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That hill British Labour is climbing… August 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…just got a bit steeper so it would seem. As I keep saying, I’ve no illusions the next election would be won by the Tories, and neither should anyone – this is a long project, but sheesh, hard not to feel that the boundary changes likely to be implemented by the review of parliamentary boundaries which is out in the next month is likely to be deeply problematic for the party.

Up to 30 Labour seats could disappear altogether, says Lord Hayward, an analyst widely regarded as an expert on the boundary review, while the rest will see their composition altered in some form.

Although the changes will also affect the Conservatives, Hayward, a Tory peer, said his analysis of demographics in the UK concluded that Labour is over-represented.

Here’s an interesting twist on this.

The opposition party is also angry that the boundary changes are based on the number of people on the electoral register at the end of 2015, arguing that 2m extra people signed up in the run-up to the EU referendum this year. “Worryingly, under the Tories’ plan, not a single one of those 2 million extra people will be taken into account in the drawing up of the new constituency boundaries. This is simply wrong and runs the risk of further distorting the Boundary Review Process,” he added.

Some MPs argue it is unfair not to take into account people who live in constituencies but are not signed up to the electoral register.

In this state boundaries are dictated by population figures which seems only reasonable.


1. An Cathaoirleach - August 29, 2016

The Irish system throws up huge discrepancies too. By counting total population, rather than say those with an entitlement to vote, the votes required to be elected in constituencies varies considerably.

In relation to the second point you make, there is no evidence that the increase in those registering the UK are in specific areas. However as the seats are initially allocated by region, using the estimated population, the number of voters only then kicks in.

The requirement to make the adjustments in constituencies in the UK reflect a movement of voters to more prosperous areas, which generally elect Conservatives. The changes this time will be far greater this time because the LibDems vetoed the changes during the life of the previous Government.

The allocation of seats to particular regions is based on the population estimates for those regions. Northern Ireland is entitled to 17.04 seats based on my calculations of the UK mid 2015 population estimates and will have 17 seats. The allocation of seats will be around averaging the voter numbers, excepting the Western Isles & the Isle of Wight.

The core problem for the BLP is,as this excellent BBC map shows, http://www.bbc.com/news/election/2015/results/england their seats outside of London, are grouped in a small number of areas. The party got 38.6% of English seats from 31.6% of the vote & 62.5% of the seats in Wales on 36.9% of the popular vote. But as can be seen, the concentration.

The BLP was a beneficiary of the first past the post system in England & Wales in 2015, which hid how badly it was really doing in failing to win voters outside its core areas.

However, with Conservatives having an 11% lead & the combined Centre right/right vote, running consistently at around 60% (C40%, UKIP 13% LibDem 8% YouGov 22/23 Aug), whether the next UK election is fought on current boundaries or new boundaries, or having 650 or 600 seats is academic, as the following estimate of seats shows using the current boundaries. https://twitter.com/Election_UK/status/770183634024296449

Redrawing the constituencies is not the problem for the BLP. Their problem is that the vast majority of the electorate are not interested in their policies. The UK electoral system discriminates against smaller parties, particularly in England, leaving them as a beneficiary of a generally unfair system. The losers in England have been the Right in the form of UKIP and the LibDems.


WorldbyStorm - August 29, 2016

I’m not disagreeing really with anything you say, though i would say that representation based on population sits better with me than based on registered voters, since representatives at least nominally and generally de facto represent all citizens equally or at least should.


An Cathaoirleach - August 29, 2016

With the seats per region being are based on population, the only area within the UK,where a distortion is likely is to be in London, where there is a particularly high concentration of residents without parliamentary voting rights. The core problem here being EU nationals, not just here but also in the UK.

Opting for a voter model in Ireland would move seats from Dublin. Again the main concentration of those without votes is of EU nationals living in the Greater Dublin area. A friend, who is a member of FG, argues that they all EU nationals, not just UKs, should be granted rights to vote in Dáil elections, on the expedient that most would probably vote for centre-right parties!

The voter count, rather than population, is I understand, used in Spain too, but I am open to correction. My understanding is that it traditionally mainly favours the PP, but also the PSOE.

The main problem for the BLP is they are now at a tipping point in England, where their vote is slipping in marginal constituencies to a point that they will have no chance of every winning them. It is quite likely that they will become net losers in the first past the post lottery, as they already are in Scotland & as UKIP & LibDems etc are in England.


WorldbyStorm - August 29, 2016

Just on that I would assume like the RoI such assessments could be made from the census and exclude those from the EU bar RoI citizens (as that latter group ate allowed to). That shouldn’t present too great a problem and would deal with distortions. ButI think it largely irrelevant who the citizen model ‘favours’ politically.


Liberius - August 29, 2016

Opting for a voter model in Ireland would move seats from Dublin. Again the main concentration of those without votes is of EU nationals living in the Greater Dublin area.

Can you give me a good reason why people living in this state (foreign citizens, or under-age Irish citizens) shouldn’t be represented politically, as that’s what voter based delimitation of constituency boundaries implies? Of course the de-facto representation of these people will still happen, but with the remaining TDs left to deal with extra workload.

All of this is without even contemplating the accuracy of the electoral register, with deceased elderly still on the register and frequently moving younger people not.

On the subject of BLP, the interesting effect of the boundary changes are that many MPs will be pitted against each other in the selections for the new constituencies, given the changes in membership that might spell the end for many a hardcore Blairite who will lose both to Corbynites and the ‘soft left’ types.


2. Roger Cole - August 29, 2016

Predicting the future is a mugs game especially in a period of change as reflected in the decision of the British people to reject membership of the emerging European Empire. Corbyn accepts the decision the British people unlike his opponent and if he wins (not guaranteed) it will be an endorsement of the decision of the British people. While it is not possible to predict the future of the BLP, now the largest party in GB & NI, there is a case to be made that winning the next election is a real option.


An Cathaoirleach - August 29, 2016

Roger, The Right, Centre-right in the UK polled 57.4% in the last UK GE in 2015. This is excluding the Unionists and others. Since then, their combined numbers show small but consistent improvements. The BLP is fishing in a small pond, perhaps just one third of the electorate. In the past it has been a coalition (a word I know you hate) of interests, particularly of various ethnicities.

A large number of members, busily talking to each other,reflects nothing. As Newton Emerson so succinctly pointed out recently the LP in NI (chaired by his mother in law) has more members than voters.

As for your comments on the the UK referendum, those who wish to remain have every right to fight the decision, in the same way that the SNP continues to prepare for a second Scottish referendum. Corbyn’s behaviour during the referendum and in its aftermath was telling.

The outcome of the BLP’s leadership election is the endorsement of a “selectorate”, a group of people who have chosen to be members of a body, no more, no less. They have self-selected, they do not represent anyone other than themselves & to say otherwise is not just ridiculous, but plain stupid.


WorldbyStorm - August 29, 2016

Isnt there another aspect which is the majority of actual blp supporters, and those who still support it under Corbyn supported Remain. What point is there in alienating them?


3. sonofstan - August 29, 2016

“The outcome of the BLP’s leadership election is the endorsement of a “selectorate”, a group of people who have chosen to be members of a body, no more, no less”

OK, that includes me. I’ve voted for Corbyn. I live in a constituency and a local authority area where the Tories have ruled since Domesday probably. Chequers, Disraeli’s Hughenden, Cliveden, are all within easy cycle distance. It’s as pickled in Toryism as Denis Thatchers’ liver.

What am I supposed to do politically? Pretend that there’s a point to canvassing for a candidate who has no connection with the locality and doesn’t even represent the local party, for a seat that’s unwinnable by saying things that tories find unobjectionable? Or else campaign to start making it possible to ask the sort of questions that 35 years of tory/ NuLab hegemony have rendered unaskable? The second is working against longer odds, maybe, but the first won’t succeed either and, even if it did, wouldn’t change anything.

Liked by 1 person

Michael Carley - August 29, 2016

That is the best summary I have seen of the difference between the pro- and anti-Corbyn camps.


WorldbyStorm - August 29, 2016

+1 both the above.


4. 6to5against - August 29, 2016

Another complexity when evaluating the UK system is that comparing the seat share to the vote share is not at all straight forward. In a safe seat the turnout can be unnaturally depressed for all parties. So, in a LP safe seat, for example, many Tories simply wont bother to vote because of the apparent futility in doing so. But at the same time, the LP vote may also be suppressed because many Labour voters will be, often rightly, complacent.

Discussion about how unrepresentative nature of the system always focuses on the penalty that smaller parties face – and I think its clear they are heavily penalised. But its also possible that in some areas, large parties can be penalised too.

I saw an analysis once that the LP suffers more in this way than the Tories because there are a large number of seats where they have overwhelming support, but can still only get one seat. But I cant recall where I saw it. Perhaps somebody mor3e knowledgeable than I can fill that in or correct me.

I suppose my basic point is a FPTP system distorts everything. Not just the MP-to-vote ratio, but the actual vote itself.


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