Tartan Tories?

 General  Comments Off on Tartan Tories?
Apr 112011

There was a bit of a debate on twitter last night about whether the Tories were more likely to vote with the SNP. So I whipped up a python script to parse the data and do some quick and dirty analysis.

2011 is missing from this analysis as http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/ is kaput presumed in need of love.

Methodology: Count all the votes. If more than 10 government MSPs and 10 Tory MSPS and less than 5 of the main opposition MSPs voted the same way, count it as Tory collusion. This eliminates motherhood and rhubarb pie votes where everyone agrees and times when an MSPs finger pressed the wrong button or something.


1999 Tories voted with govt 23 times of 103 or 22%
2000 Tories voted with govt 88 times of 277 or 31%
2001 Tories voted with govt 74 times of 329 or 22%
2002 Tories voted with govt 117 times of 369 or 31%
2003 Tories voted with govt 67 times of 374 or 17%
2004 Tories voted with govt 115 times of 383 or 30%
2005 Tories voted with govt 68 times of 334 or 20%
2006 Tories voted with govt 110 times of 379 or 29%
2007 Tories voted with govt 77 times of 256 or 30%
2008 Tories voted with govt 84 times of 217 or 38%
2009 Tories voted with govt 77 times of 212 or 36%
2010 Tories voted with govt 28 times of 71 or 39%
As a quick and dirty metric, I think this shows that the Tories have found much more common ground with this SNP government than they did with either of the previous two Labour-LibDem governments.
ETA: this is just a bit of fun, the SNP these days are a centre-left social democratic party, though they have been dragged to the right a bit by the necessity of working with the Tories. Life in Scotland would be a lot better if my tribe and their tribe could put aside their differences after May and work constructively together against the vicious Tory-LibDem government in Westminster.

[1] You can find the source code and all the data for this at https://aidan@github.com/aidan/vote-parser.git patches welcome

The “A wizard did it” approach to policy making.

 Politics  Comments Off on The “A wizard did it” approach to policy making.
Jan 212011

Currently I’m listening to Andrew Lansley talking about the ill conceived top reorganisation the Tory government promised it wouldn’t do (but will anyway, despite it not being in their manifesto and them not winning a majority). His answer to just about any question, as Ben Goldacre points out , is “GPs know their patients”. Which may or may not be true, depending on the GP and the patients in question, but is a bit like saying it’ll all be fine because you have bought a lottery ticket and you’ve got a good feeling.

George Osborne (and Danny Alexander, when he’s allowed to answer questions and not just take punches) answer just about any question about Tory government economic policy is “there will be record private sector job creation”. This is more like saying it’ll all be fine because you’ve got a good feeling you’ll find a winning lottery ticket in the street.

There’s quite a lot that could be done in terms of NHS reform, and making health care more holistic (NPRs Fresh Air was talking about a different approach in New Jersey this week) but assuming that a wizard will come along and wave their wand it’ll all be fine is not sensible. Unless your goal is to allow private companies an opportunity to profit. Not that I’m saying that it is. Obviously. Because then rocks would fall and everybody would die.

The state of our education system

 General, Politics  Comments Off on The state of our education system
Dec 112010

I am becoming increasingly concerned at the level of teaching at our great universities. Charlie Gilmour is studying history at Cambridge but “did not realise it was the Cenotaph”. I could understand the young whipper snapper not knowing about Michael Foot but, well, I’ve been there. It’s pretty bloody obvious. It’s a big granite thing with the words “the glorious dead” on it. Still, he’s only in 2nd year, maybe they’ll teach that bit later on.

More worryingly, our Chancellor also studied history (at Oxford). There they seem to have failed to teach the history of the Great Depression in the UK entirely. Which is odd, for a course in Modern History. I mean, I know he only got a 2:1 but still. You’d have thought some of it would have stuck.

No wonder the Tory – Lib Dem government feel the need to ensure the future of our education system by properly funding it. Oh, wait, the fees are just replacing the complete withdrawl of all funding for wishy-washy hand wringing useless courses like Modern History. Or Economics. Or Social Work. I guess they’re betting on nobody being able to remember who ruined the country because nobody’s teaching it and we’re too busy making sure our disabled friends can get out the house now and then to watch BBC4 (assuming it’s still going).

On this evidence, they’re probably right.