1) What will become of the May 2015 UK Parliament if Scotland votes ‘Yes’ on Independence?
The timetable for a Scottish Independence referendum in October 2014 and, if that is successful, implementation of the decision in March 2016 overlaps that of the fixed cycle for elections to the UK Parliament, for which the next general election will be held in May 2015. Governing the UK during that inter-regnum (when there will still be 59 Scottish MPs) will be difficult, as may forming a government after the May election, plus sustaining it after those 59 MPs depart in March 2016. And then there is the House of Lords…
2) Typhoon in Philippines reveals underlying political failings
On Friday 8 November super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) traversed the Philippines leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The Philippines lies in the western Pacific and is the first major landfall above the equator before continental Asia. The Philippines is an archipelago comprising of thousands of islands. It is directly in the path regular typhoons that roll in from the Pacific. The capital Manila often bears the brunt of the typhoon season but this time the weather system struck land further south in the Visayan region. The storm came hot on the heels of a 7.2 earthquake in the same region in October. The earthquake demolished many historic buildings, left over 200 dead and many of the survivors were still living in tents when the typhoon hit.
3) The British prime minister has become more prime ministerial and less like a president
The July issue of Parliamentary Affairs is now online and this issue’s Editor’s Choice isThe Prime Ministerialisation of the British Prime Minister by Keith Dowding. The full article is free to download from the Oxford Journals website.
For forty years or more commentators have suggested that the British prime minister is becoming presidential. Whilst the recent coalition government has given some pause to that claim it shows little sign of permanently abating.
4) Typhoon Aftermath will be Aquino’s Legacy
On 8 November 2013 super typhoon Yolanda (or Haiyan as it is known outside the Philippines) cut a swathe through the Visayan region. Yolanda was one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall and the damage left in her wake was catastrophic. At the time of writing more than 7000 are missing or dead, vast areas of agricultural land has been devastated and whole towns have been destroyed. International media reports have focused on the city of Tacloban, which was virtually demolished by the storm. Yolanda has been a public relations disaster for Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, this short article will examine why.
5) Polling Observatory 31: No joy from the polls as festive season approaches
Both of the largest parties have had something to crow about in November – the Conservatives have trumpeted growing statistical evidence of a recovery as vindication of their economic strategy, while Labour have received a shot in the arm from the surprisingly strong response to their proposals to freeze energy bills, which have pushed the government onto the back foot. Yet our most recent look at the polling evidence suggests that, despite all the shouting from their cheerleaders, neither party has yet received any meaningful boost in support as a result of these developments. Labour’s support has fallen half a point to 37.8%, giving up half of the one point bounce we noted last month. Over the past six months or so commentators have claimed that Labour, among other things, is in crisis, is resurgent, is surging ahead, is slipping back and is melting away. Yet when the poll data is considered in the aggregate, there is almost no movement at all: Labour have been dead steady at around 37% to 38% for more than six months. The last significant shift in its support came in early spring, around the time of Margaret Thatcher’s death, when Labour lost 2 percentage points of support that they have failed to win back since. It is not clear if the Iron Lady’s demise really lead some voters to rethink their view of Labour, but it is as plausible a theory as any of the others floating around in the comment pages, and has the notable advantage of actually fitting the evidence.