Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I have not been alone on the blogosphere in pointing out how the current electoral set up is almost criminally unfairly balanced towards Labour.  Very soon (May 7th to be precise) I think the full effect of just how unfair the electoral boundaries have become is about to come slamming home and it could be the wider electorate who are being courted like never before that will be demanding some answers when the results are being digested after the election.

With the Lib Dems polling above Labour today it would seem Labour's Plan B is working.  If the Lib Dems do well, it is the Tories that suffer more; Labour get in via the back door.

For example, if all three parties get exactly 30% of the popular vote, as a voter it would be fair for me to expect a roughly equal number of seats to be allocated to each give or take a reasonable margin of error.

Have a look at the UK Polling Report seat calculator, which is calculating seats based on a uniform swing which is admittedly is a little flawed, but paints a compelling picture none-the-less.  At 30% each, which is not beyond the realms of possibility looking at the current polls we would get the following outcome:

Labour 305 seats (-51)

Conservative 208 seats (+10)

Liberal Democrats 106 seats (+44)

Others 13 Seats (+1)

Northern Ireland 18 Seats (NC)

Do you see what I am seeing?  Not only do Labour come out massively on top despite attaining the same share of the vote as Conservatives and the Lib Dems, but even if we combined the Tory and Lib Dem vote, they could not form a minority government between them even if they wanted one with their combined tally.  Net result, Gordon clings on.

What about another scenario.  Let's give The Tories and the Lib Dems 32% each, and leave Labour on 26%.  Here's what comes out of the seat calculator:

Labour 252 seats (-104)

Conservative 243 seats (+45)

Liberal Democrats 124 seats (+62)

Others 13 Seats (+1)

Northern Ireland 18 Seats (NC)

Despite Labour potentially polling 6% less than the Tories and 6% less than the Lib Dems, they could end up with the most seats in the new Parliament. Net result, Gordon clings on.

It is the Electoral Commission who has held the responsibility for Electoral Boundary reviews can by no measure claim success for this distortion.  Such happenings are not chance occurances or accidents. 

Here's the thing, don't go knocking on their door on May 7th because they've just handed over responsibility for the boundaries to a brand new QUANGO called the Local Government Boundary Commission on 1st April 2010.  The body responsible for the stitch up will insist it is no longer anything to do with them, and this new body will rightly claim they had nothing to do with it.  We will be afforded No Questions, No Answers, No Accountability.  One body set up to provide a stitch up quietly melts away where its actions can no longer be called to account and a new QUANGO takes its place at great cost to us both financially and electorally.

Boundaries aside there is another point.  Postal Votes will be going out soon and I believe they can arrive between one to two weeks before the actual election day; so the "others" and the Conservatives had better get their arguments sharpened real quick if they are serious about kicking Brown out.    Postal voting is becoming more popular so there are some serious votes to be won and lost at this next debate because those ballots could be in the post before the last debate comes around. 

If the Tory plan is to give Nick Clegg more rope in the hope he hangs himself then they are going to lose because time is just about up and I am not convinced they understand this.  If Lib Dem support is a novelty, if it is a whim then the Tories need to know that they do not have the luxury of time. 

Cameron's term can be characterised because of his seemingly hubristic belief that when Labour fail, people will move to the Conservatives; so he moved the Tories left, in an attempt to seize the centre ground.  In the last week however, that centre ground went Orange.  Since last Thursday Brown seems to have retreated into the bunker and the Conservatives appear to have lost that little bit of momentum and confidence they had just started to get in the lead up to that first debate.  Fraser Nelson seems to be making a better case for the Conservatives and is more visible in the last few days than David Cameron.

There are plenty more twists and turns left in this campaign yet.

1 comment:

Tarquin said...

What can I say - our constituency voting system is a disgrace, even if it wasn't gerrymandered you could never get an even balance because it's based on local decisions, this particularly affects the Lib dems due to them having a wider distribution of the vote - does this mean you're for a form of PR, Dan?

It'll be interesting to see the Tory reaction if Labour get less votes and more seats, as is highly likely - the Tories support the FPTP constituency system to the hilt (because it does favour them as well), to question it based on total number of votes leaves them rather exposed to the electoral reform campaign, which they have constantly poo-pooed this year