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My analysis of British local by-elections from the first half of September 2022

  Readers, the results of British local by-elections from the first half of September 2022 were as follows: (1/9/22): Redditch BC, Headless Cross & Oakenshaw : Labour 767 (41.9%, +17.7%), Conservative 686 (37.5%, -25.4%), Liberal Democrats 274 (15.0%, +9.3%), Green 102 (5.6%, -1.6%). Labour gain from Conservative; all changes are since 2021. Worcestershire CC, Arrow Valley West : Labour 1,342 (53.7%, +17.4%), Conservative 893 (35.7%, -15.5%), Green 146 (5.8%, -0.9%), Liberal Democrats 120 (4.8%, -1.0%). Labour gain from Conservative. (8/9/22): Arun DC, Barnham : Green 786 (50.9%, +19.1%), Conservative 641 (41.5%, +11.3%), Labour 116 (7.5%, -8.0%). Green gain from Conservative. Cannock Chase DC, Hednesford North : Labour 290 (38.1%, +4.8%), Chase Community Independent 228 (30.0%, +2.6%), Conservative 208 (27.3%, -12.0%), Independent (Harborow) 35 (4.6%). Labour gain from Conservative; all changes are since 2021. Hartlepool UA, Foggy Furze : Labour 443 (43.9%, +23.8%), Conservative 3

My analysis of the Swedish general election of 2022

The Swedish general election of 2022 generated some surprising results, despite also averting pollsters' predictions significantly. The last three years in particular proved to be a rough ride for the Social Democrat led governments of Stefan Lofven and Magdalena Andersson respectively. Although Sweden's laxer approach to the COVID-19 pandemic (compared to most countries in Europe, which imposed lockdowns during much of 2020 and 2021, an approach that arguably caused more problems than it solved) proved effective, Mr Lofven's desire to lift the austerity tax (which only affected a wealthy minority, similar in nature to the wealth tax initiative of former French President Francois Hollande) and to join NATO proved contentious, with two of the Social Democrats' former coalition partners (the Swedish Greens and Swedish Left Party, who had both pulled out of confidence and supply) unsurprisingly voting against Swedish accession to NATO membership (all other parties in the R

My tribute to Mikhail Gorbachev

  Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR, died yesterday. Like many of his contemporaries behind the former Iron Curtain, Mr Gorbachev grew up in humble surroundings, his parents working on collective farms in rural Russia. He rose through the ranks of the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) to reach the Politburo in 1980, just five years before he became Secretary-General (de facto leader of the USSR). He was expected to succeed Yuri Andropov upon Mr Andropov's death in 1984, but Konstantin Chernenko was selected instead. Mr Chernenko died the following year and Mikhail Gorbachev finally achieved the position he needed to implement his reform programme, under the terms glasnost ("openness") and perestroika ("restructuring"). Ironically, in trying to modernise the USSR with those reforms, he brought about its demise. Not only were Russians increasingly tired of the whole planned economic system, but leaders in other Iron Curtain countries (especia

My analysis of British local by-elections during August 2022

 Readers, the results of British local by-elections that took place during August 2022 were as follows: (4/8/22): Luton UA, Dallow: Labour 1,486 (53.6%, -11.7%), Liberal Democrats 1,076 (38.8%), Conservative 154 (5.6%, -7.6%), Independent (Schiemann) 58 (2.1%). [Other Independent did not stand] Shetland UA, North Isles (1st preference votes, all candidates were Independents): Robert Thomson 680 (68.6%), Sonia Robertson 106 (10.7%), Gary Cleaver 100 (10.1%), Maria Williamson 92 (9.3%), Stewart Douglas 13 (1.3%).  (11/8/22): Bridgend UA, Bridgend Central : Independent (Easterbrook) 716 (46.8%, +2.2%*), Labour 590 (38.6%, -4.1%), Conservative 150 (9.8%, -2.9%), Green 40 (2.6%), Liberal Democrats 34 (2.2%). Independent gain from Labour. Spelthorne BC, Laleham & Shepperton Green : Conservative 810 (55.5%, +23.4%), Liberal Democrats 578 (39.6%, +23.3%), TUSC 71 (4.9%). [Greens, UKIP, and Labour did not stand] Wychavon DC, Dodderhill : Conservative 199 (48.9%), Green 176 (43.2%), Liberal

My analysis of British local by-elections from the second fortnight of July 2022

  Readers, the results of British local by-elections from the second fortnight of July 2022 were as follows: (20/07/22): Basildon BC, Nethermayne : Independent (Larkin) 909 (62.7%, -10.4%), Conservative 233 (16.1%, +8.9%), Labour 169 (11.7%, -0.2%), Liberal Democrats 102 (7.0%, +3.8%), Reform UK 37 (2.6%). All changes are since 2019. (21/07/22): Lancaster BC, Harbour : Labour 555 (47.9%, +4.5%), Liberal Democrats 479 (41.4%), Conservative 124 (10.7%, -2.6%). [Morecambe Bay Independents did not stand] North Warwickshire DC, Hartshill : Conservative 351 (53.3%, +4.9%), Labour 307 (46.7%, +13.0%). [Greens did not stand] South Staffordshire DC, Penkridge North East & Acton Trussel : Conservative 388 (47.8%), Liberal Democrats 378 (46.6%), Labour 45 (5.6%). (28/07/22): Colchester BC, Lexden & Braiswick : Conservative 1,372 (63.7%, +9.4%), Liberal Democrats 621 (28.8%, +10.6%), Labour 161 (7.5%, -3.7%). All changes are since 2021. [Greens did not stand] North East Derbyshire DC, Pils

My tribute to David Trimble, Baron Trimble of Lisnagarvey

David Trimble, latterly Lord Trimble (or Baron Trimble of Lisnagarvey, to give his official title when he was in the House of Lords), the first First Minister of Northern Ireland who like John Hume played an instrumental part in ensuring peace in Northern Ireland via the Good Friday Agreement, died earlier this week. Although Lord Trimble, who led the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) for 10 years was initially elected as a more conservative, traditional unionist leader, he eventually realised, having initially opposed any power sharing between unionists and nationalists for years, that brokering a peace agreement involving both sides of the sectarian divide in Northern Ireland was the only way Northern Ireland could move on from its past and forge a new future. Previous attempts at a Northern Ireland Assembly had failed before following the collapse of the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1972, but Lord Trimble knew that a permanent Assembly, following the Northern Ireland Forum of 1996, was

My analysis of British local by-elections from the first fortnight of July 2022

  Readers, the results of British local by-elections from the first fortnight of July 2022 were as follows: (7/7/22): Camden LBC, Hampstead Town: Liberal Democrats 919 (40.9%, +20.1%), Conservative 620 (27.6%, -11.8%), Labour 559 (24.9%, -15.0%), Green 104 (4.6%), Independent (Livingstone) 44 (2.0%), National Housing Party 1 (0.0%). Liberal Democrat gain from Labour. Chesterfield BC, Hollingwood & Inkersall : Labour 747 (48.5%, +15.1%), Independent (Rhodes) 676 (43.9%, -9.2%)*, Green 118 (7.7%). Labour gain from Independent. [Conservatives and Liberal Democrats did not stand] Epsom & Ewell BC, West Ewell : Residents' Association 549 (43.4%, -28.9%), Labour 395 (31.2%, +20.4%), Conservative 205 (16.2%, +8.3%), Liberal Democrats 117 (9.2%, +0.3%). Hackney LBC, De Beauvoir: Labour 758 (41.5%, -15.8%), Green 731 (40.3%, +21.3%), Liberal Democrats 133 (7.3%, -6.6%), Independent Network 83 (4.6%, -4.9%), Conservative 82 (4.5%), Women's Equality Party 27 (1.5%). Milton Keyne