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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘united kingdom

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • blogTO notes that Toronto will be holding a public meeting on ways to host the city’s music scene.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at a recent transit study of Alpha Centauri B that hints at the existence fo a second close-orbiting planet.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper on rogue exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at Korean military aircraft procurement.
  • Steve Munro writes at length about the minutiae of TTC signaling contracts.
  • Torontoist notes that most people in a recent Forum Research poll want alcoholic beverages to be available in grocery stores.
  • Towleroad argues that the show Looking could have benefitted from a mote interesting take on sex.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy suggests the Indiana religious freedom law isn’t as bad as described.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russians are misled about their relationship with China, notes the relative decline of the arms industry vis-a-vis more advanced competitors, looks at the impact on Crimean mass media of Russian annexation, and examines problematic links between Russia and Latvian Russophones.
  • The Yorkshire Ranter continues to write (1, 2, 3) about the ill-thought Biryani Project.

[LINK] “Sturgeon Says Nationalists Can Win Every Seat in Scotland”

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Bloomberg’s Robert Hutton reports. British politics can get very interesting, I think.

Scottish Nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon said her party can win all of Scotland’s 59 seats in the May 7 U.K. general election.

The SNP is meeting in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, for its pre-election conference on the back of a huge surge in support after failing to win last year’s referendum on independence. Polls suggest the SNP may win as many as 50 districts and become the third-biggest party in the House of Commons in London.

“No constituency is off limits for the SNP in this election,” Sturgeon, who’s also the first minister in the Scotland’s semi-autonomous government, told activists Saturday. “We will fight for every vote and every seat. Let’s get out there and turn these poll predictions into reality.”

Written by Randy McDonald

March 30, 2015 at 10:40 pm

[LINK] “The Scottish Streets Where a U.K. Election Will Be Won or Lost”

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In an extended article, Bloomberg’s Rodney Jefferson looks at Scotland, where in the next British election the Scottish National Party may not only drive out Labour but end up providing needed support for a Labour minority government. Shades of the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition government under Stéphane Dion some years ago, here.

Six months after a referendum on independence put politics back into pubs and living rooms, the movement that brought voters out in record numbers and rattled financial markets has evolved into a mass phenomenon sweeping Scotland.

Rather than retreating after Scots voted to remain in the three-centuries-old union with England, the nationalists have harnessed that radical spirit and directed it at the U.K. Parliament at Westminster. SNP membership has quadrupled to 100,000, or one in 43 Scottish voters, and polls suggest the surge in support will translate into votes in May, placing Scotland once more at the heart of deciding the U.K.’s fate.

“It’s unprecedented, on a different scale,” Nicola McEwen, associate director of the Centre on Constitutional Change at Edinburgh University, said in an interview. “The referendum was never about a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I just didn’t foresee how the extent to which the ‘yes’ alliance mobilized behind the SNP.”

The Scottish nationalists meet this weekend for their pre-election convention in Glasgow amid unprecedented electoral expectations under new leader Nicola Sturgeon. The party’s rise is reverberating beyond Scotland’s borders because polls point to the U.K. election producing no clear winner, potentially handing the SNP a decisive role in who governs the country which they are committed to splitting up.

[. . .]

Polls show the SNP, which opposes the Conservative-led U.K. government’s fiscal austerity, is ahead in at least 40 of Scotland’s 59 districts. It currently has six lawmakers at Westminster. If the polls are replicated on Election Day, the SNP could become the third-biggest force in U.K. politics, with the main opposition Labour Party which has dominated Scottish politics for decades the biggest casualty.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 26, 2015 at 10:26 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • Centauri Dreams examines different ways in which starships can decelerate.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the potential habitability of exomoons orbiting bright white main-sequence stars, between F5 and F9.5. Ultraviolet radiation is key.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes a Chinese ASAT weapons test.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the Swedish language now has officially added the gender-neutral pronoun hen to its vocabulary.
  • Language Hat notes an ambitious new project to digitize ancient Irish-language documents.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer is critical of the Democratic Party’s stance on abortion when it gets in the way of necessary policy, likening it to the Republican Party’s ongoing satisfaction of its base.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the final interesting weeks of Messenger‘s survey of Mercury, with photos.
  • Peter Rukavina remembers when in 1995 he was commissioned by the government of Prince Edward Island to set up a provincial website.
  • Torontoist reacts with humour to the impending merger of Postmedia and Sun Media.
  • Towleroad notes a lawsuit brought by a Michigan women against her former gym for being too trans-friendly.
  • Understanding Society examines the mechanisms connecting experiments with policies.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues against mandatory voting and mandatory jury service.
  • Window on Eurasia observes a controversial election among Moldova’s Gagauz and looks at the extent to which Islam in Russia is not under the government’s control.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell goes on at length about the ridiculous Biryani project, a failed dirty tricks effort to sabotage the English Defense League and radical Muslims. Wow.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • Alpha Sources’ Claus Vistesen argues that as a result of various factors including shrinking populations, economic bubbles are going to be quite likely.
  • blogTO argues that Toronto’s strip clubs are in trouble.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly wonders who is going to pay for journalism in the future.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at ringed Centaur objects.
  • Crooked Timber’s Daniel Davies describes his family’s recent experience in New Zealand. Want to find out how the Maori are like the Welsh?
  • D-Brief notes the return of wood bison to the United States.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting Alpha Centauri Bb is a superdense world.
  • The Dragon’s Tales note Indonesia’s upset with Chinese claims to the South China Sea.
  • Far Outliers reports on how NGOs feed corruption in Cambodia.
  • Language Hat links to a gazetteer of placenames in Jamaica.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair looks at some Sino-English constructions.
  • Marginal Revolution points to its collection of Singapore-related posts.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers Cassini‘s footage of Saturn’s F ring.
  • The Power and the Money hosts Will Baird’s argument that the Ukrainian east will soon see an explosion of violence.
  • Spacing Toronto and Torontoist look at the architectural competition for the Toronto Islands ferry terminal.
  • Torontoist reports on Martin Luther King’s 1962 visit to Toronto.
  • Towleroad notes a raging syphillis epidemic among gay men in New York City’s Chelsea neighbourhood.
  • Window on Eurasia notes changes in the Islam of Tatarstan, notes Russia’s transition towards totalitarianism, observes Russian claims of Finnish meddling in Karelia, and looks at polls suggesting Ukrainians fear Russia but do not trust the European Union.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell describes what seems to have been a shambolic attempt to co-opt the English Defense League somehow. (I don’t understand it. All I can figure out is that.

[LINK] “Scotland poll shows a nation on the verge of abandoning Labour”

At The Guardian‘s datablog, Alberto Nardelli suggests that, come the next British general election, the SNP will sweep Scotland and practically destroy Labour. This has implications for the future of Britain’s Labour Party, but even more so for the future of Scotland within the United Kingdom.

Make no mistake, Labour’s crisis in Scotland is profound. That’s the inescapable conclusion of Lord Ashcroft’s 14 constituency polls that show the party losing all but one of the Labour-held seats surveyed.

The swing from Labour to the Scottish National party (SNP) is above 20% in all 14 of those seats – the average is 25% – the kind of shift that is arguably seen only once in a generation.

That is not all. More troubling for Labour is the fact that among all voters under 44, support for the SNP is nearly double that of Labour. The SNP leads across all age groups, except among those aged 65 and above.

To make matters even worse for Ed Miliband’s party, the seats polled by Ashcroft are among the ones Labour won with the highest margins five years ago – and the swing in these is even greater than the one implied in Scotland-wide polls.

On the Guardian’s modelling, based on current polls, the SNP would win 54 out of the 59 seats in Scotland. The Lib Dems would retain one, Orkney and Shetland, and Labour four.

But, curiously, when you look at the impact of these polls on the most recent projection, the most likely next government remains unchanged. Some sort of Labour-SNP alliance is still the most probable starting point of any feasible government because the Conservatives remain far short of an overall majority, where 326 seats are needed. The current arithmetic also means that feasible Tory options fall some way short of the required numbers.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 5, 2015 at 10:58 pm

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO lists the five oldest restaurants in Toronto, finding out that the oldest date from the 1920s.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about how tourism helps revive her sense that people are good.
  • Centauri Dreams considers how an Encyclopedia Galactica could possibly work.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to papers speculating that hot massive O-class stars HD
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    and IRAS 16547−4247 appear to have protoplanetary disks, and notes the discovery of a very low-mass brown dwarf.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to an article suggesting that China will deploy military forces to Africa.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the sociology of music.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Sigrún Davíðsdóttir comes out against strongly against FX lending, like the franc-denominated mortgages of central Europe.
  • Language Hat links to poetry from neglected languages and notes that in medieval Europe, Germanic areas had much better Latin than Romance areas where people thought they already spoke the language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the Roman Catholic Church’s uncomfortable relationship to colonizers.
  • Marginal Revolution looks at who in the United States is moving out of the labour force.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers what might happen to Venezuelan assets in the case of a default, noting British law which might be relevant and looking at the question of whether or not Venezuela’s creditors could seize Citgo.
  • Savage Minds features a blog post from Ritu Gairola Khanduri, talking about the importance of cartoons in India.
  • Towleroad argues that trans actor Janet Mock should be considered an icon.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes why bakers can’t be forced to take orders for anti-gay cakes.
  • Window on Eurasia notes regressive Russian attitudes towards Ukraine, and looks at how Russia is rejecting European legal norms.
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