Friday, 9 December 2016

Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election

The main result from yesterday:
Conservative (Caroline Johnson)               17517 53.5% (-2.7)
UKIP (Victoria Ayling)                               4426 13.5% (-2.2)
Liberal Democrat (Ross Pepper)                  3606  11.0% (+5.3)
Labour (Jim Clarke)                                   3363  10.2% (-7.0)
Others: Lincs Ind 2892. Independent 462, Loony 200, Independent 186. Independent 74. Bus Pass Elvis 55

First thoughts: The balance of the House has been improved. A man and a lawyer has been replaced by a woman paediatrician. The government's NHS policy is going to be increasingly interrogated from its own benches.

The UKIP vote did not fade as much as I expected. This, together with a similar slight fall in the Conservative Brexiter's vote, seems to demonstrate that East Anglia remains dominated by a desire to Leave. UKIP has taken over second place from Labour. It looks as if the party threw everything at this election, having given up on both Witney and Richmond Park.

There was a great Liberal Democrat campaign, reportedly reaching sections of the community not contacted for many years previously. Our campaigns depend to a larger extent than either Conservatives or Labour on volunteers. Not too many could have afforded to work in both Richmond Park and Lincolnshire, so it is understandable that our target of regaining second place was missed, but our vote increase augurs well for the future. It might have been a different story if the two by-elections had not come so close together.

Labour must be worried. Labour has polled consistently over 10,000 votes in this constituency in previous years. They clearly have an identity problem.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Oh, my Crossleys and my Maudslays long ago!

Time was when we not only manufactured every part of our buses and coaches in the UK, but also sold them round the world. We must have been the biggest provider of public service vehicles to the globe. Our streets were full of Bristols, Leylands, AECs, Daimlers, Albions, Guys with the occasional Crossley and Maudslay. Gardner of Patricroft provided the motive power to those users who preferred their engines to those of the other manufacturers.

We still have bus-builders, who continue to produce innovative designs. However, the basic mechanics come from elsewhere. This was brought home by the news that Volvo would have to increase its prices to Alexander Dennis and others because of the fall in sterling. No doubt the US-based Paccar, in the forefront of "green" bus engine development as well as powering much of London's fleet, will follow suit.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The mean vote swing from UKIP to Liberal /Democrat in Witney and Richmond Park is roughly 16%. Feeding that into my copy of UK-Elect produces the following forecast for a general election held now:


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The EU versus global forces

International socialists have long been against the European Union because it is a bulwark against communism.

Free-marketeers want to break up the EU because it is a bulwark against the power of multi-national companies.

Those who are fighting against globalisation should realise that the EU is on their side.

Monday, 5 December 2016

"Going fobbing"

From experience, I would say that teachers in Neath are good at keeping children active and interested in the streets outside them. However, the education authority might like to look at "Beat the Street", an initiative in urban Salford which gives an extra incentive to outdoor activity. (By the way, it's sad to see that diesel engines are no longer made in Patricroft for shipping all over the world.)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Good choices for back-room staff at the Liberty

I gave a little cheer when I heard that Brian Flynn was to join the Swansea City staff. He has an excellent record as manager, assistant manager and youth team coach, though he has often been relieved of positions where the new appointee has garnered the credit for Flynn's achievements. It seems he will not be directly involved with the development of players. This is an understandable avoidance of conflict. However, with his contacts within the game at all levels, his knowledge of all corners of England and Wales and two years of scouting experience with Everton under his belt, he is an ideal addition to the scouting team.

Paul Williams I knew little of before news of his appointment, but his record spoke for itself. I had not realised his origins were Afro-Caribbean until the other day. An improvement in the club management's ethnic diversity is a bonus.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Israel's submarines

Israel has recently concluded the purchase of a sixth cruise-missile capable submarine.  I reckon that makes the middle-eastern nation just one behind the UK, though "our" missiles are probably capable of more destruction.

The submarine builders, ThyssenKrupp, used to be strongly associated as separate firms with the Nazi war effort, which may seem ironic. However, earlier in the century the same armaments firms supplied both sides in the Great War.