Monthly Archives: May 2014

Sort orders and Strasbourg

I thought I’d share some more thoughts on the European Pariament Election results. The article looks at some sort order silliness on the London ballot paper and then looks at the success or otherwise of the European People’s Party and the gains and losses in the European Parliament by euro-party. In London, the Liberal Democrats came 5th, failing to win a seat, but next after them was a party called 4Freedoms. This was the first on the ballot paper. It was in fact the slate of the European People’s Party, a role once held by the Tories but Cameron had the Tories walk out of the EPP, thus denying them the opportunity to win votes in the UK and denying them another 20 seats on top of their No. 1 spot; they won 214 seats. This may become important as the European Parliament votes and elects its leadership. The reason for putting themselves on the ballot paper is twofold, one, some expatriate Europeans may prefer to vote for a Christian Democrat slate rather than the Tories and it gave their lead candidate, Jean Claude Juncker the opportunity to collect votes, if not seats.

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And the results are in

Due to the delay in the count at Tower Hamlets, I didn’t get the London results for the European Parliament until the following morning. Labour have four out of eight seats in London. In 2012, after the London Mayoral’s I had hoped that Labour would get four seats, but had come to assume this was beyond us. Obviously not, Labour’s 36% gave it four seats, the Tories two and one each for UKIP and the Greens. The LibDems losing their one seat. Labour won the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th seats.

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It’s looking good in London

So while we now have some solid data about how people will vote in the European elections i.e. how they voted in their locals, amassing this data into regions is a lot of work. Even the London Councils site is only reporting seats which is not helpful for predicting a proportional counting system. A number of sources have commented that London has rejected UKIP and that my last predictions were based on them getting 21% of the London vote. Both the elections and newspapers poll reporting suggests that the UKIP vote will be lower than that. The papers are also underplaying the size of the Labour council victory. I think London is going to be better than I predicted.

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Painting the town (Lewisham) Red

I made a storify of the last few days, “Election Day in Deptford”. Lewisham Council is now all Labour with one Green councillor, the Mayor is also Labour. To quote spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. It’s a trend across London; augers well for Sunday.

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Is a DDOS attack the twenty first century equivalent of a picket line?

On Tuesday, the Labour Party’s preferred web hosting site, nationbuilder suffered a DDOS attack. It seems UKIP was the target and while Nationbulder state that a botnet was used, other’s accuse a ‘lone nut’.  Obviously a sign of things to come, but it’s the second thing I’d think of in designing infrastructure for a political party. The first would be defence against a graffiti attack. These plans are often left till later as everyone concerned concentrates on functional requirements, Having said all this, I hope that my hosting provider is good enough.

 

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Voting by Mobile Phone

firefoxphone

Polly Toynbee in the Guardian today bemoans the low turn out and the perceived ‘rotten borough’ nature of Britain’s parliamentary democracy. Among her arguments she suggests voting should be made easier by allowing people to use their mobile phones.

I have commented; because identifying oneself to government, counting elections and guaranteeing the secrecy of the ballot are the last things we should hand over to proprietary, closed software. Digital activists have come to the conclusion that even counting election results by scanned paper ballots is undesirable and where it is done in this country, a sample based manual verification is undertaken. I presented the argument that the regulator’s code must be open to the @labourdigital Top of the Manifestos event.

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Vote Labour in Deptford

There are three elections, local council, Lewisham Mayor and the European Parliament.

Lewisham has an executive Mayoral system. Steve Bullock is standing for re-election and the Labour Manifesto is hosted here…

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learnings from #labourdoorstep

While out in New Cross on the #labourdoorstep, I had four interesting encounters.

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Who’ll win in the London Euro poll?

The LibDems are going to struggle. Will Labour get three MEPs? Will Jean Lambert, the Green keep her seat?

After the ORG hustings, I had a brief word with Claude Moraes about the likely results, whether Labour would win more seats and if Sarah Ludford, the sole London LibDem MEP would hold on. The following day, the Evening standard published an article quoting a YouGov poll, putting Labour well in the front in London. The Standard’s article sadly doesn’t quote its YouGov source, which may have been private and it does not mention the Greens. The most recent YouGov report I can find is dated early May, and is here. In addition the counting method is complex. I have  sought to see what the results in London might be based on what data I have.

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What do London’s MEP candidates think about digital?

ec-london

Yesterday the Open Rights Group held its final European Parliament hustings at Shoreditch Village Hall in Hoxton, London. It’s been a while since I visited and it’s certainly cleaned up well. It was great to be there. On the way in, I met Claude Moraes, Labour’s spokesman who told me that the Tories non-attendance was deliberate policy. I don’t know if it’s shame at their behaviour on the lobbying around the data protection directive or fear of a digitally educated audience. The meeting was moderated by Glyn Moody, who led the meeting through the issues of privacy, surveillance, whistle blowing, net neutrality, lobbying and copyright reform. The Tories absence meant that representatives from Labour, the LibDems, both represented by incumbents Claude Moraes and Sarah Ludford,the Greens (Danny Bates) and UKIP (Paul Oakley) who were not, were present.

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I.T. & e-referenda

One of the proposals at the Top of the Manifestos event was loads of e-referenda. (That’s an interesting sentence, the plurals of manifesto and referendum are both unusual.) So apart from the IT security issues, one has to ask, where’s the debate and where’s the evaluation of evidence. Obviously the debate would once have happened in a broadcast world where the cost of a seat at the table was immense and thus the voices of the wealthy are amplified; and this applies to the newspapers as well as the 24 hour news channels such as Sky. The relevance of the print is diminishing, but the TV not so much. Social media platforms are developing new collaboration and voting mechanisms, often specifically to solve issues of governance. But it’s not yet ready. There is little argument that blogging software has empowered many people to express their views which has in some, but not all cases, drawn them into the policy development and analysis.

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Pragmatic Radicalism’s Top of the Policies on the Digital Revolution

red circuit board

As promised I popped over Pragmatic Radicalism’s the Top of the Manifestos event run by @LabourDigital. I proposed that “the regulator’s code must be open” and this can be seen at their updated event page. I presented a pitch entitled, “The regulators code must be open” but sixty seconds isn’t long. It didn’t win, or even make the final cut!

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It’s austerity, stupid!

Earlier this week, Pascale Lamb, one of Labour’s MEP candidates tweeted, “It’s not immigration that causes pressure on services…..it’s austerity”, and in under 100 characters sums up what should be at the heart of Labour’s campaigns this spring and isn’t. The right wing led Commission of the European Union is the world’s ideological engine of austerity and in this country austerity economics has been adopted by the Tory led coalition as a macro-economic policy enabling the assault on standards of living and the welfare state. There are alternatives. Labour should be offering hope of a better (economic) life, not to mention a decent tolerant society. It should also be making something of the fact that it has a candidate for President of the Commission. It’s austerity which is killing jobs, and it’s the result of policy.

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