England & Wales Democracy, devolution and governance

GE17 lite #1


Not long now! Over the next three weeks we are going to do the occasional roundup on the blog of what’s going on in election world with links to more indepth coverage in our members’ only policy briefings and other LGiU material.

Is that a manifestation of (real) policy I see before me? (And not just more soundbites?)

For a so-called snap election, campaigning seems to have been going on for quite a while already.

So although it may feel like you have heard it all already, this week was actually manifestos week with Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives all setting out their stalls for the electorate to peruse. There are of course the usual arguments about whether or not some of the items on display have been wrongly priced up.

There were promises of more money for local government (Labour); £7bn for schools and colleges (LibDem); and a shake up of how and how much people will have to pay for their own social care (Conservatives). We are doing members only policy briefings on the manifestos of the three main parties.

It’s facebook wot won it

Yesterday, the Information Commissioner’s Office launched an investigation into how political parties use data analytics in social media campaigns. Both press and political parties are emphasising the importance of social media to this campaign. In 2015 political parties spent £1.3m on targeted facebook advertising, with little real transparency on how that was used and this time round you know it will be more. The Financial Times and The Guardian, among others, have interesting things to say on this. And ‘Who targets me’ is a citizen-led project attempting to identify how political parties are using big data to target voters.

More women as candidates

Meanwhile using data in other ways, the Telegraph and Democracy Club are reporting that the proportion of women candidates standing in the election this year is the highest on record. But before everyone gets too excited women still only make up 29 per cent of the candidates.

The past is another country (thanks LP Hartley) and so are Ireland and Scotland…

It’s the constitution stupid. What’s hitting the general election headlines in Scotland, Ireland – Republic and Northern? – the border. How do the parties see the future post brexit? How are the relationships between the North and South going to survive? In Scotland – it’s independence (and brexit). OK – these aren’t the only issues but they are pretty dominant.

Which reminds us – brexit.

If we were cynical at the LGiU (which we are not) we might say all the parties could have saved a lot of money and just published one paragraph – “we have lots of ideas for government but let’s face it unless they don’t require any legislative time or civil servant resources, they may just not happen – or how will all that maze of EU legislation become UK law? By osmosis? We think not”.


LGIU members policy briefings

General Election 2017: Labour manifesto – ‘For the many not the few’

General Election: Electoral issues for local authorities