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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 Posted by Jake 1 comment Labels: , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 with 1 comment | Labels: , , , , , , , ,


The Conservative victory in the 2015 General Election has rightly been described by just about everyone as "stunning". However with the continuous repetition of this accurate assessment it is gradually being forgotten why it was stunning. And it has been forgotten what the immediate result of being stunned is.

The victory was stunning not because of its size, but because it happened at all. In fact Cameron's victory was smaller than any in recent decades except for his own performance in 2010, which forced him into coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

A report in September 2015 by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) throws some light on what caused this stunning event. In terms of changes in voter support, the report finds:

a) About the same number of voters shifted from Labour to Conservative as shifted from Conservative to Labour. Effectively cancelling each other out.

b) About the same number of voters shifted from Conservative to UKIP as shifted from the LibDems to the Conservatives. Effectively cancelling each other out in terms of number of votes, though not in terms of number of MPs.

c) Labour gained far more votes from the LibDems than the Tories did. But the Tories gained far more MPs from them. [Of the 49 seats the LibDems lost in 2015: Tories took 27; Labour took 12; SNP took 10].


David Cameron could well have quoted Henry V's not so famous speech in the Shakespeare play of that name. Not "Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more..", but the one at the end of the Battle of Agincourt:

"O God, thy arm was here;
And not to us, but to thy arm alone,
Ascribe we all! When, without stratagem,
But in plain shock and even play of battle,
Was ever known so great and little loss
On one part and on the other? Take it, God,
For it is none but thine!"

Though instead of "God", the credit would go to the "Electoral Arithmetic". The vast migration of voters (pictured in the IPPR graph below) crossing political borders to find a better life resulted in gifting the election to the Tories. The large number of votes the Tories lost to UKIP did not cost them any seats, nor gain UKIP any. While the small number of votes the Tories gained from the LibDems won them 27 additional MPs.


Many have forgotten what "stunning" and "being stunned" actually mean. The thing about stunned people is they tend not to see clearly. Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader of the Labour Party elicited terror from the Left and glee from the Right. Both were convinced that the Conservative's stunning victory proved the Labour Party needed to move Right in pursuit of electoral success. Both concluded a Leftier Corbyn-led party would hand the Tories power for a decade.

In stark contradiction to this belief, the IPPR report showed Labour would actually be noticeably less attractive to voters if it moved to the Right. Moving further to the Left would apparently make Labour marginally more popular.



What about the great tide of voters when the angry wind for UKIP and against the LibDems changes? Will it recede, and where will it recede to? The graphs below relate only to constituencies lost by the LibDems in the 2015 General Election:

a) Tories to UKIP:
Traditional Tory voters who moved to UKIP will be faced with months of derision from their former party. They will be told insisting on leaving the EU is a task for fools and buffoons. Will they return in the 2020 general election to the Tory party having been treated so scornfully by it? 

b) Lib-Dems to Tories:
The Liberal-Democrat party conference hall, in September 2015, echoed with promises of a great come-backThis is not so impossible. Now traditional Lib-Dem voters know that not voting Lib-Dem to punish the party for being too Tory, they ended up with actual Tories as their MPs. Perhaps next time they will be more careful what they vote for. With Labour a distant third in many of these lost seats, the voters would have to return to the Lib-Dem fold to eject their Tory MP. The Lib-Dems are not without consolation in their 2015 desolation, and have 20,000 extra shepherds to herd their lost sheep back into their fold:
The Conservative victory in 2015 was stunningly narrow. The 2020 election is for the Tories to lose as much as it is for Labour to win. Something the Tories are more likely to do if they continue to repel voters with their "Nasty Party" tendencies.

If the Tories truly believe Corbyn will be a disaster for Britain, then they owe it to save Britain by being less repellent even if it goes against the instincts of their current leadership. 


1 comment:

  1. Love your mix of poetry, statistics and cartoons in lively writing. I can't promote it though, with the advert for Lib Dem party in the middle and lesson endeth with vote Lib Dem at the bottom! Is that an essential?

    ReplyDelete

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