Friday 14 June 2024

Election blues, election reds: new compo question

I have just read the election manifestos published so far[1], and mighty depressing reading they make.  Realistically, only the Labour document has the slightest bearing on anything: and given its complete divorce from reality, even that only exists to make fun of Starmer in later years when he fails to deliver on any but the most trivial items from it.  In large part it adopts the old Blairite formula of sentences without verbs, or purely descriptive sentences[2], so that no promise whatever is contained within.

Readers will not be surprised to learn I focus most closely on the Energy sections.  Labour's is remarkable for proclaiming 650,000 new "Green Prosperity" jobs across the country by 2030.  Oh, and these will be "good" jobs - presumably of a technical nature?   Y'know, building all that truly epic amount of new stuff on their shopping list, that will deliver a zero carbon electricity system by 2030?  Right, so where is the skill base that would enable 650,000 new technical staff to spring to attention when required?  Not home-grown, that's for sure.  More work visas all round!  Or, in the alternative (as lawyers say), if 650,000 skilled personnel are required, yet another among the dozens of reasons why it ain't gonna happen.

The other phenomenon, which almost deserves some kind of psychological analysis, is that all the manifestos cheerfully state that more renewable energy will bring down energy bills forever.  Why do politicians feel able to write this utterly nonsensical stuff down in black and white?  Why do notionally intelligent people seem to believe it?  

But enough: there's no point.  Moving to more light-hearted matters:  will anyone bother to vote?  Many traditionally ultra-loyal Tories are heartily pissed off by Sunak's D-Day faux pas.  Many people assume Labour will win so comfortably, they won't need anyone actually to get off their arses and go to the poll.  Da yoof is pretty pissed off all round, and they know voting Green gets you nowhere.  So ...

2024 predictions compo: Midsummer supplementary question - what will be the voter turnout at the GE?



[1]  Nothing yet from SNP or Reform.  But we know what they think.

[2]  E.g. from the 'Make Britain a Clean Energy Superpower' chapter:

Without action, flooding and coastal erosion will pose greater risks to lives, livelihoods and people’s wellbeing

OK - so then, errr ..?   But we wait in vain, because no concrete actions are promised.


Wildgoose said...

Of the 20 British seats where Reform aren't standing, 5 are in Sheffield. Sheffield has 5 and a half/shared constituencies. I wonder what happened there?

Fortunately, I have an SDP candidate and will be voting SDP. I believe they now support an English Parliament (like the English Democrats). Let's face it, we need a radical change to shake things up. Remaking the UK state would be just that, and it's long overdue. As an Englishman I have been a second-class citizen since New Labour's unbalanced Devolution in 1998.

Wildgoose said...

Poll: Voter Turnout 66%

People want change, but nobody is enthusiastic about what is on offer. Increases in one part of the Electorate will be counter-balanced by discouragement in other parts.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the turnout will be no higher than 62%. There really should be an option at the foot of the ballot paper to select, “None of the Above”.

Anonymous said...


I'm tempted not to vote.

PS - any thoughts on the abandonment/non-renewal of the petrodollar deal?

I guess it all depends on whether the Saudis actually use their new-found freedom. I can't see them moving far from the dollar atm.

Old Git Carlisle said...

Met my ex MP or to be more precise who would be my ex MP if boundaries had changed that I hd been an active Tory for 50 years until 'call me Dave ' had implemented social changes I found unacceptable. Said I always vote but now spoil my papers. He did not rise.
Wish we had 'non of these' options.

Matt said...

Labour destroying the UKCS oil & gas industry will apparently pay for the green investment. How does that work?
In 5 years when it's gone, the government will realise how stupid it was and try to get it back on-stream. But no company will invest as they won't trust any assurances around investment stability. In addition, if the government tries a state run enterprise there will be no skilled staff left as they will have retired. Young people, having been put off from entering the industry due to the constant demonisation about climate change, aren't going to replace them.
Still, it's no more retarded than the pandemic response I suppose.

Nick Drew said...

Read more carefully, Matt: they've pledged to retain the oil & gas industry "for decades to come", and the only mention of not issuing new licences is for exploration. This clearly means new production licences will be OK. And sunak has already issued exploration licences for just about everywhere, so the whole Lab licence thing is empty virtue-signalling

that leaves the windfall tax. I doubt that will destroy the UKCS: it's profit-based (at most: falls to nothing when prices fall below certain levels), and the remaining fields aren't / won't be wildly profitable

you're right about recruiting, though - all oil co's have the devil of a job attracting GenZ. Shell (e.g.) mostly recruits grad engineers in Asia now (more work visas, hahah!)

Anomalous Cowshed said...

About 65%, off roughly 2ppt or so, equivalent to 2010, 2015 levels. Not seeing a huge amount of enthusiasm for the whole rigmarole. Still, about three weeks to go so who knows?

Diogenes said...

Not voting even though I have the choice of 10 candidates!!

It was pointed out a while ago, HMG has become a money transfer machine. Actual government spending on services is circa £500m (DEL). Investment (CAP) is circa £100m. The rest is money transfer on debt interest, benefits and mostly pensions. Almost everyone has become a client of the state in terms of cash being recirculated from one voter's pocket to another.

The difficult job of governing has become an illusion and replaced by handouts / payouts / subsidies. Governments have given up governing.

Nick Drew said...

well you can vote on the turnout, Mr D!

I'll stake out the lower end: 59%

Also mention one of Drew's Laws of Politics (I forget which number):

The bigger the majority, the less meaningful the result

Diogenes said...

Education standards these days. Numbers are bn and not mn.

jim said...

I don't really know why political parties bother with manifestos - always not worth the paper.

I imagine they are put together the same way as marketing strategies, a round table, bottles of plonk and a whiteboard. The big hitters sprinkle oofle dust and some poor sod has to write it up after they have left.

650,000 jobs sounds good but as with all manifesto type documents the difficulty is 'how'. Even Richard Feynman once said the physicists had it easy - airy concepts and plenty of big assumptions. They left it to the engineers to sort out the details.

So we shall see how the political engineers get along. TBH I don't think any politicians have a clue - except for Mr Xi and Mr Trump and those of Biden's country who stay behind the curtains. Politicians don't have to have a clue, just a fall back job for when they get found out.

By Spring 2025 we might have some feel for the (initial) direction. By Spring 2027 we might see the actual direction.

Anonymous said...
Rachel Mathews' recent interviewee has interesting points for all disillusioned voters. More interesting still is a pinned comment: for some obscure legal reasons, the best way to spoil your vote is to write 'I do not consent' on the bottom.

Jan said...

I expect a very low turnout as people are very didillusioned. Also having to show ID means some people won't have it and so get turned away and they won't bother to return.

I'll go with 55%

Anonymous said...

OT, just been reading the 2023 book by Trump's trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer. No Trade Is Free.

He reckons current US trade policy is basically Trump’s trade policy. Biden’s lot (I don’t credit him with any input) have changed very little, although any changes have been in a less Trumpian direction.

IIRC the EU are thinking about upping vehicle tariffs as BYD will otherwise eat the EU industry's lunch. So when will the UK follow suit?

If/when tariff barriers go up, the true cost of closing all those factories will become apparent. Interesting times.

Review here:

Anonymous said...

The G7 communique is interesting, both in what it says and what it doesn't say.

But China is very much in the headlights - or sights.

We are not trying to harm China or thwart its economic development, indeed a growing China that plays by international rules and norms would be of global interest. However, we express our concerns about China’s persistent industrial targeting and comprehensive non-market policies and practices that are leading to global spillovers, market distortions and harmful overcapacity in a growing range of sectors, undermining our workers, industries, and economic resilience and security. We are not decoupling or turning inwards. We are de-risking and diversifying supply chains where necessary and appropriate, and fostering resilience to economic coercion. We further call on China to refrain from adopting export control measures, particularly on critical minerals, that could lead to significant global supply chain disruptions.

With these concerns in mind, together with partners, we will invest in building our and their respective industrial capacities, promote diversified and resilient supply chains, and reduce critical dependencies and vulnerabilities.

Caeser Hēméra said...

I'll go with 75%, I think the desire to boot the Tories out will win over the ennui in the end.

The Tory core vote will avoid the polling stations, a combination of having to take photo id and a thoroughly uninspiring campaign, everyone else will be out to park their electoral size 9s up Sunak and co's collective backsides.

Matt said...

@ ND

Good catch on the specific working in the Labour manifesto. It does indeed mention exploration licences. I guess that will provide some wiggle room.

Problem is that the reality on the ground is that new developments are unlikely to happen. Deltic have just pulled out of Pensecola as they couldn't get funding for their share of costs despite it being potentially a massive money spinner. Jersey O&G may not get the Greater Buchan Area field into production despite having farm out agreements with Serica and Neo. Itheca might not develop Rosebank despite merging with ENIs UKCS assets in order to bulk up.

We also have the supermajors pulling out and leaving it to the mid-tier guys. I've already mentioned Serica, Itheca/ENI but Harbour Energy is merging with Wintershall to diversify from the UKCS. So the mid-tiers aren't queuing up either to develop new fields.

And as the existing fields are at the end of their lifecycle, I'm not seeing much evidence we'll be extracting resources for anything more than the short term. Certainly not the 20-50 years we're likely to need them.

Sobers said...

The Reform manifesto has dropped:
-Freeze Immigration
-Leave ECHR
-Cancel Net Zero
-Frack Baby Frack!
-Lower taxes and cut public spending

Gets my vote.