Tag Archives: democratic audit

Democratic Audit on the “scandal” of the poor value taxpayers get for the £800m spent on elections in the UK

Ballot paperDemocratic Audit, an independent research organisation based at the London School of Economics, this week published a report, Engaging young voters with enhanced election information. The title may not be the most exciting ever, but the report itself is worth a read. (You can download it here.)

The executive summary from the report’s authors, Patrick Dunleavy and Richard Berry, sets out the current problem as they see it:

Current arrangements in the UK only give very poor, fragmented and old-fashioned feedback to voters about what effect their participation has had, and what election outcomes were.

Posted in What do the academics say? | Also tagged , , and | 15 Comments

Lewis Baston’s election 2015 forecast: Labour 36%, Conservatives 34%, Lib Dems 16%

Lewis Baston, a research associate at Democratic Audit who is perhaps the nearest the UK comes to a Nate Silver, has published a pamphlet called Swing Seats: The key battlegrounds of the 2015 election (not available online yet). It’s a forensic analysis of the constituencies that will decide the next election, and digs much deeper than the national polls on which so much political commentary relies.

I was on a panel – together with ConservativeHome’s Paul Goodman and the Fabian Society’s Marcus Roberts – to discuss its findings yesterday. Below are 10 points I jotted down from …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 21 Comments

How Jeremy Thorpe (and then Nick Clegg) broke the electoral system

Democratic Audit this week published its latest analysis, its depressing conclusions summed up by The Guardian’s headline British democracy in terminal decline.

A fascinating aspect of the Audit, even for those of us still scarred by the rejection of electoral reform in the 2011 referendum, is its detailed dissection of how the First-Past-The-Post system is failing democracy. And in particular the pinpointing of the year when FPTP started to go bad: 1974, and the Liberal insurgence under Jeremy Thorpe, when the party increased its support from 7.5% in 1970 to 19.3%.

This, say the Audit’s authors, marked a turning point in the UK’s electoral history, a moment when ended the dominance of the ‘Golden Age’ of FPTP (1950-70) and introduced instead its ‘Dysfunctional Age’ (1979-2005):

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 41 Comments

A striking party funding statistic

From Democratic Audit’s latest, er…, democratic audit:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

The political impact of Parliamentary boundary changes

Yesterday Sara highlighted the Newsnight report into the political impact of reducing the number of Parliamentary constituencies. Democratic Audit have kindly provided me with a copy of their research which was used for the BBC headlines about how the Liberal Democrats were likely to lose out disproportionately.

You can read their report in full below, but it’s worth highlighting the significant caveats that Democratic Audit put on their results: “While it is possible to draw conclusions about how the proposals could impact on party representation, these findings must be regarded as purely indicative … It is very difficult to produce precise estimates of the likely partisan impact of these changes”. They describe their political projections as, “a rough estimate of the likely impact”.

Moreover, their calculations are based on making very little allowance for how parties will change their campaigning in response to changing boundaries. So ready a fair few pinches of salt and read on…

Projecting the Impact of Reduce and Equalise

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 7 Comments
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  • User AvatarSean Hagan 19th Jan - 6:11pm
    @Michael BG - thank you for clarifying the basis of your calculations surrounding the parliamentary arithmetic. However, although your numbers seem to add up (give...
  • User AvatarMick Taylor 19th Jan - 5:46pm
    Jayne MANSFIELD: Flattering as it is to be compared to Buddy Holly, the image is of me, aged 18, speaking at the 1968 Liberal Assembly...
  • User AvatarSean Hagan 19th Jan - 5:28pm
    P.S. Further to my previous comments ... As others have implored, it would be helpful if political comment on LDV could be conducted on the...
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    I was chair when I got the change from UULS ( Union of University Liberal Societies) essentially a federal student body) to ULS - the...
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    @Katherine Pindar - yes indeed, wise words (again) from Sir John who, in hindsight, was perhaps a rather better ex-PM than he is generally given...
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    @ Simon Hebditch "or am I wrong ?" No, Simon, you are completely correct............. yet some of the early middle aged Lib Dem establishment just...