Sunday, December 22, 2019

Left VS Right in Canada

So, I found this file that I apparently made in 2013.

I disagree with some of it today, but only slightly. As such, I've made an updated version.

I am still open to more thought on the graphic; and I wouldn't call it final, but it does represent, at its core, how I understand and view the movements within the electorate and the parties in terms of left vs right wing policy. A note; that within the "Electorate" I count some non-voters; those who would probably usually vote, but are not voting this election for whatever reason. These voters are one of the reasons why a party that governs away from the centre can win elections.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

impeachment, partisanship, and the US election

I wanted to make a quick note on US politics.

I am old enough to remember the Impeachment vote against Bill Clinton. I am old enough to remember how this was the watershed in turning US politics toxic. I remember how the vote was extremely partisan, all the Republicans thought he was guilty, while all the Democrats thought he was not.

In the end, it didn't matter if he was guilty or not. What mattered was starting a process that the instigating party knew they would lose served only to make US politics toxic.

Now we have another Impeachment, against another President.

I want to make clear, and using super blunt language so everyone fully understands:

"just because the good guys are doing it to the bad guys does not make it right"

It does not matter if he is guilty or not. What matters is a process was started by the instigating party that everyone knows they will lose. The only thing to gain from this is making US politics toxic.

I have 0 desire to discuss it. I have 0 desire to talk about it. I have 0 desire to think about it.

Quite simply, I'm washing my hands of US politics as a whole.

I may post updates about the presidential election from time to time, but I will not be posting them nearly as regularly as I did 4 years ago.

US politics is broken, sick, and infectious. I have no desire to be infected with its toxicity.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

delay, and twitter

The next post, on the UK election, will be delayed slightly. I'd also like to remind and ask everyone to follow me on twitter

I post my thoughts there often, and many times a reason a blogpost can't be expanded is simply that I've felt that I've said everything as well as I already could on Twitter.

Friday, December 13, 2019


There are a few updates in the countries I've been passively following.


There has been a slow change in Italy that only began to really show itself in late November. It's been long enough, however, that I can pin down the movement as real and significant.

FdI, the Brothers of Italy party, a National Conservative party, is up in the polls. M5S, the centre-progressive Populist party, is down.

Now this is where I need to do some assumptions based on what I know because Italian polls do not tend to break down results by region. I am going to assume the FdI growth is in the south. Why? Lega, also known as Lega Nord, is a Northern party at its core. FdI is an ally of Lega. M5S meanwhile always had its heaviest support in the south of Italy. Ergo, it makes sense to assume that if M5S is dropping while FdI is increasing, that it is southern voters who want to vote for an ally of Lega.

Also to keep in mind is Renzi, the former PM, broke away from PD to start Viva Italia (IV) as a new party. With that in mind, polls suggest the following:

18.8% - PD (Social Democrat)
16.3% - M5S (Progressive Populist)
4.3% - VI (Progressive)
39.4% - Combined Left

32.6% - Lega (Neo Nationalist)
10.2% - FdI (National Conservative)
6.7% - FI (Conservative, Berlusconi)
49.5% - Combined Right

Note that there are smaller parties that also bolster the total of both the combined right and combined left, but they do not change the main story of a lead among the right.


On September 17th of 2019, Israel went to the polls. On the 25th of that month, the Parliament's member parties voted, narrowly, to recommend The incumbent Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, also known as Bibi, be given the first attempt to form a government. As such he was given 28 days in which to do so. He failed.

As a result, Benny Gantz, who lost the September 25th vote by a single ballot, was given a chance to form a government. He had 28 days, and also failed.

Finally, any sitting member of the Parliament who could get 61 signatures (a majority) had the chance to form a government for a period of 21 days. They failed. As a result, Israel is headed back to the polls on March 2nd, 2020.

Polls suggest fairly minor changes. Blue and White, Gantz's party, is up by between 2 and 4 seats, while Likud, Bibi's party, is down by a seat. Other parties are generally within one or two seats of their performance in 2019. I'll explain this with more nuance as we get closer to the actual election date, but right now it looks good for Gantz, but only marginally so. Bibi's recent charge of corruption might have something to do with it.

Lastly, I wanted to present the UK map I posted earlier, except, with more and updated data. I have a surprise post planned for tomorrow about the UK election as well.

Huge Johnson Majority

The images mostly speak for themselves. Thoughts on what happened will come later; before that I want to update everyone on what's been going on in places like Italy, where we've actually seen movement. Later today or Tomorrow expect a general update post, while thoughts on the UK result will come over the weekend. The short:

Two national parties offered a solid answer to Brexit, the Liberal Democrats who said no, and the Tories who said yes. One of them has won, this solves the deadlock in Parliament. A trade agreement still needs to be negotiated, but no longer is the UK in constitutional jail. I will expand on this in my later post. Jo Swinson, meanwhile, lost her seat and is thus already no longer the LibDem Leader. Northern Ireland now has more Nationalist MPs than Unionist MPs. Wales has over a dozen Tory MPs. And Scotland has gone heavily SNP.

Lastly, for anyone wondering, results in St. Ives are held up by weather. Unlike most other countries we cover, in the UK, all ballot boxes must be in the same location before any of them are opened, and a box from a small island in the seat can not be flown out due to storm conditions. Results could be out by the time I wake up, or, may not come until Monday.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Updated final projection

After reviewing the UK's election laws, it seems everyone is free up to 7am on election day, and not midnight like in Canada. As such I've been able to update what I thought was my final projection slightly:

Battleground seats have dots in them to indicate said battleground.

Final UK prediction - Tory Majority

The final prediction is ready:

I've used the same "gut method" I used in Canada.

The long-story-short here is the the Tories win a majority. The "why" is simple; the Brexit Party fell apart. People look at Labour and the Tories and compare their current polling numbers to their polling numbers earlier in the election. In that context, it is hard to see what has actually happened. Compare, instead, to their results from the previous election. You can see that Labour is down while the Tories are much more steady. This will give them a very slight edge, especially in those "Labour Leave" seats. The Liberal Democrats meanwhile have not been able to grow as strongly as they'd have hoped. While they are significantly up from the last election, it is not enough to take away many "Tory Remain" seats, which would have needed to have happened if the LibDems were to have stopped Johnson from getting his majority.

There is always the chance something unexpected could happen. I'm writing this a few minutes before 8:30pm in the UK on the 11th, there could be polls that come out over the next few hours that show results I did not expect, and thus, cast doubt on the entire prediction. Additionally, people could simply make up their minds in the final day, and cast ballots that do not match the polls. People may decide that Johnson is not worth the risk, or, that they simply want to get brexit done and they they can vote for a better party next time.

Regardless, I'll be keeping a close eye on the results as they come in and discussing them in my discord server. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in participating in, let me know on twitter!

Friday, December 6, 2019

General update

UK: my current thoughts are as follows:

Elsewhere: There simply is not much going on.

Canada:  Here in Canada we elected a new Speaker of the House, Anthony Rota. I think this may be the first time a returning speaker has lost re-election. Then again, elections only started a handful of speakers ago. Fraser didn't run again for a commons seat in 1993. Parent, who won that speaker election, didn't run again for a commons seat in 2000. Milliken, who won that speaker election, didn't run again for a commons seat in 2011. Scheer, who won that speaker election, did run, and win, his seat, but did not re-offer as speaker. Geoff Regan was then elected speaker. In this most recent election, he won re-election to his seat, and, re-offered as speaker, but was defeated by Rota. I will do more research on speakers in other similar systems to see if any precedent was set.

Japan: The two halves of the Democratic party, which split years ago, are now sitting together as a unified opposition caucus. The two parties, however, remain independent, and distinct.

Spain: PSOE and UP will sit in coalition, but such a coalition needs support from smaller, regional parties. Voting on that in the new Parliament has yet to complete.

Ireland: Recent by-elections have had interesting results; but I doubt said results as being important, and so am ignoring them for the time being. Recent polls, however, suggest I may be wrong, and if we get as few as one more poll suggesting such, I will revisit my stance, and make an update post.

Slovakia: There have been quite a few changes, but to fully grasp them, I need to do a deep dive, and simply have not found the time to do so yet. When I do, I will update.

Israel, Austria, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Russia: no significant updates since my last post.

Other countries: I'm not following any other countries very close at the moment, the next elections that catch my attention are in Taiwan in January.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Tactical Voting vs Strategic Voting and Labour’s rise

In Canada we have a phenomenon known as “Strategic voting”, in which a voter will cast a ballot for a party they do not necessarily like in order to stop a party they dislike from winning. The UK has the same phenomenon, where it is known as “Tactical voting”

I’d like to present the argument that both phrases are wrong. In the context they are used, both fail to grasp the full spectrum of activities that such voters participate in. I argue that both phrases should be used to describe the two major aspects of such activity.

Take the case of the most recent Canadian election. Many NDP voters voted Liberal to stop the Tories from winning. This ended up costing the NDP some seats that they could have otherwise won, seats that, in some cases, went to the Conservatives.

This is strategic voting. It is national-level voting based on topline poll numbers where one entire party is facing off against another entire party.

At the same time, we’ve seen clear historical cases where voters are far more precise in using their ballots to achieve such ends. Joe Clark’s win in Calgary Centre comes to mind. Voters banded together to defeat the Canadian Alliance candidate, and voted for Joe Clark in order to do this. They did not, however, band together to vote PC across the country to defeat CA candidates. This applied to one candidate in one riding. This vote was tactical.

The UK tends to see more tactical voting than Canada does, in part, because one party in particular, the Liberal Democrats, plays up the value of tactical voting. Infamous are the LibDem ads declaring that “only the Liberal Democrats can defeat X” even when the math does not support such claims.

So, why am I bringing this up in relation to Labour and the current election? It is my belief that the current boost Labour is getting from the LibDems (of about a raw 2%-3% of the total national vote) is a strategic vote. This comes from voters who do not want the Tories to win the election, and, regardless of local factors, are switching their support to Labour to prevent this from happening.

This could cost the LibDems seats. That being said, the party is still polling ahead of their result last time, 11% at the lowest vs 8% in 2017, and thus are very likely to gain seats. The cost, instead, will be that their seat gains will not be as broad as they’d otherwise expected.

We are seeing strategic voting for Labour and the question remains if more and more voters will decide to opt to vote the same way. If so, such momentum could cause “Leave-Labour” voters who are currently backing the Tories to switch back to Labour. There, however, may not be enough time for this to play out prior to the election next Thursday.