A thought about European elections: why they're boring

The drama of an election comes from the combination of a plot where the end is not known: we don't know who will win (in some cases, who has won), whether the result will be accepted by the loser, and how well or badly the defeated will behave.

But in an election with the D'Hondt method of proportional representation (that rolls of the tongue!), it seems like almost everyone wins something, and really isn't clear who has lost, or by how much: was it close or a landslide?

The U.K. elections for the European Parliament this month are a case in point.
How many people realise that the British Nationalist Party scored nearly one million votes across the U.K.? Or how close the B.N.P. came to winning elsewhere and which party narrowly defeated it?

Supporters of proportional representation might pause and think about how much of a turn-off it is to voters to remove the drama from an election. When there are no losers and no clear winners, there is no interest in taking part.


Twitter ALLOWS Iranian protests

If this isn't power, what is?

Twitter has re-scheduled a maintenance downtime to about 1.30am local time in Tehran, to allow the protesters to organise and agitate against the recent election result (which "concerns" U.S. President Barack Obama - whatever that means).

MG Siegler at TechCrunch has the story:
Twitter had been planning to have a 90 minute downtime tonight for maintenance. Given what’s going on over in Iran right now, that was a problem. And so Twitter has decided to reschedule the maintenance so the protests can go on.

This is a good move by Twitter. It clearly didn’t want to have to move the maintenance window that it calls a “critical network upgrade,” but the #nomaintenance hashtag that has spent the entire day on the trending topic list, made it pretty clear that Twitter’s users don’t want the service going down at all during this important time. So Twitter worked with its network partner NTT America to reschedule the maintenance for 2-3 PM Pacific, which will be 1:30 in the morning in Iran, rather than during the day.

Twitter uses the rest of the post to praise NTT America for its flexibility, but really this is all about Iran. The people over there are using Twitter as a tool of choice to spread information about what is going on, even as other outlets for communication are being blocked.

N.B. a hashtag on Twitter is explained here.

[Hat tip: Laurent Maumet's Twitter feed]

"I think hiatus is the word"

If it's good enough for Salam Pax...

I've been too long away from this blog. For reasons that are not really nice (the company I worked for has gone into liquidation) I now have time in the day with a computer that actually works. Hiatus over, at least for now.

I have completed my statistical compilation of the UK's European Parliamentary election data and will be issuing my analysis over coming days.

Clearly a big issue right now is the contested Iranian election result.

For those unfamiliar with Twitter, this is something I predicted recently: the first use of social media to try and overthrow a government. This is something quite different from using social media to run election campaigns, which I think is now the norm.