Our Voting System Is STILL Broken!

Please take a moment to look at these two maps, especially if you voted in the recent General Election (#GE2017).

Just as I did for the UK General Election two years ago in 2015, I’ve taken it upon myself to analyse the results and highlight the differences (and imbalance) between the First Past the Post and Proportional Representation (D’Hondt) systems.

Again, after looking at the results of the General Election in some detail it is still apparent  that our voting system in this country is very, very broken! Just to remind everyone, we don’t actually vote for parties (and therefore governments), we simply vote for our local representative. The total number of votes a party receives is not taken into consideration at all, which seems a little strange, particularly when you consider that all through the election campaigns we hear ‘Vote Conservative’ or ‘Vote SNP’, not ‘Vote Bob Smith, your local MP’.

So, as I am still a tremendous geek, I got my hands on all the numbers, created a database and generated some maps!

The first image is the results as you will have seen them using the First Past the Post method. I merely created this one for reference.

First Pas the Post 2017

The second image is the same numbers, this time evaluated using the D’Hondt method for calculating Proportional Representation. This method quite literally calculates the number of seats a party should get based on their proportion of the overall votes cast. I then assigned constituencies to each party (largest first) based on the constituencies in which they received the most votes, thus insuring that (for the most part and where possible) the local representative reflects the local preference.

Interestingly, the constituency of the Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles) in Scotland ended up with an MP from the Ulster Unionist Party… who only stand in Northern Ireland! This shows two things:

  1. It is not appropriate for local issues parties to stand in a country wide election (IMHO).
  2. My method for seat distribution under D’Hondt PR may be somewhat simplistic!

D'Hondt Proportional Representation 2017

As can be seen, the difference is astounding! The Liberal Democrats would have 48MPs not 12, UKIP would have 12MPs not 0, the Green Party would have 10MPs not 1, the SNP would have 20MPs not 35! Most importantly, The Conservative Party would have had a much harder time finding an ally to form a minority as they would have had 38 less seats and only 16 more than second party Labour.

Seeing these results, I still really don’t understand how anyone can argue against the fact that, using PR, we would have a balanced, fairer and more representative government.

Please like and share this if you agree. Lets make ourselves heard.

Also, consider getting involved by liking or joining the Electoral Reform Society (Scotland) and by lobbying your local representatives at Council, Local Assembly and Governmental level. Check out TheyWorkForYou to find out who they are!

NB. these images were made for demonstration purposes only, assumptions are made and errors happen, so if something is wrong its not intentional! These image were made my me (Rob Kent) using the Python programming language, PostgreSQL, NumPy and matplotlib with data from BBC News, the Office for National Statistics and the Ordnance Survey and OpenDataNI.

Our Voting System Is Broken!

Please take a moment to look at these two maps, especially if you voted in the recent General Election (‪#‎GE2015‬).

After looking at the results of the General Election in some detail over the past few days it has become more apparent than ever to me that our voting system in this country is very, very broken! We don’t actually vote for parties (and therefore governments), we simply vote for our local representative. The total number of votes a party receives is not taken into consideration at all, which seems a little strange, particularly when you consider that all through the election campaigns we hear ‘Vote Conservative’ or ‘Vote SNP’, not ‘Vote Bob Smith, your local MP’.

So, being a tremendous geek, I got my hands on all the numbers, created a database and generated the following two images.

The first image is the results as you will have seen them using the First Past the Post method. I merely created this one for reference.

First Past the Post

The second image is the same numbers, this time evaluated using the D’Hondt method for calculating Proportional Representation. This method quite literally calculates the number of seats a party should get based on there proportion of the overall votes cast. I then assigned constituencies to each party (largest first) based on the constituencies in which they received the most votes, thus insuring that (for the most part and where possible) the local representative reflects the local preference.

D'Hondt Proportional Representation

As can be seen, the difference is astounding! UKIP would have 83MPs not 1, the Green Party would have 25MPs not 1, the SNP would have 31MPs not 56!

Seeing these results, I really don’t understand how anyone can argue against the fact that, using PR, we would have a balanced, fairer and more representative government.

Please like and share this if you agree. Lets make ourselves heard.

Also, consider getting involved by liking or joining the Electoral Reform Society (Scotland) and by lobbying your local representatives at Council, Local Assembly and Governmental level. Check out TheyWorkForYou to find out who they are!

NB. these images were made for demonstration purposes only, assumptions are made and errors happen, so if something is wrong its not intentional! These image were made my me (Rob Kent) using the Python programming language, SQLite, NumPy and matplotlib with data from BBC News, the Office for National Statistics and the Ordnance Survey.

Soundsticks: Hum Free!

So, last week (Tuesday to be precise) my boss came to me and offered me his Harman Kardon Soundsticks… gratis. Very generous you may think, and so it is, there was however a minor catch: a terrible hum! These speakers are designed to be left switched on permanently and have been for 10+ years (these are the original Soundsticks, not the new fangled ones!). Over the last few weeks it appears they had developed an annoying and persistent hum which, whilst basically inaudible when playing music, is ever and very present the rest of the time. My boss solved this issue by buying a new set of Soundsticks and donating the original set to me. I too have have since solved the issue as follows.

Once I got the speakers home, the first thing I did was apply power whence forth did issue the promised hum. Power supply say’s I! More specifically the capacitors in the power supply are probably goosed and not adequately filtering noise. Furthermore, when attaching to my MacBook everything worked fine for a few seconds but then there was a loud squelch of noise and then nothing. Unplugging and replugging the USB cable would reestablish the output for a few seconds and then the same would happen. However, leaving everything plugged in, but not playing, for about 20 minutes solved the issue and we had full volume and power. Definitely power supply! A quick look at the power supply brick revealed the output to be 16VDC @ 1.5A. An even quicker look on eBay found me a replacement 3rd party power supply for Sony laptops, 16VDC @ 4A and only £6.40 delivered: sold! That arrived on Monday and this evening 10mins with a soldering iron has resulted in perfectly working, hum free Soundsticks! I won’t go into the details but, because of the funky connector used, I lopped the barrel connector off of the new laptop brick and the proceeded to separate the afore mentioned funky connector and most of the flex from the original power supply. Some solder, heatshrink and a bit of sparky tape was then employed to graft one onto the other. Simple but effective.