Predictions for 2018

By making this post, I’m falsifying a prediction I made on Twitter that I’d continue to say ‘I should/will do a blog post about that’ and never get round to doing it, so take the rest of my predictions in that spirit.

1) There won’t be a General Election or referendum in the UK this year during 2018, but we’ll likely be in the run-up to one by the time New Year’s Day 2019 comes around.
2) All the main party leaders will be the same this time next year. May will be about to face a challenge, Corbyn will face be secure, and Cable will be facing the sort of whispering campaign to get rid of him that he participated in against other leaders.
3) Corbyn and McDonnell will have a falling out that leads to McDonnell being sacked/demoted and a new Shadow Chancellor being appointed. Someone will non-ironically say that McDonnell had to go because he was too centrist.
4) Several new ‘centrist’ parties will be established. None of them will have any lasting impact a week after they’re formed/announced.
5) There’ll be a lot of short-term happenings in British politics that seem very important at the time, but will be barely remembered at the end of the year. Indeed, at the end of the year, things will look relatively similar to how they are now, with lots of looming problems still consigned to the ‘too difficult’ pile.
6) Trump will still be in office at the end of the year, but not in power. Either officially via the 25th Amendment or unofficially via Kelly and Mattis exerting more control over the White House, Trump will become more of a figurehead for his administration rather than actually leading it.
7) Spain and Catalonia will agree a formula for the latter to have a recognised independence referendum.
8) Shortly before the new series of Doctor Who starts, some of the most egregious arseholes on the internet will come together to stage a series of increasingly weird protests about a woman playing the Doctor. It’ll be near impossible to talk about the series online without them jumping onto any conversation with a series of inexplicable hashtags, but this won’t stop the new series getting the sort of mainstream critical attention and public awareness it hasn’t had for a decade.
9) But Star Trek: Discovery will have the ‘oh my word, did you see that?’ shock of the year (and that’s pure speculation, not a spoiler)
10) France will win the World Cup. Lots of people will get over-excited about England’s chances after a couple of decent performances take them to the quarter-finals.
11) Wolves will win the Championship (I’m aware that’s as much a statement of fact as it is a prediction, but I still like to say it) and all three promoted sides will be from the same area as one of the relegated Premier League teams (Wolves for West Brom, Cardiff for Swansea and Bristol for Bournemouth).
12) The Winter Olympics will be overshadowed by lots of sabre-rattling between Trump and Kim Jong-Un. Several countries will recall their athletes during the Games because of threats from North Korea.
13) Blog posting here will continue to be sporadic, coupled with several times when the site stops working for no readily apparent reason.

2017 General Election: The things I got wrong

I think it’s important, both as an academic and a politician, to look back at things and see where you went wrong in the hope you won’t make the same mistakes the next time around. It’s important to get rid of all those errors so you can make a whole set of brand new ones the next time around, rather than just repeating the same ones again and again. I’m lucky in that my chosen field within political science is parties and party systems which is related to and uses data from political behaviour and elections, but is much more about analysing things after the fact rather than trying to test theories by making predictions.

That’s why I wasn’t building a complex model to predict the election and didn’t really jump into making anything more than the vaguest predictions. However, that didn’t stop me being wrong about YouGov’s prediction which, along with the broadcasters’ exit poll, appears to have been the most accurate of all the models. I dismissed it because it didn’t match up with my expectations and perceptions, so I did the natural thing (as did so many other people) of sucking in through my teeth and muttering ‘dodgy methodology’ and ‘looking for headlines’, without thinking about why they might have come up with something that challenged my perceptions.

One importnt thing to learn is that big data crunching like this has a better perspective than you. From the bits of Colchester I’d seen and spoken to, I didn’t feel that Labour were in second place here, but until yesterday I’d never seen people queuing to vote in my local polling station either which was a clear sign of something unexpected going on. It does raise an issue I think we often elide in our discussions of voter behaviour where we assume that ‘the voters’ and ‘the non-voters’ are the same people at each election, and often neglect to consider movement between the two groups. We also – and this is something common to politicians and academics – forget that people don’t exist solely in terms of our labels. Just because we have someone down as a Tory, Labour or Lib Dem voter doesn’t mean that they consider themselves that in the same way and in some conditions – especially when the links between parties and voters are weak – they’re not going to behave in the way we expect.

I also missed the relative popularity of Jeremy Corbyn, though in my defence his election did seem to be following the same pattern as Miliband’s two years ago: the crazed revolutionary depicted in the right-wing media turning out to not be much like that when the public saw them, getting more confident as the election went on, but then a final onslaught of negative press burying them. Except this time Corbyn managed to keep that momentum up, and even if he didn’t shake it off to the extent that Blair did, he did achieve it better than Miliband.

I’ve only had a couple of hours sleep in the last thirty-six, so those are the errors that come to mind right now, but do feel free to go through my election posts in painstaking detail and point out anything else I got wrong in the comments. I’m still mulling over the questions of where we are and what comes next, but things aren’t unfolding with the same sense of post-election urgency that they did in 2010 and 2015 – possibly because everyone’s still shell-shocked from a bizarre night – so writing about that can wait until tomorrow when my brain’s capable of thinking in a bit more depth.

Tempted to call that next post Day 1 of the 2017 General Election v2, but I’ll probably resist that temptation when I’m better rested.

2017 General Election Diary Day 49: Too far gone to turn around

What we could have seen on election day, December 2010.
Seven weeks since this all started, and now just a couple of days to go. I’m pretty sure it was a nice day back in April when all this began, warm and full of sunshine. Now, the weather seems to be reflecting the mood of the country after nearly two months of election related nonsense. Everything’s very grey and it feels like there’s a quest to wash us all away or at least cleanse of us of our misdemeanours. Or maybe it’s just a weather system brought on by the collective wish of the population to have a day without any leaflets being delivered, and this is the easiest way to bring that about? I’m just remembering the absolute drenching I got on the referendum day last year, and hoping that doesn’t happen again, though it’s worth noting that after 2010 returned a hung Parliament, some in the Civil Service were apparently expecting another election later than year, and pencilled in an expected date. On that date in December, much of the country was under a heavy covering of snow, which would have made things very interesting…

We’re in the stage of the election when parties are starting to shift into ‘getting out the vote’ mode, which isn’t something that just happens on election day itself. Hard as it is for us politics obsessives to believe, a lot of people need to be reminded that the election is happening on Thursday and that they have to go and vote then. That’s why you start seeing a lot of leaflets now that stress that, and we’ve also recently seen the ‘make a plan to vote’ message appear in a lot more political literature as studies have shown that if people do that beforehand, they’re more likely to remember on the day itself.

Some people’s thoughts are turning to what happens after the election and that also includes Jeremy Corbyn telling us of his plan for his first day in Number 10. Frankly, I find it all rather unbelivable in that he doesn’t appear to have included at least an hour for just wandering around the place and saying ‘holy shit, how did I manage this?’ with additional time for any conversations with new Cabinet members saying the same thing. (it’s important to use expletives at key moments of history).

And a reminder for those of you waiting until the polls settle before making your predictions: they’re not going to settle, so you might as well just try your best guess in my election prediction contest now. And while Corbyn is wandering around swearing for one reason or another, I’ll be poring over the new political maps to work out just who the winner of that contest is, and if it’s possible to visit all the tripoints during the next Parliament. If you want something to shape your prediction on, then the Britain Elects Nowcast might be handy as it’s an actual map of the country so you can see what borders with where. However, as with almost all election maps and predictions, it doesn’t attempt to give any details for Northern Ireland.

The election in Northern Ireland has been one of the hidden parts of this general election, getting at best only occasional and cursory coverage from anyone dealing with the election, and with all debates there squeezed into the same framework that applies to the rest of the UK. The potential of parties to win seats is more often depicted in terms of what that might mean to any potential coalition or minority government deal-making than it does to the political future of Northern Ireland. It’s entirely possible that there might be a third election there this year if no deal on the new Assembly is possible given the current numbers. I’m just as guilty as anyone of not paying enough attention to what’s going on there, but the results there on Thursday will matter as more than just some slightly different colours appearing on the screen but as seeing what the political makeup of the only part of Britain with an EU land border will be.

And so for Election Leaflet Of The Day we shall have what I think is the first leaflet from Northern Ireland of this campaign which helps to give an idea of the different political language and issues that dominate elections there. It’s from Gemma Weir, Workers Party candidate for North Belfast, and if you want to comprehend the different nature of politics there, ask yourself how you would explain the slogan ‘no sectarian headcounts’ to someone from the rest of the UK. Then when you’ve explained that, try and explain how the Workers’ Party evolved from Sinn Fein and the difference between ‘Official’ and ‘Provisional’. Then apologise when they tell you they just wanted directions to the train station, not a discussion on Irish politics.

Fifty-three hours to the exit poll and the big decisions are yet to be made – BBC or ITV for election night coverage?

2017 General Election Diary Day 43: And now it gets interesting

You know when you’re trying to think of a way to describe how things are going in the election as things turn a little weird and then someone hits the perfect metaphor? That:

I know I promised back at the start of this diary, all those weeks ago, that I wouldn’t spend it following 2015 into the dark corners of polling obsessions but YouGov threw out a little hand grenade of a projection last night, suggesting that things might be about to get weird on us. Rather than putting the Tory majority in the ‘how far back do we have to go to find a comparison?’ range, it instead suggested they might lose seats (and their majority) while Labour would gain to put us firmly in hung Parliament territory. The interesting thing about this was that it wasn’t based on applying a uniform national swing across constituencies but instead looking at how different demographics have said they would vote and then working that out constituency by constituency. It’s a controversial method, that didn’t come up with the right projection for the US Presidential election in the elecoral college last year, but it would be something that produced contrary results to other pollsters if this is a realigning election where there’s mass movement of voters between parties. If that happens, then it will make election night very interesting as results won’t be easily predictable by extrapolating from the first few.

It also offers up the joyous prospect of the Tories gaining votes while losing seats. If any of them were to then complain about this as being an injustice and the voters not being properly represented, I may well die laughing.

Of course, this is the point in election campaigns where people can get over-excited and all sorts of wild speculation can break out. It’s where people spend time debating whether the Edstone will need planning permission to be erected in the Number 10 garden, where we wonder which Liberal Democrat candidates might be able to be appointed straight to ministerial office in the Clegg government or any other number of scenarios that seem likely in the heated air of an election campaign, then afterwards are forgotten about as everyone remembers that the result was the one they predicted and expected all along. It’s a national outbreak of candidatitis, sweeping out from party activists to infect the whole country, then disappearing some time around 10pm next Thursday.

And if a wild projection wasn’t enough to excite you, the country – or that bit of it that obsesses over politics on social media, at least – has got debate fever. Yes, tonight is the BBC election debate, which has been suddenly made an event of interest by Jeremy Corbyn today announcing that he would appear in it having previously said he wouldn’t. This means the Conservatives will now be the only party there without a leader representing them as Amber Rudd will be standing in for Theresa May while the Prime Minister goes off to speak to a small rally of Tory activists in a carefully sanitised warehouse somewhere off the M4. Sorry, I meant campaign and ‘meet the people’ because luckily, she’s not campaigning for a job that occasionally requires you to meet in public and debate with other people.

It’s a clever move by Corbyn, as he does have the momentum in the head to head battle and unless he breaks down and declares ‘all power to the Soviets!’ in the middle of the debate (not that quoting Lenin is necessarily harmful nowadays) he can continue to disarm the Tory strategy against him. They’ve been painting him as a crazed Marxist revolutionary wanting to bring down the system, but his recent appearances (especially against Paxman) have been more sardonic history teacher who the students love because he keeps going off on tangents in lessons and never sets any homework. Everyone’s now frantically re-preparing their tactics and points for tonight, which might even make it interesting. That’s why I’m writing this beforehand, when it might still be interesting, rather than afterwards when the reality sets in and commentators intone ‘we are all Ruddites now’.

As ever, we shall conclude with Election Leaflet Of The Day which today comes from an interesting independent – Tim Lord, standing in Cities of London and Westminster. Like many independents he has one big issue he’s standing on but his is an interesting case of the national becoming local in a distinct constituency. ‘Voted Remain? Vote for Tim.’ is his message, pointing out that the Cities’ current MP, Mark Field, is signed up to May’s Brexit strategy, and as it’s a place with lots of interests in maintaining close ties with the EU, he’s hoping that will motivate them to switch to him. (This article spells it out in more depth) It could be an interesting tactic that delivers a shock, it could be yet another damp squib, but it makes a usually safe seat somewhat interesting.

Eight days left until activists who’ve been up since the crack of dawn gird themselves for a push at reminding people getting home from work that it’s time to go vote.

2017 General Election Diary Day 42: There are no answers here

The more I think about it, the more I’m jealous of them back in 1974. Not for the fashions, the power cuts, the endemic racism and sexism and the three day week, but for the fact they got the general election campaign over and done with in three weeks from it being called. We could have done it twice over in that time, and yet here we are with still more than another week to go.

For those of us who’ve been obsessing over it, the election has been on for ages, but for a lot of people it’s only just begun as it’s not until now that people start paying real attention to what’s going on. Part of that’s because we’re now getting a couple of the big events of the campaign: Channel 4’s ‘get shouted at by Jeremy Paxman’ special last night and the BBC’s some-but-not-all of the leaders’ debate tomorrow (different from ITV’s leaders debate in that those who choose not to turn up get to send a substitute rather than just being ignored).

Last night was billed as May vs Corbyn, though it was a bizarre contest in that it appeared to have been stage managed to ensure that they never actually met so it was more a case of trying to settle a havyweight championship fight by observing the two fighters shadow boxing in separate rings. Both rings featured a sneering and hectoring Jeremy Paxman for them to shape up against but only for twenty minutes, half of which were taking up with him repeatedly barking the same question after he initially asked it. As is so often the case, it was the sort of interview that was more concerned with delivering a gotcha moment for the headlines to bother with probing and exposing its subject. It feels to me that its time for interviewing to take a step back from this model and try something different, because at the moment its playing into the politicians’ game of looking for that big moment and trying to force it into being rather than waiting and letting the story develop.

The problem with these short formats is that it only means that politicians have to survive a short encounter, and as long as they do that without swallowing their own tongue or inadvertently shouting ‘Hail Hydra!’ in the middle of it, they’ll be dubbed to have at least met expectations, and nothing much will change.

So, let’s instead look at our Election Leaflet Of The Day, which this time is a dispatch from the Highlands where the Something New party are standing one of their two candidates (the other is right at the other end of the UK in Horsham). The ‘something new’ in this case appears to be the internet which will apparently ‘connect us all’ and allow them to deliver their manifesto promises of nice things for everyone. They’re also offering ‘representation, not party politics’ which despite being delivered by an organised group campaigning on a manifesto in an election isn’t causing the whole thing to collapse in on itself in the usual paradox of party politicians declaring that what they’re doing isn’t somehow party politics. They don’t quite utter the dread words of ‘let’s all agree with me take the politics out of this’ but it’s close enough.

Nine days to go…that’s single figures and counting.

2017 General Election Diary Day 20: One month and counting

That’s the local elections out of the way, we’ve all had a nice weekend break of following the French election (and for those wondering where the British En Marche! is, try my post on the problems of creating a new centre party) which means there’s now nothing in the way between now and June 8th. Yes, it’s time to get your head down and head directly for the general election, and wonder if we’ll be praying for a brick wall to get in the way of that head-on running between now and then.

Before you suffer a major head trauma, though, don’t forget that I launched my election prediction competition today. No prizes, and it needs skills in geography as much as it does guessing voting behaviour, but hopefully enough of you will find it worthwhile enough to make it a worthwhile competition.

Let’s talk about electoral pacts. And before you all scream and say ‘no, not again’, this is about Northern Ireland, where the lack of pacts does mean some more seats might be in play for interesting results. The DUP and UUP have stood down in, respectively, Fermanagh & South Tyrone and North Belfast, but there’s no deal in East and South Belfast which makes it more likely that SDLP will hold South Belfast, while the Alliance Party’s chance of winning in East Belfast will be helped if there are both DUP and UUP candidates there. Everything in Northern Ireland is happening in the shadow of the Assembly election earlier this year (and the prospect of another later this year) and it will be interesting to see how much voters attribute praise and blame to the different parties for their role in the deadlock over that.

I know people with more knowledge of Northern Ireland and its politics do read this blog occasionally, so feel free to correct me on any points I make. However, I would say that it is interesting to look at the Northern Irish press during the election campaign as it’s a very good way of getting both a look at an election where the issues are very different, and a different perspective on what’s going on here in the larger of the British Isles from people semi-detached from that campaign.

Only time for a short post today, but let’s not forget Election Leaflet Of The Day, which is loved by some, all, or none of you. There are still a bunch of council election leaflets going up on there, which I assume is people loading stuff up there late. At least I hope so, or some candidates really need to have a word with their delivery teams if they’re not getting literature out until after the election has happened. And this time, we get to see one of the party leaders in action with a letter from Labour’s candidate for Islington North, a certain Mr Jeremy Corbyn. It may be a particularly historic document as perhaps the first time his constituency campaigning has been totally in line and on message with Labour’s national campaign.

This time next month, it’ll be all over bar the Dimbleby. Look forward to that, if nothing else.

2017 General Election Diary Day 3: The Leavers’ chicken run

Didn’t get a chance to write last night, so at some point over the next few days there’ll be two diary posts in a day to get me back on track. Or pressures of work mean I’ll just end up slipping even more and this diary continuing on an irregular basis until we reach the conclusion in July. In which case, I will ask for no spoilers of the result until I come to write my post about it. I’m sure that’s doable.

We’re at a stage where we’re getting more surprises at people not standing in the election than from any surprise announcements of people deciding to stand. Joining the march to permanent exit from the House of Commons yesterday was Douglas Carswell, who decided that as the Tories wouldn’t take him back his work was now done, he wouldn’t be standing for election in Clacton again. Speculation then centred around whether Nigel Farage would put himself up to the task of defending the only seat UKIP have won at a general election until he announced that although he would absolutely definitely honestly with no doubts whatsoever would have won the seat, he would instead be concentrating on his work in the European Parliament. Yes, the man who’s tried seven times to get elected to Parliament and views the job he’s actually been elected to do as little more than a source of funding that he hardly ever turns up to has suddenly had a Damascene conversion to the importance of his job. It’s an act so brazen it threatens to replace ‘killing your parents and demanding mercy because you’re an orphan’ as the definition of chutzpah. Still, the one thing we can thank Carswell and Farage for is making Arron Banks’s campaign for Clacton even more pointless and ridiculous, and throws more attention onto the Tory selection there, where previous Tory candidate Giles Watling (brother of Deborah, who was Victoria in Doctor Who) is being challenged by Tendring Council leader Neil Stock.

Away from the Sunshine Coast, Jeremy Corbyn was launching Labour’s campaign by threatening to tear up the rules and win a surprise victory. Rule-breaking by him would not be unexpected as it’s been a feature of his leadership with such rules as ‘Labour can’t drop below 25% in opinion polls’ and ‘leaders who don’t have the confidence of 80% of their MPs resign’ being thrown out of the window recently. A few people have pointed to the recent surge in support for Jean-Luc Melenchon in France as an exampleof how a Left candidate can do well, but it’s worth noting that Melenchon’s surge has taken him to just under 20% in the polls, which is the sort of level that’s very good for the Left, but would promise electoral disaster for Labour.

(And on a trivial point, was Corbyn’s launch at the Islington Assembly Rooms? I thought I recognised it as the venue where the 2015 Lib Dem leadership election was announced)

Elsewhere, Theresa May’s promise to campaign amongst the people saw her team not telling the media where she was going, then doing a few photo ops in a factory. As yet, there’s still no record of her being in a position where she might face anything at all spontaneous, challenging or risky nad the Guardian’s election blog has already taken to calling her ‘Theresa May of Mystery’.

Now the election’s upon us, a reminder that the Election Leaflets website exists, as in weeks to come it will be being relied upon quite frequently as a source of content for these diary posts. If you get something through your door, take a picture of it and upload it for all the world to see. It’s a good chance to see what’s being said in different places, or just to see what strange things candidates say and what odd images they choose to represent themselves.

Three days done and we’ve yet to descend into Quatermass and The Pit-style mass barbarism in the streets, let’s hope we can keep that streak going for a while.

Could membership of the single market be the wedge that causes a Labour split?

laboursplitIn a time when barely an hour passes without something interesting happening in British politics, some people might have missed that Jeremy Corbyn’s position on the UK remaining in the single market appears to have got a little muddy this afternoon:

Now, this might all be a flash in the pan – though attempts to clarify Corbyn’s position don’t seem to be helping – but it feels potentially important for the future of the Labour party.

With my usual caveat that almost every prediction of a party split comes to nothing, membership of the single market feels to me like the issue that could act as a key division in a Labour split. If Corbyn wants to try a push a position of supporting the UK leaving the single market, remaining in it is a key issue (with a huge amount of current salience) that unites a big portion of the Parliamentary Labour Party from the right to the soft left. The divisions over the single market aren’t just in Labour either – Downing Street has already had to correct the Government’s own Brexit minister over his position on it.

If Corbyn won’t defend the single market, the thinking might go, there’s a huge space available for an opposition that will. It’s an issue that can create links across parties (such as to the SNP, the remaining Tory pro-Europeans and the Liberal Democrats) and also generate support from outside the parties. There are a lot of large businesses that would lose a lot if Britain loses membership of the single market (the Japanese are just the first to make this clear and public), and if such a split needed the funding and structure to become a party of its own, that would be a very important factor.

Now, this might just be a subject of interest for an afternoon and Corbyn might close it down by declaring his unequivocal support for the single market at his next press conference (‘I’m delighted to have the support of 63% of the people who worked on Bonekickers‘) but it’s clear that the UK’s relationship with the EU is going to be the fundamental issue in British politics for the next few years. If Corbyn is going to shift his public position on that to one not shared by the bulk of the PLP, it could be the trigger for the final breaking of ties.

Corbyn and the EU referendum make predicting 2016 impossible

crystal ballI have occasionally been known to risk a tiny amount of the minuscule credibility I possess by putting forward some predictions for the political year ahead. While there’s a temptation to do that because not only does it allow me to put a post up now, it gives me the chance to write at least one more at the end of the year reviewing them, I’m not going to. The present state of politics in Britain and elsewhere is so febrile and chaotic that making predictions for what will happen in the next couple of weeks seems foolish, let alone casting forward a whole twelve months.

Beyond the general chaotic nature of politics, I think there are two other important factors that are distorting British politics. Both of these have unpredictable outcomes that will resonate across the entire political system and have such wide-ranging effects that trying to predict anything that might happen in their wake is pointless, except as a means to fill empty column inches at the start of the year.

These two unpredictable factors are what happens to the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn, and what happens in the EU referendum. These share the potential to distort not just the events of the next twelve months, but the fundamental ways in which British politics has organised itself, making any attempt to predict the future little more than guesswork. On their own, either of them would be an event well outside of the norms of our political system with the potential to completely disrupt it, to have them happen together dramatically increases the chance of a major disruption taking place.

The Corbyn effect is already transforming the Labour Party, shifting it towards the left and changing the balance within the party system. It’s a party system that’s already fragile because of the rise of the SNP and UKIP (who stubbornly refuse to comply with the predictions of their imminent demise) and what happens to Labour could be the catalyst for a wider shifting of positions and allegiances within that system, or could even be the trigger that kills the current one and replaces it with a new one. The interesting thing to watch about Corbynism and the Corbynistas will be how much they change the structures of the party and how involved all those new members and supporters get. Perhaps they can change Labour into a mass popular party of the left and centre-left that can challenge the Conservatives, or perhaps they might just become the UKIP of the left – very very popular amongst their core voters, but finding it very hard to attract anyone from outside that core.

While lots of ink has been spilled and blog posts written about the past, present and future of the Labour Party, the fact that we will likely be having a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU sometime very soon is still very much in the political background. Sure, those who have spent most of the past two or more decades obsessing about Europe continue to froth at the mouth and write massive screeds about it but for most people it’s still in the ‘worry about it later’ pile or even the ‘nothing to worry about’ one. There’s a double layer of complacency in play at the moment, with people assuming that Remain will comfortably win the referendum, and that it will have no longer-term implications. These are, of course, the same sort of predictions being made about Scotland two years ago. Saying then that No would win after being neck and neck in the polls for a while and the fallout from the referendum would see the SNP becoming near-hegemonic in Scottish politics would have been a pretty wild prediction. Now that it’s happened, any look to the future has to include the possibility of the EU referendum causing a similar shake up in the politics of the rest of the UK, regardless of the result.

On top of all the other ‘events, dear boy, events’ that can come along and disrupt our expectations, the Labour Party and the EU referendum both hold massive chaotic potential that could make January 2017 so vastly different from today that trying to predict the politics of it is pointless. So in politics, my only prediction is that all your predictions will be wrong.

Worth Reading 186: The rapid spread of Bacchanalia

Hardball questions for the next debate – Some real tough ones for the Republican candidates for US President.
Terrorism: Et tu, Google! – Nick Harkaway tears apart some of the nonsense being spouted about encryption and surveillance by those who should know better.
A New Threat Such As We Have Never Seen – Flying Rodent offers a scale for judging the credibility of military action based on the level of bullshit advocating for it.
Party mechanics: why Labour would struggle to oust Jeremy Corbyn – Tom Quinn (my MA supervisor) looks at the internal mechanics of any attempt by the PLP to oust Jeremy Corbyn.
I asked 5 fascism experts whether Donald Trump is a fascist. Here’s what they said. – Trump isn’t a fascist, but this is a useful look at what fascism is and why his breed of right-wing populism is part of a trend.