Thursday, 21 May 2015

hedge fund managers don't do anything useful but the top 25 in the UK are obscenely wealthy

2015 rank2014 rankNameCompany2015 wealth (£m)YoY change (£m)
11Alan HowardBrevan Howard1,500-100
22Michael PlattBlueCrest Capital1,500Unchanged
33Alexander KnasterPamplona Capital1,36498
44Sir Michael HintzeCQS1,230175
58Crispin Odey & Nichola PeaseOdey AM1,100580
65Robert MillerSearch Investment Group1,03455
76David HardingWinton Capital1,000250
87Sir Chris HohnChildren's Investment Fund6636
99Martin HughesToscafund51032
1010=Andrew LawCaxton Associates42575
1114=Paul MarshallMarshall Wace400100
1222Chris WokosRivercrest Capital400170
1314=Ian WaceMarshall Wace400100
1410=Sir John BeckwithRivercrest Capital350Unchanged
1514=Yan HuoCapula Investment35050
1613Michael CohenOch-Ziff Capital3355
1714=Sir Paul RuddockLansdowne Partners300Unchanged
1824=John ArmitageEgerton Capital28080
1921Pierre LagrangeMan Group25818
2019=Andy HallAstenbeck Capital250Unchanged
2124=Jonathan HiscockGSA Capital25050
2234=James VernonBrevan Howard250100
2318Hilton NathansonMarble Bar Asset Management230-23
2419=Nicolai TangenAKO Capital225-25
2523Chris LevettMoore Capital220Unchanged

Thursday, 14 May 2015

another reason for Labour to support a democratic voting system

Looking at how the vote was distributed at the general election the Conservatives should, on a uniform swing, be able to secure a majority on a lead of about 6%. Labour would need a lead of almost thirteen points. On an equal amount of votes – 34.5% a piece – the Conservatives would have almost fifty seats more than Labour, Labour would need to have a lead of about four points over the Conservatives just to get the most seats in a hung Parliament. The way the cards have fallen, the system is now even more skewed against Labour than it was against the Conservatives.

How did this happen? It’s probably a mixture of three factors. One is the decline of the Liberal Democrats and tactical voting – one of the reasons the electoral system had worked against the Tories in recent decades was that Labour and Lib Dem voters had been prepared to vote tactically against the Tories, and the Lib Dems have held lots of seats in areas that would otherwise be Tory. Those factors have vanished. At the same time the new dominance of the SNP in an area that was a Labour heartland has tilted the system against Labour. Labour had a lead over the Conservatives of 9% in Scotland, but Labour and Conservative got the same number of Scottish seats because the SNP took them all.
Finally there is how the swing was distributed at this election. Overall there was virtually no swing at all between Labour and Conservative across Great Britain, but underneath this there were variances. In the Conservative held target seats that Labour needed to gain there was a swing towards the Conservatives (presumably because most of these seats were being contested by first time Conservative incumbents). In the seats that Labour already held there was a swing towards Labour – in short, Labour won votes in places where they were of no use to them, piling up useless votes in seats they already held
.And, of course, these are on current boundaries. Any boundary review is likely to follow the usual pattern of reducing the number in seats in northern cities where there is a relative decline in population and increasing the number of seats in the south where the population is growing… further shifting things in the Conservatives favour.

Monday, 11 May 2015

The Lib Dems are doing badly but are they doing badly enough ? How many seats will the Lib Dems win ?

The Lib Dems are doing badly but are they doing badly enough ?

The Liberal Democrat election strategy has been on concentrate all their resources into about 40 seats they believe they can win. It may be even fewer as apparently some seats probably 10-12 are deemed safe enough that they won't get much outside help. These are the ones like Tim Farrons and Norman Lambs where not only do the Lib Dems have a big majority, their opponents haven't really got their act together.

Anyway, so resources are being poured into the selected seats, so money is provided for the printing (and possibly distribution) of leaflets, party workers may be employed to organise volunteers etc,
and members from across the region will be asked to work in these seats - often in "regional action days"

So is it working ?  The Liberal Democrats claim they are doing 'much better'  in their target seats than they are elsewhere.  Whether that is true depends on what one means by 'much better'.  If they mean their poll ratings are much higher in these seats than elsewhere, it is undoubtedly true.  In a sense, it is an odd claim to have to make,  a party is getting its best poll ratings in the places where it has the biggest campaigns.  Well if it wasn't ....

The real question though is will it deliver the MPs the Lib Dem campaign is based upon ?  On this measure things are looking far less rosy.

One of the problems with targeting is that the voters don't always do what is intended. Another is that other parties can spoil the best laid plans.
Looking at the Lib Dem Poll ratings they have not shifted during the election campaign. It seems impossible to reconcile the sort of vote predicted nationally can be broken down so the Lib Dems can win the target seats they expect to.  Put bluntly, they need the 8% to be concentrated in 40 or so places whereas all the evidence points to them getting 5-6% in many places they aren't likely to win leaving not enough extra votes from the total 8% to get to 35-40% in the places they need to.

I suspect that standard voting intention question in the Ashcroft polls reveals the true level of Lib Dem support in these seats.  On that basis, the Lib Dems aren't ahead anywhere.  I am sure they will attract some personal votes, but the expectation seems to be that Lib Dem MPs have thousands and thousands of personal votes, when all pervious elections have suggested very few MPs get more than 1-2000 personal votes, whereas the Lib Dems seem to think they can get 5,000 - 10,000.

With that in mind my prediction is the Lib Dems will win just 12 seats. 

Labour and the future

The Labour Party needs to embrace electoral reform otherwise it will be another 18 years if that before it sees Government again. I don't think the scale of the defeat has sunk in. It is back to 1983 but worse ! The Tories will push through boundary changes, they could very well drive Scotland to independence. They will probably strike at Trade Union Funding and Labour party funding. As always with politics events move on. Parties refighting the last election will always do badly. Electoral reform would be a game changer for Labour. It would mean that Labour/Lib Dems/Greens/UKIP/SNP would all be in favour of voting reform. It would leave the Tories as the odd man out. Instead of mocking PR as some have done, they would be better if they understood how to make it work for Labour. Single Transferable vote in 3 member wards (i.e. made up of the seats of 3 existing MPs would be great. In areas where Labour is strong it would win 2 out of three seats. In areas where Labour is weak it would win 1 in 3. The SNP would be hit hard without a single vote changing. Labour would have MPs in the South and South West. What's not to like ?
Oh, is it that Labour can't bear sharing power with anyone. Labour hates the Lib Dems/Greens/SNP and would rather see a Tory Government than have to co-operate with like minded people. In which case another 18 years is a very very long time and the problems will be worse and the time needed to try and undo the damage will be much longer. Many people will have suffered needlessly. Is that what Labour really wants?