web analytics

UK elections July 2024

A graph a day… 5th July 2024

People in the UK have chosen new Members of Parliament (MPs), and although not unexpected, the results are still very interesting. Due to the voting system – First-Past-the-Post – which means that only one person is chosen in a given district, regardless of how close other parties were – there could be a discrepancy between the overall percentage of votes and the number of MPs.

The Labour Party has won by a huge margin in terms of the number of MPs, but its undoubted success is perhaps less due to the number of votes than to the collapse of the Conservative and Unionist Party—which has been in power for the last 14 years.

It is perhaps easier to identify losers: Conservatives, Scottish National Party (SNP), and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), but there are also clear winners besides Labour: Liberal Democrats, Reform, Greens, and Sinn Fèin.

Some interesting graphs I picked up this morning:

These are voting intentions, so comparable to the vote share. I was particularly struck by the age profile. The shift from Labour to Conservative vote as the voters age has been expected, but I also expected a higher Reform share in the younger populations. Yet, their share in 18-24 is the lowest at 8%, rising to 16% for over 55s. Instead, the younger population decided to vote Green!

The vote share for both main parties is roughly equal across the income. A slightly higher proportion is voting Conservatives among the highest income (AB), which is surprising given that this party presided over the Brexit catastrophe. But, perhaps this class is more shielded than others and more likely to (still) believe that Conservatives will reduce taxes. AB also has the highest share of LibDems which traditionally is the party of higher end of the middle class.

Reform in turn does best in C2, D and E – most deprived classes – as they have been mostly affected by the economic crisis – and the associated loss of trust in the established politics.

Two graphs here show how FPTP works in the UK. Labour’s lead over Conservatives is only 10% in terms of the vote share, but more than 300% in terms of seats. Even worse, Reform 14% translates into only 1% of the vote while LibDems 12% vote share becomes 11% seat share.

Secondly, it shows that 30% of the vote share is now taken by parties different from the “big ones”, a much higher proportion than in the previous years. Perhaps it is time for a Proportional Representation?

This is also reflected in how tight the vote becomes. I love the graph above, showing how big a majority was for all seats contested in recent years. There are just more and more seats that are marginal. Under the FPTP a candidate is thus selected over another one, on the basis of an almost equal vote. It also means that the results over years will be characterised by large swings.

More graphs coming soon…

Neglected diseases

A graph a day… 27th June 2024

Life in the tropics is often dangerous. Hot and humid conditions not only directly affect health but are also ideal for pests and diseases. Research is one way in which tropical diseases can be combated.

But, very little investment goes into diseases such as Dengue, Zika, and Chagas, or parasites such as Leishmaniasis or Schistosomiasis, despite their prevalence. Even TB, not limited to tropics, is not given enough attention.

Climate change is likely to spread pests and diseases beyond their current range. Even temperate climate regions might soon find themselves at risk of dengue, Zika, or malaria. We need more ways to prevent and fight the possible outbreaks.

Mosquitoes, dengue, Zika, …

Zica virus aedes aegypti mosquito on human skin - Dengue, Chikungunya, Mayaro, Yellow fever

A Graph a Day… 7th June 2024

I am afraid I have been too busy to post here regularly. It has been an incredibly busy period, with several projects ending or nearing end, and several trips abroad. But, I am hoping to get back into regular posting and so I am very grateful to my regular readers.

This brief post is about mosquitoes, climate change, and dengue. As the temperatures rise globally, insects – and diseases for which the insects are vectors – that so far have been confined to tropics are moving north.

As seen in the map below, cases of both dengue and Zika have been found in the European South.

Since January 1, 2024, more than 1,679 cases of dengue have been imported into mainland France, compared to 131 cases over the same period in 2023. Although most cases are mild and do not result in further transmission, there is considerable concern that it will get worse with the continuing climate change.

The mosquitoes – the potential vectors of these diseases – are certainly present there. The map below shows the distribution of tiger mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus. An even more dangerous species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is already present in Cyprus and Madeira.

Continuing with the theme of mosquitoes, the link below is to a new paper on how infection changes the behaviour of insects. Such a change is not unique to mosquitoes and has been seen in many species – possibly including humans. But this is a potential topic for another A Graph a Day…