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Conservatives favoured to win most seats

May 7th, 2015 Comments off

The opinion polls pretty much have it 50:50. The Owl Indicator has the Conservatives favourite to win most seats and to provide the Prime Minister.

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PJ O’Rourke tries to make sense of the UK election

April 26th, 2015 Comments off

o'rourke

  • “PJ O’Rourke on the UK Campaign Trail” – In this year’s British general election the traditional two party system looks set to be blown apart with up to seven parties having a say in the result. It could be most interesting campaign in decades but it could also be the weirdest. PJ O’Rourke travels across Britain trying to work out why party politics in the UK is being shaken up. From the Tory heartlands of the South that do not seem that keen on the Tories any more to Labour’s battle for Scotland, PJ meets politicians, pundits and the voters, to find out what it takes to get elected to the mother of Parliaments in 2015.
  • Republicans want a bumper sticker world – The case for Mr Obama is that in seeking to deploy economic and diplomatic power, and to leverage US influence through multinational coalitions, he has recognised the complexities of this new landscape. The case against is that he has sometimes gone too far in drawing the limits of US power. What has been missing is an overarching framework — a set of principles clear and practical enough to deter adversaries and to reassure allies. A grand strategy, in other words, that balances ambition and realism. Republicans used to have a reputation for such thinking. Now they prefer bumper stickers.
  • Humans aren’t the only ones to genetically modify crops. Nature does, too. – Now, as a new study shows, horizontal gene transfer in nature has likely modified some of the very crops we eat without any human input at all. Nearly 300 samples of human-grown sweet potatoes, as well as some wild ones, contain bits of DNA originally found in some of the very bacteria that inspired genetic modification, researchers reported this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their findings suggest we might rethink how “unnatural” GMOs really are.
  • Oklahomans Feel Way More Earthquakes Than Californians; Now They Know Why – A magnitude-3.0 earthquake is small, but most people can feel it. Historically, Oklahoma got less than two of those a year, but in 2013 it became two a week. It’s only gotten more active since then — last year, the state had three times as many earthquakes as in the entire seismically active state of California. This morning, the U.S. Geological Survey will issue its first comprehensive assessment of the hazard posed by earthquakes linked to oil and gas drilling. In the preliminary report, the survey details oil and gas-related quakes in eight states. The earthquake surge is strongest in Oklahoma, where the state government has formally acknowledged the link for the first time earlier this week.
  • The Fight Over Canada’s Patriot Act – Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has introduced an ambitious and unpopular intelligence reform agenda. Can anyone stop it?
  • The United States Does Not Know Who It’s Killing – A remorseful acknowledgment of the drone deaths of American civilians is not an acceptable answer for a counterterrorism policy out of control.
  • Europe’s asylum seekers and the global refugee challenge – The human tragedy of thousands of asylum seekers floundering—and dying—in the Mediterranean highlights an unprecedented global challenge for the 21st century. … We should by all means tackle this human tragedy and end the horrors being witnessed in the Mediterranean. But we should also recognize that the global problem is getting worse as the wars in the Middle East and elsewhere continue, and people are displaced, killed, and maimed every day. Closing doors and building fences work in very limited ways. Refugees can have an impact on whole societies and regions decades after the tragedies that led to their displacement. Just as we are doing with climate change and global epidemics, it’s time for a global response to the refugee crisis—before it further destabilizes an already fragile global order.
  • Eight officers stormed into my bedroom shouting Met Police’: Reporter’s three-year ordeal ‘for writing story about a fox’

Backing Labour’s Millliband to become UK Prime Minister

April 4th, 2015 Comments off

The opinion polls have the UK election at level pegging. The market has the Conservatives at $1.51 to win the most seats. On Betfair David Cameron is $1.75 to continue as Prime Minister after the election with Labour’ David Milliband at $2.34. To me those odds just don’t make sense.

Here is how The Guardian assesses what the current polls would produce:

(Click to enlarge)

Sure the Conservatives by that calculation should be a narrow favourite on the most seats market. But Cameron favourite to continue as PM?
Here is how The Independent assessed things this morning:

Because Labour-held constituencies are smaller than Conservative ones, it is easier for Labour to win most seats. Even though Labour continues to be at risk of heavy losses in Scotland, our latest seat projection puts the party on 293 seats, eighteen ahead of the Conservatives on 275.
With Nick Clegg projected to secure just 16 seats, the Prime Minister would be left with too few allies to be able to sustain a government. The 48 MPs that might be won by the SNP together with their Welsh and Green allies would be able to carry out their threat to block Mr Cameron’s path back to power.

Yet this how the Betfair markets have moved.
Winner of most seats
PM after next election

I already have had a couple of investments on Labour to win the most seats (see Details HERE). But to me the most likely result is a hung parliament and that the Scottish National Party will end up giving the initial nod to David Milliband. Hence my 100 unit investment on him at the $2.34.

Categories: Betting, UK election Tags:

Write it in Textor – competence versus chaos

February 4th, 2015 Comments off

I wonder if he’s told them how well it worked in Queensland?

competence versus chaos

From a Guardian story this morning on Crosby-Textor’s influence on the Conservative Party’s election campaign

Categories: Elections, Opinion polls, UK election Tags:

The deterministic theory of politics – people know how they will vote months in advance

January 2nd, 2015 Comments off
  • Britons know their political destiny – “Britain’s general election takes place in May, but it is already over. Most people know how they will vote. Waverers who end up making a late choice were always going to go that way. Elections are decided by fundamentals that take shape over years, not by the vicissitudes of a campaign that starts now. This is the deterministic theory of politics. It does not allow for the purchase that campaigns can have on a race as tight as this one, but it is generally right. The coming months — the posters, the manifestos, the daily media cycles “won” by one party or another — will matter less than the accretion of events since the last election. May’s result is encoded in the minds of voters already: all politicians can do is bring it out.”
  • Japan’s Population Declined In 2014 As Births Fell To A New Low
  • Happiness and satisfaction are not everything: Toward wellbeing indices based on stated preference – “There is growing interest in alternative measures of national wellbeing, such as happiness or life satisfaction. This column argues that a small number of survey questions are unlikely to capture all the aspects of wellbeing that matter to people. Using a stated-preference survey, the authors find several aspects of wellbeing to be important that are not commonly included in wellbeing surveys, such as those related to family, values, and security. This approach could be used to provide weights for wellbeing indices.”big fat surprise
  • Are some diets “mass murder”? – Richard Smith ploughed his way through five books on diet and some of the key studies to write this article for the Beitish Medical Journal – “By far the best of the books I’ve read to write this article is Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise, whose subtitle is “Why butter, meat, and cheese belong in a healthy diet.”3 The title, the subtitle, and the cover of the book are all demeaning, but the forensic demolition of the hypothesis that saturated fat is the cause of cardiovascular disease is impressive. Indeed, the book is deeply disturbing in showing how overenthusiastic scientists, poor science, massive conflicts of interest, and politically driven policy makers can make deeply damaging mistakes. Over 40 years I’ve come to recognise what I might have known from the beginning that science is a human activity with the error, self deception, grandiosity, bias, self interest, cruelty, fraud, and theft that is inherent in all human activities (together with some saintliness), but this book shook me.”
  • Assessment of the potential for international dissemination of Ebola virus via commercial air travel during the 2014 west African outbreak – From The Lancer: “Based on epidemic conditions and international flight restrictions to and from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as of Sept 1, 2014 (reductions in passenger seats by 51% for Liberia, 66% for Guinea, and 85% for Sierra Leone), our model projects 2·8 travellers infected with Ebola virus departing the above three countries via commercial flights, on average, every month. … Exit screening of travellers at airports in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone would be the most efficient frontier at which to assess the health status of travellers at risk of Ebola virus exposure, however, this intervention might require international support to implement effectively.”
  • Where Will All the Workers Go? – “Recent technological advances have three biases: They tend to be capital-intensive (thus favoring those who already have financial resources); skill-intensive (thus favoring those who already have a high level of technical proficiency); and labor-saving (thus reducing the total number of unskilled and semi-skilled jobs in the economy). The risk is that robotics and automation will displace workers in blue-collar manufacturing jobs before the dust of the Third Industrial Revolution settles.”

With a friend like Tony Blair who would need an enemy?

December 31st, 2014 Comments off

Hardly cheerful New Year’s eve reading for the UK Labour leader Ed Milliband on page one of London’s Daily Telegraph. Tony Blair, his party’s last election winning leader, and the most electorally successful politician in Labour history, declares that Mr Miliband risked taking his party back to the dark days of the Eighties and early Nineties, when it suffered a series of heavy defeats to the Tories. May’s general election risked becoming one in which a “traditional Left-wing party competes with a traditional Right-wing party, with the traditional result”.

Asked by The Economist if he meant that the Conservatives would win in those circumstances, Mr Blair replied: “Yes, that is what happens.”

Mr Miliband has repeatedly attempted to distance himself from New Labour, but has faced criticism for Left-wing policies, which some have argued are anti-business.

In a thinly veiled condemnation of Mr Miliband’s leadership, Mr Blair said that Labour “succeeds best when it is in the centre ground”.

“I am still very much New Labour and Ed would not describe himself in that way, so there is obviously a difference there,” Mr Blair said.

“I am convinced the Labour Party succeeds best when it is in the centre ground”. When asked what lessons he derives from his experience of winning elections, Mr Blair replied: “Not alienating large parts of business, for one thing.”

So far the opinion polls are predicting a better result for Ed Milliband’s Labour than Tony Blair appears to be if the Telegraph can be believed. The UK Polling Report website in its poll of polls survey has Labour three points ahead of the Conservatives – 34% Labour, Conservatives 31% with the Liberal Democrats on 8% trailing UKIP at  15% with the Greens on 5%.

The Owl’s market based UK Election Indicator similarly has Labour marginally more likely than the Conservatives tp be the party that wins the most seats.

UK election indicator

When it comes to predicting the party that provides the Prime Minister after the election things get more complicated. The greatest probability is that no party emerges with an overall majority

Majority government indicator UK

 

A “No” vote in Scotland the favoured prediction

September 17th, 2014 Comments off

On the eve of the vote in Scotland, a “No” vote has shortened again as the favoured outcome.

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Categories: Elections, UK election Tags:

The pendulum swings back towards a “no” vote in Scotland

September 11th, 2014 Comments off

A couple of opinion polls showing a lead for the “No” vote in the Scottish referendum and the market has moved strongly back to put the probability of defeat for independence at 77%.

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Categories: UK election Tags:

The Scottish mood changing with support for independence apparently growing

September 9th, 2014 Comments off

A second opinion poll for the week shows the referendum on Scottish independence has become a close run thing. Reuters reports a surge in support for those who wish to break away from the United Kingdom. A TNS survey has the  number of people saying they would vote “No” to independence dropping to 39 percent, down from 45 percent a month ago. “Yes” support was slightly behind at 38 percent but had gained ground from 32 percent a month ago.

The late rally by the “Yes” campaign led by Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party, the ruling party in Scotland, now makes the break–up of the United Kingdom – previously thought to be a pipedream – a distinct possibility after a 300-year-old union.

British financial markets tumbled on Monday after an opinion poll showed for the first time this year that Scots may vote for independence in the referendum next week.

The YouGov poll for the Sunday Times put the “Yes” camp on 51 percent and “No” on 49 percent, excluding don’t knows.

The referendum, in which more than 4 million Scots and residents of Scotland are eligible to vote, will take place on Sept. 18.

The England based national newspapers are now taking the possibility of a breakaway from the United Kingdom seriously.

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A sharing of the front pages with a new royal baby gave a certain relevance to this tweet:

The Owl’s election indicator continues to have the “No” vote favourite.

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Backing the No vote again in Scotland

September 4th, 2014 Comments off

A couple of recent opinion polls have the gap between No and Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum narrowing a little but with the margin still around six points it does not look close to me. Perhaps that’s because I’m Australian and used to the No vote being the referendum winner except when all the major parties are urging people to vote Yes.
To me the $1.30 on offer about a majority for No is akin to stealing money.
I’m going in again with another $200 of my own hard earned.

Details of my bets on political events are at the portfolio page of my speculator’s diary.
The Owl’s election indicator has this assessment of the probabilities based on current market prices:
 

 

Categories: Political indicators, UK election Tags:

A debate ends and the voting in Scotland begins

August 26th, 2014 Comments off

The media consensus and the instant finding of the pollsters was that the Yes case for Scottish independence had the best of the debate last night which preceded the beginning of pre-poll voting for the referendum. But will it actually mean anything?

26-08-2014 scottishpapersondebateNot if the Owl’s election indicator is any guide. The No vote is a firmer favourite today than it was a week ago.

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Voting day proper for the referendum is Thursday 18 September.

Note: The Owl backed the No vote at $1.23 and then again at $1.30. You will find details of all his political bets at the political speculator’s diary.

 

Labour continues to lead in the UK polls and on the Owl’s election indicator

January 18th, 2014 Comments off

Opinion polls in the UK continue to show Labour with a substantial lead over the governing Conservatives  and their coalition partner the Liberal Democrats.

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From UK polling Report

The verdict of the Owl’s Indicator give Labour a 56% chance of winning the most seats when the election finally comes.

The Owl’s UK election indicator

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Categories: Opinion polls, UK election, UK polls Tags: