Parliament in Westminster, the UUP perhaps has the most to gain from the DUP's scandals. The UUP and DUP are the main combatants over protestant voters, despite the fact that UUP membership leans more towards Anglicans.

In 2016, the UUP Took 26.5% of the Unionist vote.

Traditional Unionist Party

The TUV was founded by Jim Allister, a former member of the DUP. In 2007 when the DUP agreed to sit in Stormont in government with Sinn Fein, Allister, at the time a member of the European Parliament, quit the party.

the TUV is opposed to the current executive, and wants a return to majority rule, where a party only needs to cobble together a coalition of 50%+1 of all seats in the assembly to govern, regardless to weather all those seats be Unionist or Nationalist. The TUV calls for a barrier of 60% of the entire assembly to approve of a new government, with that dropping to 50% over time.

the TUV is avowedly right-wing, especially on social issues. It's 2016 platform explicitly spelled out it's opposition to same sex marriage, and abortion.

The TUV managed 7.2% of the Unionist vote in 2016.

United Kingdom Independence Party

UKIP was founded in Britain by Brits. The party has only recently taken an interest in Northern Ireland. In 2014, UKIP took 4% of the vote in European elections in NI.

The party's first local success happened in 2011, when Henry Reilly, who defected from the UUP, joined UKIP. Reilly was a local councillor from Newry and the Mournes. In 2011 he was re-elected for his DEA, topping the ballot with 27.7% of the vote. The largest success was when David McNarry defected from the UUP giving the party it's first MLA. McNarry did not run for re-election in 2016, however, and UKIP failed to take any seats.

In 2014, Reilly was re-elected to the new and larger Newry, Mourne and Down council from The Mournes, again topping the poll. Reilly was then unexpectedly suspended from UKIP without explanation. He joined the TUV until November of 2016, when he joined an unnamed charity, and amicably parted with the TUV.

In the most recent assembly election UKIP has taken 3.1% of the Unionist vote.

Progressive Unionist Party

Associated with a loyalist paramilitary, the PUP was officially founded in 1979, the party was focused around Hugh Smyth. Smyth was first elected to Belfast city council in 1973 representing the Shankill area. In 1975, Smyth managed election to the advisory assembly at Stormont, which quickly collapsed. Smyth would continue to be re-elected for the Belfast council, but victories for other PUP members would be few and far between.

The party's success came after the 1994 cease fire. Smyth would serve a year as Lord Mayor of Belfast; a post with mayoral powers that is rotated between parties once every calendar year. In 1997, the PUP would reach 9.2% in the local Belfast election, and elect 3 members to council. The party also held sets in the assembly until the 2011 election.

Smyth would resign as leader in 2002 to make way for a younger generation. The current leader is Billy Hutchinson. Hutchinson considers himself an atheist and has declared support for socialism. It is important to note the PUP is a left-wing party, something unique among Unionist parties. All 3 parties that cater to Nationalist voters are openly left-wing, while the 4 Unionist parties listed above are openly right-wing. The PUP is the only exception to that general rule, being a left-wing but unionist party.

Currently, the party holds 0 assembly seats, but has 3 seats on the Belfast city council, and one in the Causeway Coast and Glens.

In 2016 the party took 1.8% of the Unionist vote.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Quick update on Northern Ireland

I have an election projection

I've left the rough numbers up, written by hand.

According to this projection, the DUP would take 23 seats, while SF would take 22.

The UUP would take 18, the SDLP 13, and the Alliance 8.

PBP would keep their 2, and the Greens would take 2. TUV would keep their 1, as would Claire Sugden, the Independent.

This is based on the latest poll in NI - keep in mind polls are very rare in NI and it's likely this will be the only poll of the election.

What's important to note here is that the DUP and SF, in this projection, would have only half the seats. In short, the two parties are at risk of falling below a majority. It's possible that the current government; DUP+SF+Sugden, could fall below the halfway point, effectively meaning they will require support from other MLAs, and, in short, meaning the government has lost the election and a new one must be formed.

Almost all of this is due to the drop in the DUP.

The Good Friday Agreement spells out the way a "cross community" vote works.
Section 5 D if you are interested.

There are two ways to reach the cross community bar. The first is a simple majority of nationalists as well as a simple majority of unionists, the second is 60% of the entire assembly, plus at least 40% of nationalists and at least 40% of unionists.

The UUP would have 40% of unionist members.
However, appointing a First Minister would still go to the DUP according to legislation
One "good" thing about NI being under 'direct rule' is that should the other 4 parties agree to change this section, the government in Westminster can do it for them. (This act, is, after all, an act passed by Westminster)

In short, this both has the potential for chaos, and for a long-term solution that is more stable than the current agreements would allow for.

Quick UK projection

I've been tinkering with this map that Kyle of Blunt Objects sent me, and I've applied a projection of sorts to it.

This map shows the 600 new constituencies that are supposed to be used in the 2018 election.

To this map I've applied my a projection of the next election with a few caveats.

First, The balance between Labour and Conservative is a straight up projection. In short, I've used real polls and math here with my own adjustment for how I feel the results will play out (I've adjusted Labour way up in London and way down elsewhere)
However, I've also boosted the strength of all the smaller parties. Liberal-Democrat, UKIP, Green, even the Ulster Unionists, all see a boost in vote compared to current polling. While the Tories retain a majority, this is designed to show you what areas are susceptible to victories by these smaller parties, and not indicative of certain wins by UKIP et al.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Quick update on Germany

I wanted to get something out of the way before a more lengthy discussion about Germany.

Looking at every poll taken in Germany since the last election (at least, those listed on Wikipedia)

There are a grand total of 4 (four) polls during this time (out of 741) where the combined CDU+SPD vote was below 50%
In each case, the CDU vote was 30%, and SPD vote 19%, and all were from the same polling company, and over the same 4 week period in May and June of 2016.
In each case, the combined total was 49%.

Keep in mind the use of thresholds, and that even without thresholds, 49% of the vote will almost certainly mean 51% of the seats, as many parties will simply fail to win enough votes to qualify, threshold or not. The main opposition parties (the ones that would win seats) did not top a combined 45% during this period.

In short, the existing Grand Coalition has consistently shown it can be re-elected.

Meanwhile, a SPD-Left-Green coalition only has reached 47% 4 times, meaning it's unlikely they can win a combined majority (at least, so this point)

A CDU-FDP coalition has reached 48% a half dozen times, and 47% many more times; but all of these instances are prior to the start of 2016.

The only two other coalitions that, from time to time, can regularly take a majority, are a massive 4 party coalition of the SPD-Left-Green-FDP, and the very unlikely right-wing coalition of the CDU and AfD.

Remember too that in the existing chamber, the left already has a majority; but coalition negotiations failed.

Consider also, the German states.

In places where the SPD could have formed a Left coalition VS a Grand coalition (with the CDU), the SPD often chooses the CDU. Brandenburg, or Mecklenburg for example, or the various states where the Left failed to win enough seats to qualify and the SPD sat with the Greens.

Berlin and Thuringia serve as potential templates for an anti-CDU coalition.