Published stuff

My deep dive series at TapSmart continued with how to get started with Procreate. I also explored what I want to see from the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro

Over at Stuff, my daughter’s infatuation with Gold by Spandau Ballet inspired my column, Streaming opened up music’s past like never before – but will artists of the future be able to survive? I also (dun dun) took a look at (dun dun) the new Lego Jaws set (dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun).

Other stuff

The election sucked all of the oxygen out of the room in the UK last week. Astonishingly, I now have a Liberal Democrat MP. I never thought I’d see the day. It was a very weird night.

However, while I was happy to see the Tories get a kicking, I’m not thrilled at how unrepresentative the Commons is. I’ve written about the unrepresentative UKsystem before, but this week’s election takes the biscuit.

A narrative rattling around is that the Lib Dems ‘gamed’ the system in their favour. Yet what really happened is that, for the first time, the party almost got a representative seat share (11% from 12% of the vote). The Greens and Reform weren’t so fortunate. Entertainingly – given that they wrote a love letter to FPTP in their manifesto – the Tories fell short too, winning 18.6% of the seats from 23.7% of the vote.

Labour? 63.4% of the seats, from just 33.7% of the vote. So the party is over-represented almost to the point it has twice as many MPs as it should have. Naturally, some people are OK with this and argue it’s the price we pay to keep out the hard right. But it has historically kept out progressives (the Greens should have about 40 MPs today), and also resulted in fewer progressive governments in the UK, the nadir perhaps being in 1983. Then, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives won 61% of the seats on 42% of the vote. Labour got 32% of the seats on 27.6% of the vote. And the Alliance (which later morphed into the Lib Dems)? 3.5% of the seats on 25.4% of the vote. You do the maths. And watch your brain dribble out of your ears.

The Electoral Reform Society explores what this week’s election might have looked like had we had a form of PR. This piece uses AMS as an example. In the UK, STV is a more likely system, which would drop the numbers for smaller parties somewhat. Regardless, FPTP should be consigned to the past. But I doubt it will ever be, when the Conservatives and Labour both know it’s the only viable route to absolute power (with rare exceptions). And Labour’s leaders are happier winning 100% of the power occasionally rather than leading a coalition more often than not.

Still, perhaps Starmer’s lot will surprise me on this. And given the fragility of his electoral coalition, he probably should. Otherwise in 2019, we could be starting down the barrel of a Tory or even Reform majority, elected on 35% of the vote, while Labour and Libs combined have a share over 50, and Labour blames Lib and Green voters for not backing Labour, despite PR being an option all along.