Emergent Wisdom

Thoughtful Observations from Business and LIfe


Why Polls and Election Results Are Sometimes So, So Wrong

I’m going to explain why pollsters got the result so wrong in the lead-up to the UK parliamentary general election in 2015, and simultaneously the real reason why parties, or candidates, win or lose. And use this as a basis for predicting the 2016 US presidential election.

Yet again, during the post-mortem of an election, politicians explain why they won or lost (primarily those who lost. Those who won are usually pleased to bask in the glory and relief), and pollsters are scratching their heads to explain why their polling turned out to be so incorrect.

The reasons both give for their failure - of either type - are usually blaming various factors supposedly outside their control - usually nefarious behaviour of the other party / candidate,  or broader circumstances over which they had no control. But if we take a look at both elections and polling predictions - both pre-voting and exit polls - superficially there doesn’t appear to be a credibly reliable explanation. The strangeness of polling errors is particularly interesting because at times the polls leading up to an election are wrong, and at times it’s the exit polls that are just as wrong. And it doesn’t happen just in the UK as the same kind of issues happen in the US.

Revealed – The dishonest techniques UKBA uses to portray LGBT asylum-seekers as making up their stories


Maxwell O. due to be deported on Wednesday 9th October

The UK Borders Agency has a tough job, homosexuality is difficult to prove exactly, and there are people who will attempt to claim homosexuality as a means of unjustly claiming asylum. But even against such a backdrop, UKBA is resorting to grievously dishonest means to enable them to portray genuinely gay people as if they are making up their stories to fraudulently gain asylum.

Maxwell O. is a gay Nigerian who fled to the UK in 2011 fearing he would be killed if he stayed in Nigeria. He had been blamed for causing the death of his father and brother by 'witchcraft' due to him being gay. He had been warned by an uncle to flee from Nigeria or else face being killed by his community. He is due to be sent back on Wednesday 9th October 2013.

Understanding Homosexuality (1)

I'd been meaning to write an article on this for some time, if I hadn't so busy with other things, but it was triggered by a BBC magazine article, so here's a summary of my perspective.

There's a simple biological mechanism that ties several of these points raised together, and it's evident in other aspects of biological life as well as being a fractal pattern that is observed throughout the known universe at vastly different scales, and it's called self-organising systems. To give you an example, particles of dust that coalesce through gravity into planets, the components of a cell that make it behave as a cell, the individuals and companies that form the banking industry, and individuals that make up a population create a system of society and government. Essentially, a large number of particles in the same environment tend to organise themselves into complex dynamic patterns, the nature of which is not always obvious from the characteristics of the individual particles themselves.

You probably wonder where the heck I'm going with this. Bear with me.

Rupert Murdoch, illegal activity, and responsibility


rupert_murdochWith the current furore about crimes committed – at the time of writing, phone tapping and paying police for information have come to light – by media in Rupert Murdoch’s ownership (and James’ Murdoch’s management), there appears to be something important missing in people’s consideration. The revelations about phone tapping at the News of the World that are now showing that illegal practices were both widespread and long in duration are raising serious questions about how much the senior management actually knew. Rupert Murdoch has merely apologised for not investigating it in more depth. In essence his defence before the select committee was essentially that he didn’t know what the underlings at the bottom layer of his organisation had been doing and had thought what was initially discovered was an isolated event. Does that claim withstand scrutiny?Note: Article now updated with developments