Brace yourself for the post-election glut of political books - those on the election itself and those on completely unrelated subjects but which are held back by their publishers until after the dust has died down.
One example of the latter is Anthony Seldon's second edition of the Blair Effect, this time focussing on 2001-05. There's a chapter by us in it on parliament - which covers reform and rebellion in both the Commons and Lords. It can be downloaded from here (pdf, 117k).
Another example of the latter is the forthcoming authorised biography of John Smith, which has been written by one of the revolts.co.uk team and which will be a snip at a mere 25 quid. Expect to hear quite a lot about this book on this site over the next month or so!
And an example of the former is a book on the general election, edited by Andrew Geddes and Jonathan Tonge, the third in a series that began in 1997. One of us has (co-written) a chapter in it on the Conservatives, and although it's not about MPs per se, it does contain a section on the Conservative leadership election of 2001, in which we argue that the frequently made claims that the grassroots somehow over-ruled the (oh-so-wise) MPs are simply not true, as anyone who looked at the voting figures in a bit more detail would see straight away. In case anyone's interested, it's available from here (pdf, 132k).26 May 2005.
Sadly*, there aren't that many academics who research and write on the Commons. One of the best young academics to do so is Alexandra Kelso, a postdoc at Strathclyde University. Her most recent paper on the Modernisation Committee since 1997 is here (pdf, 96k). It's not really about voting, but it is about parliament and it's very interesting, and that's enough to get on this site, to be honest.
* We say 'sadly', but it does mean that there's more interesting stuff for those of us who do. So it's not all bad.22 April 2005.
Since the new Scottish constituency names were first announced, there have been a few moans about the clumsiness of their titles – but no one has produced any evidence that the titles today are actually any longer, or more verbose, than, say, 50 years ago – probably because no one has been sad enough to go back and work out the length of all the constituencies in 1955.
Except that now someone has. We are sad enough to do it – and in this very short article, co-written with David Denver of Lancaster University, we show conclusively that Scottish constituency names have been getting progressively more cumbersome over the last fifty years.
Are these the self-serving complaints of electoral anoraks, who are already dreading the prospect of reading out some of these names at 4am on 6 May? Well, yes, to be honest.
UPDATE: This has earned us a place in the Guardian's Anorak's corner. Some would say t'is our natural home.
Following our earlier post on Michael Howard and his voting on abortion - with the Bremner, Bird and Fortune programme on Channel 4 being the latest to pick the story up - The New Statesman have just published this by one of us, which argues that the voting pattern of MPs on votes on abortion hardly suggests the issue is as non-partisan as some people seem to be implying. Since a sub is required to read the NS article, a longer (ie, unedited) version is available for free from here (word, 32k), with a table giving the detailed scores for each of the votes available from here (word, 36k).
The argument that these supposedly non-party votes are in fact almost entirely driven by party is an argument that we have been making for years (as, for example, in this book). It was equally clear in all the recent votes on hunting. The most recent key vote (pdf, 35k) saw 2% of Conservatives back vote in anti-hunt direction, compared to 92% of Labour MPs. And it was clear in a story in Friday's Guardian that the gay rights group Stonewall have ranked all MPs according to their voting record, and - surprise, surprise - found clear party divisions. The 32 least 'pro-gay' MPs comprised 30 Conservatives and two Unionists. Details of the survey don't yet appear to be available from Stonewall's site.28 March 2005.
Apologies for the lack of new material over the last few weeks, caused partly by running a last minute (and almost certainly futile) attempt to save civilisation. It has also been academic conference time, and at one we presented a very rough first draft (pdf, 532k) of some work on the Iraq rebellions of 2003. If you download it, be warned: it's very much a first draft, and some of the data analysis is pretty rough. But it might still be of interest, even in this form. Any comments welcome.
We've also just finished a short article on the role of the whips (pdf, 110k) for the teaching journal Politics Review. This is, though, pretty basic - and is unlikely to be of much interest to many of you.
We're hoping to post up some more interesting material on the voting of Scottish and Welsh MPs - as well as on the voting of Labour women MPs - shortly.17 April 2004.