Archive for April, 2005

My Vote’s A Secret…

April 29th, 2005

Between me and the ballot-box. And the readers of the Virtual Stoa, of course. Thanks to all of those who have deposited their preferences in the urn that is a couple of the comments threads below. The running totals are currently as follows:

Labour: Eleven
Lib Dems: Seven
Tories: One
Legalise Cannabis: One
Undecided: Two

So congratulations to the Tories for pulling level with Legalise Cannabis (though the H&K calculator still won’t give ‘em any seats on that share of the vote), and also to Chris in Cheadle for moving out of the undecided column and casting the Labour vote we all deep down knew he would.

Keep voting, please, UK voters, with details of your home constituency, preferred candidate, and anything else you want to tell us about the responsible manner in which you approach one of the heaviest burdens of democratic citizenship.

McNeill for Bermondsey!

April 29th, 2005

And while we’re on the subject of my various friends, colleagues and contemporaries who are stomping around the country looking for Your Vote, I always liked Kirsty McNeill whenever I ran into her in Oxford and London, she’s now running against Simon Hughes (clear throat, spit) in Southwark North and Bermondsey, and for some reason she’s got a campaign blog on the website of your number-one supersize soaraway Sun (or whatever they say about themselves these days).

It’s not the best blog in the world, I agree, but perhaps it’s early days. Or something.

Student Hacks

April 28th, 2005

A number of university contemporaries are doing things in this general election campaign. Old friends include Kitty Ussher (heading for victory for Labour in Burnley) and Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured here on a winning University Challenge team, and heading for defeat for the Tories in Brent East). I hope they’re both having fun.

I’m also struck by the way in which the two most irritating student hacks from my undergraduate days have clearly found their political home in the Conservative Party. I don’t remember either as a Tory when they first showed up on my radar screens around a decade ago, but I’m not at all surprised that that’s where they ended up.

Liz Truss was an annoying Liberal Democrat student hack, c.1994, elected, I think, onto the student union executive, and she’s now metamorphosed into a Conservative candidate in Calder Valley, a reasonably marginal seat. I’ll be pleased if she doesn’t get elected.

And Sheridan Westlake, than whom a more irritating person it would be difficult to imagine, is now a Tory councillor in Guildford, is working for the Tories in Central Office during the election campaign, and is someone who has attracted the attention of blogger Guido Fawkes. (Guido reports that Westlake “admits only to standing for the Tories in Oxford”; I vaguely remember him running for the OUSU Sabbatical elections in his first year as an undergraduate, and I’m reasonably confident that it wasn’t on the Tory ticket but as an independent. I think he was a member of the Labour Club back then, too, though I may be wrong.)

(I’m very happy to report that I’ve forgotten most of what I once must have known about Sheridan’s doings in Oxford; indeed, I successfully managed not to even think about him for four years after graduating, until one day in 1999 or thereabouts when my old friend Adam Shapiro reminded me of his existence on a clifftop walk around San Francisco’s Golden Gate.)

Election Estimation

April 28th, 2005

Go and take Chris Lightfoot’s General Election-themed Estimation Estimation Quiz.

I got +68.8, which makes me feel moderately smug.

The Votes of the Stoa

April 28th, 2005

In the only vote that really matters, and what is also an unimpeachably scientific poll of public opinion, the readers of the Virtual Stoa have – so far – deposited their votes as follows:

Labour: Seven
Lib Dems: Five
Legalise Cannabis: One
Undecided: Two

And (puts Peter Snow costume on) if this result were to be repeated nationwide, and if Martin Baxter‘s forecasting model is a good one, then this will generate a Labour majority of 304, with 475 Labour MPs, 146 Lib Dems, and no Tories. The excellent Hill & Knowlton general election site by contrast forecasts 470 LAB, 156 Lib Dems, 0 CON, 20 Others (though they might not be Legalise Cannabis: sorry, Mike!).

Please carry on voting in the comments, and, when doing so, please state your name, your preferred party, and the name of the candidate and the constituency in which you’ll be casting your vote, as well as any reasons for doing so that you want to share with the rest of us.

DSW, #89

April 28th, 2005

Anton Pannekoek, Dutchman, astronomer, Marxist; born 2 January 1873, died 28 April 1960. An archive of some writings is here.

Haifa University president calls on dissident academic to resign

April 27th, 2005

From yesterday’s Ha’aretz, over here.