Cheltenham Local Election Results 2016

In 2014 I wrote a long and detailed post on the Cheltenham local election results. I’m not doing it this year, as the council website has plenty of information now, but I have done a map of the results.

Yellow is Liberal Democrat, blue is Conversative, teal is People Against Beaucracy and gray is an independent who used to be a Liberal Democrat. This is only the 2016 results – the people elected in 2014 are still councillors.


2016 Local Election Results, Cheltenham


Cheltenham Local Election Results 2014

On 22nd May 2014 there were elections in Cheltenham, as in many other parts of the country, for local councillors. One councillor was up for election in each ward.

There are 20 wards in Cheltenham but one of the wards – Charlton Park – did not vote as one of the candidates died shortly before the election. The other 19 wards did vote but there were hardly any changes in terms of which parties were elected; Park went from Tory to Lib Dem and Leckhampton from an independent to Tory. In addition, some of the parties fielded different candidates. The full results are here.

The following picture shows the vote breakdown across the whole of Cheltenham (in the 19 ward elections which took place) for voters and for those eligible to vote:


N.B. “People Against Bureaucracy” are a local party.

The results of the individual wards are displayed visually in the following pictures. The colours are the same as in the pie-charts above.


As voter turn-out can be quite low, it is interesting to see what percentage of those people they are representing (i.e. those eligible to vote in the ward) voted for them.



N.B. The number in grey to the right is the number of spoilt ballots.

Only the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives stood in every ward. It is therefore interesting to ask what percentage of voters who could have voted for a particular party actually did? That is, the sum of the votes that a party as a proportion of the sum of the voters in the wards that they stood in. It looks as follows:


The map of councillors from this election hence looks as follows:


Each ward actually has two councillors of course, although only one of them were up for election at this time. The following map shows both the newly elected councillor and the other councillor which was not up for election this time around. A solid colour means that both councillors are from the same party.

N.B. As Charlton Park is awaiting election one of the councillors has been drawn in white. It was previously conservative and is likely to remain so when the by-election happens.

Edit 27th May 2014: The results posted on the Cheltenham Borough Council website were originally slightly incorrect due to a transcription error. Two of the figures had been changed and the changes have now been reflected on these diagrams. I also took the chance to make “People Against Bureaucracy” separate from “Independent”, as this seems more instructive.


Inserting German characters in Windows (Umlauts and eszett)

I’m learning German at the moment, and so I sometimes type things in German. I don’t have a German keyboard, so it can be awkward to insert character which aren’t using in English, like the eszett (ß) or umlauts (ä, ö and ü). On a Mac it is actually very easily – press Command+U and then dots appear in the edit box, and the next button you pretty will have the desired diaeresis.

In fact, it isn’t true that the diaeresis is not used in English. Some people will use them on the second vowel when there are two vowels together, to indicate they are said as two separate sounds. For instance, one might write ‘coöperate’, to show that it is said ‘co-operate’, rather than ‘coop-erate’. ‘Naïve’ is another example.

So, I solved this problem by writing a program called Umalut. It sits in your system tray and when you either click the icon, or press a shortcut (hard coded to Windows Key + S at the moment), it will insert an umlauted character if a vowel or ‘y’ is pressed, or an eszett if ‘s’ is pressed.

It can generate the character in two ways – either by generated a WM_CHAR message directly to the window that it stole the keypress from, or by simulating input and typing out the Alt-code for the character. It is written in C++ and consists of two projects – a GUI and the hook DLL.

The problem is, I’ve broken it at the moment somehow, and I’ve just realised that when you are using Microsoft Word, it is massively easy to insert characters. The default shortcut to insert an umlaut is to press Control+Shift+; and then press the required vowel. For the eszett, it is Control+&, and then ‘s’ (on my keyboard, this is the same as Control+Shift+7 and then ‘s’).

By going into the Symbol shortcut dialog (Insert tab, Symbol, More symbols…, select the eszett and then click ‘Shortcut’) you can change this shortcut. I’ve set it to Control+Shift+; and then ‘s’, so it is the same to access any of the characters I am interested in.

What is more, you can set up auto-correct text. I’ve configured it so that (for instance) ‘..a’ is translated into ‘ä’, which is very convenient. I recommend these to everybody else, too!

For now, I’m not going to bother with releasing the Umlaut program. However I might in the future if there is any demand for it.

“The Rocking Gallery of Jax” is back

“The Rocking Gallery of Jax” is a gallery of over 600 pictures. Each of them are 96×96 pixels, has a black border and contains a stick man in various situations. The site couldn’t be hosted for a long time, as it required Perl. However, now it is back! Thanks to hosting from Jamie, you can visit it here.

An Education In Computer Games

I’ve never really been too much into computer games. I’d played and liked Sonic The Hedgehog, Theme Hospital, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Football Manager, Tomb Raider and Deus Ex in the past, but I’ve made some sort of attempt to start playing games again. The first few games were Half-Life 2 (and its parts) and Portal.

So here are the games I’ve been playing recently. They aren’t reviews, but you can find them anywhere on the Internet…

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

This indie game is supposed to very scary. I’d argue it isn’t really very scary at all, but it is fairly fun. It has good puzzles and a nice feel to it. The story comes to the player via a series of flashbacks, and it makes you want to play on because it feels like there is this hidden vain to the story which, when revealed, will cause everything to make brilliant sense. The let down is that this never happens and the story transpires just to be obvious, unsatisfying connections of the plot details you find.


A platform puzzle game where you can travel through time. It has a brilliant feel to it, and it feels artistic. Much like Portal, you feel you are playing something special when you are playing it. The storyline makes no sense to me though, it seemed just like a collection of ideas. The last level has a brilliant twist to it, but it doesn’t really explain much. Ultimately that doesn’t really matter. The puzzles are interesting and it is a good feeling when you beat them, but they aren’t actually that hard. Except for one at the start where you are supposed to make a platform out of a puzzle piece. That just felt unfair to me.


It should be rubbish, but it is somehow fun. It is a game which really knows how to make you feel good. It rewards your talentless luck.

Super Meat Boy

This game is brilliant! I haven’t completed it, I am stuck on the last level and have kind of lost interest in it. But it is great. It is so addictive. The only problem is, the addiction to it means you end up playing it long after you’ve stopped deriving any fun from it.

Cities in Motion

I loved Traffic Giant. This is a Jo Wood game where, given a city, you build the public transport infrastructural. The problems with this game were that you couldn’t do underground railways, and overground railways were rubbish. Another problem is it was very buggy. Cities in Motion is basically the game idea, but you can do underground railways, and it isn’t very buggy (at least, after patches). I’m pretty keen on this game, but the user interface is far inferior to Traffic Giant’s. For instance, although buses have a box over them saying the number of people on it, it doesn’t mention what line it is on until you click it. Similarly, bus stops don’t tell you the break down according to line until you mouse over it. Finally, you can’t have bus stops which are also tram stops. That doesn’t really matter but it kind of annoys me. Other bad things: No easy way to see the profit of a line; It is unclear to see where people want to get to and where they went from (which was brilliantly done in Traffic Giant). I’ll keep playing it for a while, but I am hoping a Cities in Motion II would sort these things out.

Old Posts Updated

Some older posts have been updated.

The introduction to Ramsey Theory and the explanation of Shors Algorithm for factorising integers are now hosted on Scribd and are embedded into the blog.

A broken image has been fixed in the solution of a problem to do with cutting circles up using chords.

The embedded LaTeX has been updated on a host of articles:

  1. A simple evaluation of the Guassian integral
  2. Cauchy’s proof of the Arithmetic-Geometric mean inequality
  3. Representing primitive recursive functions in Peano
  4. Typical Examples are Atypical
  5. How to check if an integer is a power of two
  6. Numbers coprime only to prime numbers
  7. Continuous bank interest
  8. Sums of squares and sums of cubes
  9. A somewhat elegant solution to a trivial problem and a verification of an XKCD comic

Whilst I am here, a slight update on the Chart Object/Ini++ Object updates: I am waiting on Chris Carson of Clickteam to build them. He is very busy at the moment, so we will have to be patient. I have found another bug in the Ini++ object to do with Sub-groups. When I have my other computer set up I will look at fixing that.

(Also: Damn it Arsenal.)

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (from the point of view of a Sonic Fan)

I haven’t had time to post anything recently, but I have had the chance to play Sonic the Hedgehog 4. This is a short game available on the Playstation, X-Box and Wii online stores, and it is in the same style as the original Mega Drive (Genesis) Sonic the Hedgehog games. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (& Knuckles) is my favourite game ever (along with Deus Ex) so I thought I would give my thought on this new game as a big Sonic fan and let you know how similar it is to the previous games and what the levels are inspired from.

I’ve always thought it’d be pretty cool to make a Sonic game, but the physics engine would probably be a pain to write. Just making sure Sonic moves smoothly and appears on the right layer (for example on a loop-the-loop). The Sonic games got this just right, but Sonic 4 does not. The movement is slightly buggy and doesn’t react as you’d expect, a problem the old games didn’t have. This makes the game feel less perfect, and at times when there is careful jumping to be done (which was rare in the older games) it can be irritating, but it doesn’t make it unplayable. A new move, the homing attack, is actually makes the game better too. This means that a target appears on various things and double tapping the action button directs Sonic towards the entity. It does work fairly well.

The music in the Sonic games were always awesome, but this is definitely an exception. It is bloody annoying. I wish they’d got the OC Remix guys to do it instead. Then it would’ve rocked. The graphics are also 3D rendered rather than being hand drawn. I probably prefer hand drawn, especially for the actual characters, but I must admit the backgrounds did look very good.

The first level is basically Emerald Hill from Sonic 2, although there are elements of Sonic 1’s Green Hill (for instance, the pipes in the hills and the walls you can spin through to break, and the boss) as well as Sonic 3’s Angel Island (principally the rope zip-wires, although it is extended to have rope swings too). It is fairly standard though, and there isn’t much that is exciting in it.

The second is a Casino level. The first act is very much like Casino Night from Sonic 2, but as it goes on it has more gimmicks like the cannons from Sonic 3’s Carnival Night and the rolling block things which appeared in that level a lot too. Act 2 features lots of cards which are quite cool – some you sort of run on and it takes you around the level (which is kinda odd) and there are others which when you run through can win you prizes.

The third zone, Labyrinth, is actually less like Sonic 1’s Labyrinth as you’d imagine from its name. It has elements of Aquatic Ruins from Sonic 1 and Lava Reef from Sonic and Knuckles. This zone is by far the best in the game in my opinion. Act 2 of the level is in the dark except for a flame torch that Sonic holds, similar to the idea of Sandpollis act 2 in Sonic and Knuckles (albeit without the ghosts and the light switches). It also includes a little switch puzzle in it which would seem more in place in Tomb Raider, but I think it does work quite well. Your flame can also be used to set things on fire, like dynamite to explode things. The third act has a wall moving in to crush you, like Hydrocity Act 2 on Sonic 3. It feels a little bit more like the Hydrocity zone without actually having many elements from it. It also has minecarts, which when you jump on you ride – this has been seen before on Sonic 2 on the Master System in the Underground Zone, and I guess also in Sonic Spinball, though that one doesn’t really count. All acts include big stones that you either have to avoid when they drop from holes in the ceiling, or that you can run across. That is pretty fun. The end of Act 3 also contains the infinitely recurring waterfalls that appeared in Sonic 1’s Labyrinth zone.

Mad Gear is the final zone and it looks just like Metropolis City from Sonic 2. Despite having the familiar cogs and gears from that game (the interactive screws from the Sonic 2 version replaced with cogs that you can move), it actually plays a lot more like Chemical Plant from Sonic 2. In fact, I didn’t think much of this zone. In Act 3 you are chased by a big… thing… for much of the level (which reminded me of the Bridge level from Sonic 1 on the Master System), and I’m not convinced it works too well. Still, the levels do move quite fast, unlike (say) Scrap Brain from Sonic 1.

The final boss level has you beat all the previous bosses and then fight Death Egg from Sonic 2. It then goes weird and it takes a few times through to know what it does at every stage. Actually, it is just pretty annoying design rather than fun and challenging.

Overall, I got to say I liked it. I even liked it more than Sonic 2. But it is absolutely no where near as good as Sonic 3, especially when Sonic & Knuckles is plugged in to it. But that isn’t so surprising, no game is.

(And, yes, I have gone the whole review without including a single screenshot 😉 You can find those elsewhere.)

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