Sunday, July 01, 2007

New Cabinet, New Dangers

How does the new cabinet score?
Looking at my statistics page I discover that by far and away my most popular post was my statistical look at just how libertarian, or anti-libertarian the instincts of our Members of Parliament, outscoring its nearest rival by almost ten to one. The data used was based on voting records from web sites and the Public Whip. Obviously there have been a few changes of late so I thought it was worth a quick update. All provisos and health warnings from the earlier posting, as well as those from the suppliers of the excellent source data, apply equally to this.

The changes to which I refer are not, as it happens, anything to do with that slug in human form, Quentin Davies. His transfer from Conservative to Labour ranks has, of course, boosted the overall Conservative liberality rating slightly and damaged NuLab's, however only his suspect record on gay rights was much of a stand-out achievement in the sea of illiberality into which he has now immersed himself.

The more significant changes are those in the cabinet where Broon has done some rather radical restructuring. It is a remarkable achievement, but he has actually managed to outdo his predecessor's last cabinet's illiberality rating. The Public Whip data records the voting records of individual MPs on a given topic, including all related bills and amendments to them, data which then uses to rank them against an 'ideal' (or more often 'nightmare') scenario.

Aggregating up the scores for the issues that the TheyWorkForYou covers that have a relevance to a personal freedoms across the new cabinet shows a drop in their collective pro-liberty position to 27.3% from the outgoing cabinet's 30.7% liberality. The individual issue scores for the cabinet as a whole are as follows (outgoing Blair cabinet score in parentheses):

  • ID Cards - 4.9% (8.7%)

  • Fox Hunting - 15.9% (16.0%)

  • Smoking Ban - 25.1% (34.6%)

  • Gay Rights - 84.1% (85.9%)

  • Anti-Terror Legislation - 6.5% (8.6%)

In each case a high score indicates a pro-freedom position, a low one the opposite.

The previous article also mentioned a number of issues I had excluded as being more to do with openness to public (or even Parliamentary) scrutiny, which I felt were more to do with the mechanisms by which our freedoms ought to be preserved rather than those freedoms themselves. The figures here show overall an even greater drop, from 30.1% in favour of an open form of government to 21.8%, the breakdown, on the same basis as above is as follows:

  • Regulatory Reform Act - 16.7% (36.2%)

  • Weakening the FOI Act - 45.2% (47.9%)

  • Investigating the Iraq war - 3.5% (6.3%)

I do have my own issues with investigations into the Iraq war while our armed forces are still actively involved in an ongoing conflict, but as is clear from the figures above the majority of Broon's team's piss poor performance in this arena stems from the 2006 Regulatory Reform Act, which even its amended form is one of the most repulsive Acts of Parliament ever to reach the statute books.

Just to wrap up the remaining TheyWorkForYou data that is available, the strength of anti-Iraq war voting traits of the new cabinet has risen from 0.8% to 9.4%, records of being critical to Foundation Hospitals have risen from 1.9% to 5.2% and of student top-up fees from 1.9% to 5.2%. Support for a Trident replacement is still a rock-solid 100%.

Anyway, there you have it the nice freedom loving, live and let live spirit, the little of it that there was, of the Blairites has gone, and the even bigger nightmare has arrived. If I'm not careful I'm going to end up feeling like this junior member of the Tony Blair fan club. I doesn't surprise me, it is very much a cabinet in the image of Broon's own image, at least as I see it.

A big hat-tip to Iain Dale for the clip which I suspect will crop up on virtually every blog I read at some appropriate moment, and that I will still click the 'Play' button each time.

No comments: