UK EU referendum explained to young people in new website

Me & EU website A new website is setting out to engage young people in the UK EU referendum, following research which shows some 81 per cent of 12-to-24 year olds feel that they don’t know enough about the EU and how it affects their everyday lives.

The 2014 study completed by Dr Darren Sharpe of the University of East London (UEL) shows that only 7 per cent feel that they know ‘a lot’ about the EU, and just 12% feel that the EU impacts on their lives ‘very much’.

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded site, ‘Me & EU’, aims to give young voters the key, relevant information which will aid and support them in making a decision in the run up to the referendum.

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Trump smells victory as Republicans hurtle into the Ides of March – Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams

People at a Political Rally

Political Rally

The Ides of March, or March 15, has long been associated with doom and destruction. In 44BC, confident populist Julius Caesar ignored a soothsayer’s warning and met his demise at the height of his adulation by an adoring public. It was also the day that Czar Nicholas II in 1917 formally abdicated his throne, and the day that Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939. And now it’s the turn of the Republican Party.

This year’s Ides of March could prove pivotal for the US presidential race, as the primaries roll into five big states: Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri. With firebrand insurgent Donald Trump still denying all the Republicans’ attempts to stop him, the day’s massive delegate haul threatens to put him firmly on the path to the nomination.

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Super Tuesday results point to a Clinton vs. Trump race – Dr Matthew Ashton

Republicans x Democrats

Republicans x Democrats

Short of a electoral miracle, or a huge scandal, it’s now pretty much done and dusted. Super Tuesday has been and gone, clarifying what some people had been hoping for/fearing for months. It’s going to be Clinton vs. Trump in November. Both Clinton and Trump now have enough delegates (and in the case of Clinton super-delegates), to make it incredibly hard for anyone to catch them.

Clinton won seven out of the eleven states up for grabs. That might not sound that impressive, but she won in all the crucial larger states in the south, whereas Sanders only did well in some of the smaller northern states. At this point all the momentum is on her side, and with the party backing her she looks unstoppable. Continue reading

Super Tuesday is here. Is Donald Trump unstoppable? – Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams

Republican primaries or caucuses will take place in 12 states

Republican primaries or caucuses will take place in 12 states

In the wake of Donald Trump’s blowout victory amid the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, the money has been piling on the billionaire businessman from New York to sweep all aside on the way to a coronation at the Republican convention. But just how smart is this money?

After all, Trump was also favourite to win the Iowa caucuses, not only in the betting markets but also in the polls and the pundits’ conventional wisdom. In the event, he lost Iowa to Ted Cruz, the arch-conservative senator from Texas. Continue reading

Why the polls got it so wrong in the British election

imageIf the opinion polls had proved accurate, we would have been woken up on the morning of May 8 to a House of Commons in which the Labour Party had a chance to form government. By the end of the day, the country would have had a new prime minister called Ed Miliband, writes Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams.

This didn’t happen. Instead the Conservative Party was returned with almost 100 more seats than Labour and a narrow majority. So what went wrong? Why were the polls so far off? And why has the British Polling Council announced an inquiry?

We have been here before. The polls were woefully inaccurate in the 1992 election, predicting a Labour victory, only for John Major’s Conservatives to win by a clear seven percentage points. While the polls had performed a bit better since, history repeated itself this year. Continue reading

Polling Day UK Election Forecast – 7 May 2015

On polling day, Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, director of the Political Forecasting Unit (PFU) at Nottingham Business School, gives the PFU’s official forecast of the election result. The prediction is based on a weighted combination of a range of variables, including adjusted polling analysis and a number of market-based predictors.

He says: “This is the Election Day forecast of the seats to be obtained by each of the parties. It is our best estimate given our methodology and the available data, but it must be borne in mind that there are large confidence intervals around these numbers, especially given the very late swings picked up in the most recent polls, and the volatility detected in some of the markets. Treat the prediction accordingly. With great caution.”

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Labour’s rent control plans may have unintended consequences

HousingEd Miliband has pledged that Labour would introduce three-year tenancy agreements for private renters under which their rent increases would be capped at the rate of inflation, writes Professor Michael White.

The Conservatives quickly rounded on the idea of re-introducing rent controls, with London mayor Boris Johnson writing in The Daily Telegraph that it was “an idiotic way to tackle the problem of high rents”.

The history of rent control in the UK has been problematic. Designed to maintain affordability, limits to rent rises introduced in the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (War Restrictions) Act 1915. This was designed to be short term but was kept in force after World War I in some form until 1989. It reduced the investment attractiveness of the private rented sector leading not only to its decline but also creating a significant drop in the quality of private rented accommodation. Continue reading

Political Forecasting Unit – UK Election Forecast – 20 April 2015

vote on boardAt the start of a new week, Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, director of the Political Forecasting Unit (PFU) at Nottingham Business School, gives the PFU’s official forecast of the election result. The prediction is based on a weighted combination of a range of variables, including adjusted polling analysis and a number of market-based predictors.
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Challenges facing the housing market

Council housingIncreasing house prices, limited housing supply, and problems of affordability characterise the housing market. 30 years of very limited new building in social rented housing have led to increasing numbers of households in private renting and renting for longer. Limited wage growth and risk aversion by banks since the financial crisis has meant that saving for a deposit has become more challenging.

The Help to Buy policy introduced by the Coalition government has tried to address this issue effectively reducing the amount that borrowers need to pay upfront. The Conservative party has indicated that it would retain this policy to 2020 if re-elected in 2015. Continue reading