Keeping paper voting: right policy, wrong reason

In six days, Britons will use stubby little pencils to put crosses next to people’s names on pieces of paper. In each of 650 areas, the person with the most crosses becomes a member of parliament. If more than half of those MPs come from one party, that party forms a government and its leader is prime minister. It’s easy to understand and trust.

If someone hacks your bank account, you will notice and will probably be able to get recompense. If someone hacks an election, you are unlikely to know unless your votes was published – which would rather undermine the concept of a secret ballot. Also, we can all understand people counting pieces of paper. Very few of us, including apparently many NHS organisations, can say likewise for computer security. Continue reading

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New date for free training on using data to make more money from freelancing: 9 June

If you missed my training course on Using data to make more money from freelancing last December, it is scheduled to run again on Friday 9 June at Equity’s offices on Upper St Martin’s Lane in London. (If you attended and found it useful, please tell a friend.) You can attend for free if you are a freelance member of one of the following unions: Equity, the Musicians’ Union, the National Union of Journalists and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. Continue reading

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For three metro mayors, it’s going to be all about the economy

Black circles show relative populations of each metro mayor city region; turnout and party of winner shown by coloured circle (added when result available)

  New metro mayor Turnout Population
West Midlands Andy Street, Conservative  26.3% 2.83m
Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, Labour  28.6% 2.76m
Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, Labour  25.9% 1.52m
West of England Tim Bowles, Conservative  29.3% 909,000
Peterborough and Cambridgeshire James Palmer,  Conservative  32.9% 841,000
Tees Valley Ben Houchen, Conservative  21% 667,000

Average turnout adjusted by population: 27%

The results are in from the six metro mayor votes held yesterday, with results and turnout mapped above. But as noted in yesterday’s post and map, the six city regions have a combined population of 9.53m compared with Greater London’s 8.67m, with their combined economies producing just 57% of the capital’s output. Continue reading

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Six new metro mayors’ economies worth just 57% of London’s

Relative economic outputs (coloured circles) and populations (black circles) of six metro mayor city regions, as well as Greater London

Today, people in six metropolitan areas with a total population of 9.53m are voting for  new metro mayors, more than Greater London’s 8.67m. But despite the elections covering many of provincial England’s biggest and richest cities, their combined economies generate just 57% of London’s. Continue reading

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The paranoid style in IT journalism

There’s a type of technology journalism which is the non-fiction equivalent of a horror story, the opposite of uncritical technophilia. Scaring readers is a pretty good way to hold their attention, but it doesn’t necessarily get to the heart of the story. Continue reading

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