Saturday, 30 December 2017

Arise Sir John Curtice

It has been described as one of the most popular awards in this year's New Year Honours List, the knighthood for Strathclyde professor and elections analyst John Curtice.

I first met John when he was a postgraduate at Nuffield and we had some interesting conversations about Cornish politics (which is where he comes from). Over the years I have always found him a most amiable and courteous individual, ready to listen to my relatively amateurish views on elections. In particular it was always pleasant to encounter him at APSA congresses in the British Politics Group.

He did well to stick to his guns with his surprise forecast in this year's general election, but the methodology of the exit poll has been refined over the years. However, it needed a calm inner confidence to keep to his prediction in the face of doubting politicians.

John devotes some of his spare time to his allotment, a very worthy hobby.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Hezza kicks up a storm

Lord Heseltine has caused a storm by suggesting that a Labour Government under Jeremy Corbyn could be preferable to Brexit. The essence of his argument is that a Labour Government would cause short-term damage which could be rectified while Brexit would cause long-term damage and could not be rectified: Big beast

The usual suspects have called for the Conservative whip to be withdrawn from Lord Heseltine, but Theresa May probably has the good sense not to give this story legs by sanctioning a former deputy prime minister.

A representative of the Bow Group interviewed on Sky last night began to squirm when it was pointed out that he had advocated Conservative voters voting UKIP in some constituencies in the general election.

Of course, one of the paradoxes is that Jeremy Corbyn is suspected of being a covert Brexiteer. Labour has a different position on Brexit for every day of the week, but it has never said that it would reverse it, well aware of the damage that would cause among its core voters.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Jack Hayward

I am very sorry to hear of the death of Jack Hayward, emeritus professor of politics at the University of Hull. He was a distinguished member of the profession who act as a mentor to me when I was a young lecturer.

Jack was known as a specialist on French politics, but he also contributed to the study of government-industry relations. He was a key figure in the 'Oxford coup' which saw him installed as chair of the Political Studies Association, initiating the PSA's modernisation and leading it to becoming the highly professional and effective force it is today.