Mapping Preferences over Brexit in the House of Commons

“The network graph shows how different options are related to each other: they are closer if a greater number of MPs have voted for them. Their size shows the number of favourable votes for each option (none of them obtained a majority.”

Alexandre Afonso

In the graph above (zoomable version here), I have mapped the votes of British MPs in the 8 options given to them on March 27 (a couple of hours ago) in indicative votes. This is a 2-mode network linking MPs and options for Brexit. The network graph shows how different options are related to each other: they are closer if a greater number of MPs have voted for them. Their size shows the number of favourable votes for each option (none of them obtained a majority. The graph show the high level of polarisation over these different options, with two clear poles: the “Hard Brexit” pole with a number of MPs for whom the only option is No Deal, or a preferential trade arrangement, and the Soft Brexit-No Brexit pole, linking the Customs Union, Labour’s Plan and a Second Referendum/Revocation of article 50. The EFTA/EEA and Common Market 2.0…

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“It took just 10 years from scribbling this in prison, as leader of a banned party, for Hitler to achieve power. That happened, primarily, because the German economy collapsed and because no major power was willing to enforce the world “order” established at Versailles in 1919. But it also happened because, by the mid-1930s, a lot of people had begun to hate each other.

Since 1945, every generation in the educated world has been taught “the lessons” of the rise of Nazism. But surveying the world at the start of 2016 it seems as if we have been learning the wrong lessons. The world is awash with hatred. And since around a quarter of its inhabitants have mobile social media accounts we are leaving a very detailed evidential trail about its spread.”

As Mein Kampf returns to Germany, the world is again awash with hatred | Paul Mason

Have your say on the future of our BBC

I am posting this here in case anyone hasn’t seen it.

Last night I filled in my answers to the governments public consultation document for the future of the BBC. It has been sneeked out and the questions are weighted heavily so it is essential that anyone who cares about the BBC and would like to see it’s future secured in a way that benefits everyone, take the time to fill it in. It takes about quarter of an hour. There is just over a day left.

Here’s the link.

Here are my answers. They’re not perfect, but they’re done:


How well is the BBC serving its national and international audiences?
Extremely well. With news coverage, drama and especially documentaries. I also use the podcasting feature a lot and the radio iplayer.

Which elements of universality are most important for the BBC?
The BBC is a relied upon national institution, unique in the world. It is trusted universally and is a major driving part of British culture. It is extremely important that ti’s content is advert free as it provides a space for thought and consideration free from sponsorship.

Is the BBC’s content sufficiently high quality and distinctive from that of other broadcasters? What could improve it?
The nature of the BBC allows new talent and ideas to grow organically, many cultural icons with global influence exist today because they were nurtured and allowed to grow on the BBC. The BBC should be allowed to produce the kind of content that other companies cannot due to to market forces being their main drive.

Where does the evidence suggest the BBC has a positive or negative wider impact on the market?
It is extremely important that BBC news comes free from any adverts or sponsorship for obvious reasons. The powerhouse of innovation and creativity which the unique way the BBC is funded produces some of the most important cultural forces we have today. It is a shelter for innovation which produces benefits which far out way the investment.

Is the expansion of the BBC’s services justified in the context of increased choice for audiences? Is the BBC crowding out commercial competition and, if so, is this justified?
It is essential that the BBC provides an alternative to other commercial news and online content, if people choose to use the BBC over it’s competitors because of it’s high quality then surely that proves it’s value. If other commercial companies feel they are being pushed out maybe they should rethink their strategy of connecting with people. Their audience will not increase just because the BBC is not there.

Has the BBC been doing enough to deliver value for money? How could it go further?
The BBC is incredible value for money, if one compares it with any online subscription service. To get the equivalent breadth and range of content using other services one would have to spend considerably more than £12 per month, possibly 5 to 10 times that amount.

How should we pay for the BBC and how should the licence fee be modernised?
I think the existing license fee system is fair. I would like to see the BBC supplement this by providing an fee paying subscription for the iPlayer for non-UK customers.

How should the relationship between Parliament, Government, Ofcom, the National Audit Office and the BBC work? What accountability structures and expectations, including financial transparency and spending controls should apply?
The BBC should be supported by government but this regular interference by successive administration is unhelpful. There is room for improvement in the way the BBC is run, but I do not think many politicians have the breadth of knowledge and experience to be applying their opinions to the corporation. I also believe may politicians are under the influence of corporate lobbyists representing the interests of those who want to see the BBC diminished for their own personal gain. The BBC is for the people of Great Britain, it is for them to decide if the fee is suitable and appropriate and not a few politicians.

(cross posted from Facebook)

It broke under your watch, what’s happening now is just the unravelling.

Watching the likes of Tony Blair and his -ites get so passionate against a distinctly democratic surge in the Labour Party with the legacy they left, makes one wonder why they didn’t think of applying that kind of passion in keeping the Tory Swing Voters they’re so adamant they need.

I missed this from Channel Four News a few weeks ago, it addresses some key points I think.

“When I look at ‘New Labour’ I wonder whether it wasn’t like trying to light a bonfire on a frozen lake – looked marvellous, bright lights, shining white, but you melted away your own support.”