Friday, May 8, 2015

The People Have Spoken

The UK General Election turned out more entertaining - or a least more surprising - than I had expected. One good thing about the UK's First Past The Post electoral system is that it often results in significant changes in the composition of parliament after each election. Hence the entertainment.

The bad thing is that it gives the majority of people a Government they didn't vote for. Take this analysis from the BBC:


UKIP got as many votes (3.9 million) as the SNP, Lib Dems and DUP combined: the latter got a combined 72 seats, UKIP got 1.  The Tories got 37% of the vote but will now form a 'majority' government.

My own trade - opinion pollsters - were the other big losers in the UK Election. Lots of soul-searching to follow I suspect. Maybe it is that - as Chris Dillow observes quoting Scott Sumner - there's no such thing as 'public opinion'. Just lots of private opinions that don't lend themselves to neat generalisations that are public.  Or maybe it was a commentariat too busy projecting its own world view onto the data to see what was really happening. Shy Tories and all that.

Ireland has its own Shy Tories of course - they used to vote Fianna Fáil - but they haven't gone away you know. Unlike Michelle Gildernew's vote in my dear old Fermanagh & South Tyrone...


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