Where is the finish line in first past the post?

It will come as little surprise to long-time readers of this blog that I will be voting yes in the alternative vote referendum on Thursday. But now that the focus of this blog is less on politics, I haven’t actually written much about it. With just a few days to go, until polling day, I […]

Professor Eric Maskin lecture in St Andrews

There was great excitement at work yesterday when I updated the University of St Andrews homepage to advertise some exciting news related to economics, which was my chosen subject in a previous guise. A public lecture is being given by Professor Eric Maskin on the subject of how Members of Parliament should be elected. Very […]

My views on the Liberal Democrats in government

I was asked a question in the comments to the previous post by an “anonymous fan“. (A fan? Wowser.) What do you make of the Lib Dems being in government and to what extent do you still support them? I thought the question would be of wider interest, so I have decided to respond in […]

Tentative thumbs-up for the Conservative—Lib Dem coalition

A few days ago I wrote optimistically about the prospect of a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Now that we have a coalition for real, I feel even more cheered. Part of my argument in my earlier post was that there needs to be cultural change in politics. When I listened to […]

Why a Conservative—Lib Dem coalition may not be a bad thing

No doubt, election night was a very disappointing one for me. I was involved in the Liberal Democrat campaign in Dunfermline, and I attended the count. There was disappointment in Dunfermline — but we always expected it to be very difficult to hang on there. So while it was very disappointing to lose in Dunfermline, […]

Where is our referendum on face-slapping?

Last week the SNP set out its legislative plan. The headline grabber was the long-promised independence referendum bill. Today I saw Caron’s post asking, “why bother with a referendum?” She has a good point. It is widely recognised that the result of any referendum would almost certainly reject the SNP’s favoured proposals. “Ah, but!”, say […]

General election night: the distasteful sport of politics

I see there has been a frisson of activity over the suggestion that some councils are looking to hold their counts on a Friday rather than the traditional Thursday night / Friday morning when the General Election comes round. The Sunday Times has reported that the BBC believes that up to a quarter of councils […]

Patrick Hannan — A Useful Fiction

Have you noticed that there is a lot of introspection about devolution just now? I suppose it underlines the fact that devolution is a process rather than a settlement that everyone is still looking at how to tweak it. Maybe it is just the newness of it. The Scottish Parliament is very young as these […]

Aftermath of the European Parliamentary election

The Europe-wide picture The consensus seems to be that, Europe-wide, it was a good election for the centre-right. It certainly seems as though the governing centre-left parties have taken a bit of a battering, while voters seem content with centre-right governments. Those of a socialist persuasion may well feel disgruntled. In the midst of an […]

How the new politics might look: part 2

Continued from yesterday’s article. The Guardian’s New Politics supplement (PDF link) is the basis for this article. MPs’ pay I am not averse to MPs being paid a good salary, but I think the current balance is too high. Aditya Chakrabortty says that MPs’ salaries puts them in the top 5% of single earners. Meanwhile, […]