Dust to Dust Is Available For Pre-order


I’m very happy to be able to share the Amazon link to my book, Dust to Dust. It’s currently available for pre-order ahead of its 1st October release date.

Once again I’d like to thank my colleague Dmitri Thompson for his cover design. If you have any design work you need done, you can reach Dmitri here.

Here’s a reminder of the blurb:

Dan Wallace is working on Dust, an app that enables secure communication in a Britain in which privacy comes at a premium. When the right-wing Olof party comes into power, law and order begin to break down. The government trains its sights on Dan, their charismatic leader Hadi Ghazzali and the beautiful new arrival Laura Taylor. In the face of this instability and hostility, it falls to Dan to carve out a future for their creation.

Advertisements

My Book Will Be Published on 1st October

Dust to Dust
Designed by my colleague Dmitri Thompson

I’m very excited to announce that my book, Dust to Dust, will be published on 1st October. It will be available to pre-order on 20th September. I’ll put up a post nearer the time with a link.

Here is the blurb:

Dan Wallace is working on Dust, an app that enables secure communication in a Britain in which privacy comes at a premium. When the right-wing Olof party comes into power, law and order begin to break down. The government trains its sights on Dan, their charismatic leader Hadi Ghazzali and the beautiful new arrival Laura Taylor. In the face of this instability and hostility, it falls to Dan to carve out a future for their creation.

The Somme and the Age of Anniversaries

WW1

One of my proudest achievements as a journalist was to have led our data unit’s World War I project. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission kindly supplied us with the records of all the servicemen and women from Britain and the Empire – now the Commonwealth – who were killed in the Great War.

We used it to create these widgets where you can search for the names of those who died, or who died in your area.

That was for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I in the summer of 2014.

Since then we have gone back to the records as the anniversaries of Gallipoli, Loos, Jutland and now the Somme have come and gone.

I’ve realised more fully now that we are entering into what I’d call the Age of Anniversaries. Continue reading “The Somme and the Age of Anniversaries”

4 Observations from the EU referendum results

I spent a sleep-deprived Friday analysing the EU referendum results. Here are a few observations I made.

1. Remain areas tended to be better off and more qualified

The parts of Britain that voted Remain tended to be better paid and more qualified than areas that voted Leave. Almost all of the areas with the lowest weekly wages in Britain all voted to quit the European Union. Continue reading “4 Observations from the EU referendum results”

4 Observations from the General Election Spending Data

The Electoral Commission has just published the spending of the main political parties for the 2015 general election last May. I had a brief look at it earlier today, but I thought I’d go back to it and pick out a few interesting tidbits.

1. Conservatives dominate social media

social media spending

This pie chart tells the story. The Conservatives trounced their competitors in spending on social media and Google ads in May.

Labour were a distant fifth, behind the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

Ed Miliband’s former party spent much more on social media marketing companies, such as £155,611.20 on Experian Ltd and £74,400.00 on Alchemy Social, which also features on Experian’s website.

2. Travelling in style

The Tories spent a hefty £119,634.48 with Sovereign Business Jets. Based in Biggin Hill, Kent, they offer private jets and helicopters to charter. David Cameron’s party also spent another £14,688 with Eastern Atlantic Helicopters Limited.

They weren’t the only ones to take to the skies. The Scottish National Party spent £35,450 with PDG Helicopters, while UKIP spent £16,055 with Jota Aviation.

There was no sign of air travel in the Green Party’s records. The pro-environment party’s largest transport expenditure was £13,000 with The Big Red Bus.

3. Starting early

2014 campaign spend

Not only did the Conservatives outspend their rivals overall, they also started much earlier. This chart looks at the dates that expenses were marked ‘paid’. By the turn of last year, the Conservatives had already spent almost a fifth of their final total. Labour had spent just 1.8%.

Getting off to an early start wasn’t essential for success. The SNP spent all their money in 2015 and virtually swept the board in Scotland.

4. Value for money

Cost per seat, 2015 general election
Cost per seat, 2015 general election

The first-past-the-post electoral system rewards parties that have concentrated support in certain areas and makes life difficult for parties whose support is spread out around Britain.

UKIP, the Greens and the Lib Dems found this out to their cost. They spent £7.5m between them for a grand total of just ten seats.

The system is much kinder to the parties that compete in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Their support is concentrated in these areas. This means more chance of winning seats, as well as huge savings on transport costs as candidates don’t need to zip from one corner of Britain to the other. The SNP’s ‘Sturgeon-copter‘ may have looked presidential, but her party could afford to splash out – the SNP spent less than a tenth of Labour on transport.

Concluding thoughts

There is much to ponder in this data for Labour strategists trying to work out why they lost in May. The Conservatives spent heavily on Facebook and started burning through their war chest much earlier. According to BuzzFeed, the Tory focus on Facebook was deliberate – Twitter was thought to be the domain of journalists and political activists rather than undecided voters.

Coincidentally, the Beckett report into Labour’s election defeat was also published this week. Here is what Dame Margaret had to say about social media:

We should develop and promote the possibilities of social mediafor communicating with the public at large, while recognising the risk it carriesof self-reinforcing messages and assumptions.

Lastly, there was no data for the Ed Stone. The widely-ridiculed stone pledge was missing from the Electoral Commission data – an ‘administrative error’, Labour said.

The party is seeking to ‘rectify this error as soon as possible’ – no doubt political hacks will be keen to learn exactly when they do.

Here is a copy of the spreadsheet I used. You’re welcome to download it and run your own analysis.

 

The End

Today I had the privilege of tapping these two words on my keyboard:

There is still a lot to do. For one, I need to decide whether I’m actually going to have the words ‘The End’ in the book (current answer: probably not).

As it stands there are 16 chapters plus an epilogue. I’m thinking of scrapping one of the chapters entirely as I don’t think it adds anything to the story. All of them need editing before I’m happy with them.

But I can enjoy the view from here for a few moments before heading back to the grind.