Thursday, 21 July 2016

What does 'Brexit means Brexit' mean?

One month after the referendum, this article suggests that the mood in the country is similar to that after the Stuart restoration, an acceptance of what has happened. Meanwhile, it is necessary to deconstruct the statement: 'Brexit means Brexit': What does Brexit mean?

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Where and who is the median voter?

A younger Dave Cameron meets Worcester Woman. The real Worcester Woman was somewhat younger, in her mid-thirties, she worked part-time, had children and drove a Ford Mondeo.

In the course on Economics and Politics I taught for several years with my great colleague Ben Lockwood, we spent two weeks on the Downs theory of the median voter and the subsequent literature. As a shorthand, one might say that spatial models like that of Downs have lost popularity relative to valence models which lead to a greater emphasis on leadership competence, although a methodological problem is that spatial positioning may affect assessments of leaders.

Journalists have engaged in a search for the median voter. At one time it was the anonymous 'Worcester Woman', but in 2010 it was 'Motorway Man' with a specific voter in the constituency of Ed Balls being named. In 2015 the garland went to 'Cautious Cathy' from Nuneaton, a 35-year old mother.

A new study by Professor Paul Webb suggests that voters may be more to the left than we assumed: Left leaning

If I was teaching the module again next year, we would certainly look at this new evidence.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

The arrival of Aston Villa Toryism?

Theresa May's joint chief of staff is Nick Timothy, an avid Aston Villa fan. Here, he draws lessons for politics from Villa's relegation: Lessons to be learned

Friday, 15 July 2016

Brexit does not mean an independent Scotland

As Theresa May heads to Scotland for her first visit as prime minister, this excellent blog article reminds us that Brexit may not lead to Scottish independence: Independence day?

Monday, 11 July 2016

Doing the decent thing

Andrea Leadsom did the right thing in standing down from the leadership contest. We can now proceed more quickly to a new prime minister being in office. There are certain formalities to be completed before Theresa May becomes party leader.

She will need to have a private conversation with David Cameron about a handover date. Sources suggest that Dave has been very chilled in recent days and I think that Sam Cam will be pleased to get her children out of the No.11 flat and the Downing Street security bubble.

David Cameron will then have to see the Queen to resign and she will then 'kiss hands' with Theresa May (not literally).

As Professor Robert Hazell of the UCL Constitution Unit has just made clear on Radio 5, the Cabinet manual states that if a prime minister resigns between elections, provided that his party has a majority in Parliament, that party decides who the successor should be.

People need to be reminded that this is not a presidential system and a party sustains a cabinet and prime minister. Even if Theresa wanted to call an early election, which I don't think she does, there is the obstacle of the five year Parliament act. On that see: Professor Lord Norton

The last thing the country needs now is another election.

It has now been announced that David Cameron will stand down on Wednesday. Theresa May will not need the more spacious No.11 flat or not immediately so the family can move out without undue haste or a Ken Clarke U-Haul van.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Hard Brexit and Soft Brexit

That is the real political choice now, argues this interesting article: The real choice

In the ballot of Conservative Party members, Theresa May would represent 'soft Brexit' and Andrea Leadsom 'hard Brexit'.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Brexit and the Isles of Scilly

The Isles of Scilly were one of the first local authority areas to declare in the EU referendum and voted to Remain. The islands have benefitted from EU membership. They face a number of challenges, not least interruptions to air and boat services by bad weather.

The islands are governed by a unitary authority that is also responsible for water and sewerage. There are significant environmental challenges. The chair of the council has made an excellent statement on the consequences of Brexit: Amanda Martin

As a frequent visitor to the islands and a contributor to Radio Scilly and Scilly Now and Then can I say that they are an excellent holiday destination, particularly if you enjoy good beaches, scenery and walking. The sea food is excellent as well.