And more results…

The patterns from last night seem to be a thumping victory for the SNP in Scotland, Labour heading for victory in Wales. In the English local elections the Liberal Democrats are suffering badly, facing extreme losses in Northern cities and patchier losses elsewhere. The Conservatives are experiencing modest losses to Labour, but these are being cancelled out by gains from the Lib Dems.

This afternoon we have the rest of Wales, Scotland and the locals before counting starts on the referendum at 4pm.

Finally, YouGov have released data from polling on election day (a sort of online exit-poll) here.

375 Responses to “And more results…”

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  1. @ Last Fandango (11.03)

    “And I msu admit a dgeree of confusion on the health reforms. A good chunk of Lansley’s bill is drawn from the Lib Dem manifesto on health! The only material difference between Lansley’s bill and the Lib Dem manifesto is that Lansely gives the power to GPs where the Lib Dems would give it to locally elected Health Boards.”


    I admit to not having carefully studied the Lansley bill but on the basis of Shirley William’s coments (she evidently spent a week going thro it line by line) it is a recipe for disaster and the differences between it and LD policy are significant, most of it in the smalll print which effectively enables privatisation.

    As Jenny Tongue said this morning, there is no need for immediate NHS reform (which is based on one person’s ideas) and it should be delayed for 2- 3 years allowing significant consultation with all interested parties, not just GPs.

  2. I think people misunderstand the problem the Tories have with HoL reform.

    It isn’t because they like unelected peers appointed at the whim of a PM as a matter of principle.

    The issue is how do reform the HoL and introduce election without compromising the primacy of the House of Commons. Many Tory backbenchers (as well as very many Labour bankbenchers – probably a majority of them) are highly jealous of the HoC’s primacy, its powers and its privileges.

    It is a constitutionalist debate.

  3. @Peter Bell

    “As Jenny Tongue said this morning, there is no need for immediate NHS reform (which is based on one person’s ideas) and it should be delayed for 2- 3 years allowing significant consultation with all interested parties, not just GPs.”

    Aye to that!

  4. @CheeseWolf

    “if there is independence in Scotland, how long before there’s an outbreak of tartan in Newcastle?”

    Even without independence, the question of unequal representation for England and the other countries of the UK is a boil that is going to have to be lanced. And with the Scottish parliament very much in the public eye, it’s a question which is going to re-emerge very soon I think.

    My preference would be for full regional government, but I don’t think that has enough support to be achieveable. So, as a (good) second-best, what I would *really* like to see proposed in the next Labour manifesto is provision for an English parliament, to be elected using the same AV+ formula as for Scotland and Wales, with the same powers as for Scotland (possibly with an adjustment for both, and probably also a further increment in the powers of the Welsh assembly).

  5. “The issue is how do reform the HoL and introduce election without compromising the primacy of the House of Commons.”

    And how do you get all the legisaltion through the HoL without parliament acting everything in sight ?

    When I spoke about a tory backbencher saying the tory peers would kill the HoL reform stone dead, he was in favour of the reforms and thought that.

    It’s a pretty stupid issue to place all your hopes and dreams on since although important to those interested in such constitutional matters the wider public really couldn’t care less.

    What does that remind you of ?

  6. @Colin (11.20 am)

    ” most of the LD party want to return to the party as it was before the Orange Bookers made their appearance”

    That’s easy then-pull the plug & return to opposition.

    It’s much more comfortable there-no decisions of substance ever required”

    IMO, being in government is not the issue. Our problems would exists whether or not we were part of government.

    The issue is that we have lost our identity as Clegg, Alexander, Laws et al have taken the party to the right such that the electorate see us as identical to the CONS. It is time for Huhne, Fallon, Cable, Hughes et al to pull the party back to left of centre which is where we were seen by the electorate prior to the election. Providing we maintain our principles I see no reason why we can’t return as part of centre left government in the long term.

  7. @ Oldnat

    re: Salmond’s “Arc of Prosperity”

    Seriously, I think lots of politicians make comments that come back to haunt them. The SNP are no different! 8-)

  8. Peter Kellner has just been on Radio 4 having reached pretty well the same conclusion on the raw seat gains and losses as I did in earlier comments on this thread. Those comments were:

    “Here’s a quick back of the envelope calculation to illustrate the fallacy of just looking at a raw seat count when Labour has done disproportionately well in the met districts compared to shire districts.

    In Birmingham, Labour gained 35% of the seats being contested (and couldn’t have gained 100% as it already held a fair chunk of these). The City’s population is just over 1 million. So roughly 360,000 of Birmingham’s population can be assumed to live in an area which saw a Labour gain.

    Yet that’s only 14 seats because the City’s seats are so large and only 1/3 of councillors were up for election.

    That 360,000 is a population equivalent to that of perhaps 4 medium sized shire districts each with perhaps 45 seats. 180 seats in total. About 2/3rds of shire districts have held whole council elections, most of the rest elections by thirds. So roughly 75% of shire district seats have been up for election.

    So Birmingham’s 14 Labour gains are equivalent (in terms of population and presumably electorate) to some 135 Labour gains in typical shire district seats up for election.

    OK, Birmingham is an extreme case. But its seats are perhaps only around twice the size of those in a typical met district.”


    “The Conservatives had 6 Birmingham seat losses. That’s equivalent to 58 Conservative seat losses in shire districts. A fact lost to any raw seat tally. See above for the maths.

    The Conservatives are only up on seats because like-for-like comparisons are not being made between their losses in the met districts and their gains in the shire districts.”

  9. Also, since we’re talking about what should happen within the LibDems – SDP/Liberal split, etc..
    I would also like to see the left (of which I’m a member, so it’s not a ‘the left should split so the Tories win comment) split so there is an actual socialist party to vote for.

    If we’re going to have FPTP (which reinforces 2 party politics), perhaps we need to change the law so each party must declare for coalition ‘super parties’ – similar to the setup for Europarties.

    Then SDP/Socialist/Labour/Green could run against each other in local elections, but their united vote would count in FPTP.
    Then Liberal/Tory/UKIP/etc could run against each other, but their united vote could count under FPTP.

    So if you get a result of –
    36% – Labour (Progressive Alliance)
    35% – Tory (National Alliance)
    25% – UKIP (National Alliance)
    4% – Green (Progressive Alliance)

    60% National Alliance
    40% Progressive Alliance
    Then you’d end up with a Tory MP (FPTP result of FPTP result).

    That way it solves the split-left vote problem and, if UKIP become a bigger party, the split-right vote problem.

  10. @Phil.

    Thanks for setting out the analysis of voting patterns in Birmingham. Is there any chance of a similar review of voting patterns in Manchester? 8-)

  11. @Robin

    I was agreeing with you until you focused on the idea of an English parliament rather than English regional government.

    There is a fair chance that a proper proposal for regional government, this time with a very significant devolution of powers from Westminster, will be one of the key constitutional proposals to emerge from Miliband’s policy review. Wales and Scotland have shown how devolution can be a success and proposals for English devolution will be judged in that context. The North East would surely jump at the chance a second time around, provided that a real rather than token transfer of powers from Westminster was part of the offer.

    The idea of list systems for devolved regional government across the UK is probably also the way forward for electoral reform, now that AV has been kicked out by such an emphatic margin.

  12. Landocakes

    “And so the re-writing begins.”
    I don’t know where you have been for the last 12 years, but the idea that the AMS system was introduced to stop the possibility of the SNP ever getting a majority has been written about by political commentators since 1998.

    While it may not actually be correct, as we have learned much from John B Dick’s description of Dewar’s thinking, to suggest that Stuart is re-writing history is both inaccurate and churlish.

  13. @Rob Sheffield

    I’m going to have to disagree with Freedland’s analysis. Clegg is electorally unpopular (to put it mildly) but the AV defeat wasn’t caused by him. The point of referendums is to trust the people sufficiently to come up with reasoned decisions, and I think they did. A lot of politicians acted badly or inadequately (the “No” campaign lied like troopers, the “Yes” campaign couldn’t find their behind with both hands and a map, the BBC fielded Jeremy Vine…oh gawd) but the *people* didn’t. A lot of people sat down, had a think, wondered which way was better, and came to a decision – it’s not one I agree with, but I understand the process and I’m proud of them.

    Freedland’s analysis is clouded by the collective nervous breakdown the Guardian is currently having – a left wing paper that supports Labour, the Liberals, electoral reform and popular democracy can’t cope with the fact that Yellow went off with Blue and a majority of the people don’t want AV.

    However, instead of taking my word for it, why don’t we just ask Anthony… :-)

    @Anthony Wells

    Anthony, I assume YouGov or some poll-ly thingy will be holding a “Well, why didn’t you vote for AV?” post-election poll. Is there one being held and, if so, when will it be published?

    Regards, Martyn

  14. @Phil

    “I was agreeing with you until you focused on the idea of an English parliament rather than English regional government.”

    Unfortunately, I think the politics of this will make regional government a difficult thing to sell. There are also some quite reasonable difficulties in setting it up, such as the question of where the boundaries should be, rivalries over where should be the seat of government…

    On the other hand, proposing an English parliament (based in Birmingham perhaps?) would be going with the grain of wider political opinion (including spiking some Tory guns in a very serious and electorally advantageous way), and would have a real chance of being viewed as a “serious” policy. Unfortunately, regional givernment doesn’t have that cache, and will tend to be dismissed as being an unnecessary tier of government suggested by those on the bureaucratic left-wing fringe (no matter how untrue that might be).

  15. Forgot to add one further big reason to avoid regional government. I wouldn’t wish to condemn the south and southeast outside London to permanent Tory rule… :-)

  16. @Phil

    “There is a fair chance that a proper proposal for regional government, this time with a very significant devolution of powers from Westminster”

    It HAS to be part of the manifesto and NOT requiring a referendum though…

    We said the same the last time after the landslide in 1997- all the polls- before the ’97 GE- were 80-20 in favour in the NE for devolution to a Tyneside chamber.

    But by the time of the actual referendum (November **2004** !!!) it became lost (by 75-25) in a mixture of mid term anti Iraq war kicking and a similar-to-AV negative ‘no’ campaign which played the man not the ball by simply asking: “do you want EVEN more politicians” nod nod wink wink.

    Referenda are- in the UK context of FPTP GE’s- nonsensical.

    Referendum questions- by and large and there should be exceptions such as Europe- should IMO be matters that are part of the manifesto i.e. you voted for us and implicit in that vote is an acceptance of our platform.

    Only where there is an unclear result- such as May 2010- should major issues be decided by referenda if they cannot be left to the subsequent GE.

    So hopefully regional government will be back on the policy agenda- both in a much stronger/ more decentralised version than that proposed last time; and also NOT subject to any post GE referenda.

    Decentralised government (with strong regional institutions) is something that Labour and the Liberal Democrats can agree upon :D

  17. SoCalLiberal

    Sorry, I was trying to outline the rationale behind the regional seats rather than the method. Though I should have also added that, as John B Dick points out, the high number of ‘top-up’ seats in Scotland means that even the largest parties tend to get some of them. This enables some MSPs to become specialists in some areas without having to spend most of their time dealing with constituency matters. This is especially useful in a unicameral system like Scotland.

    Anyway I should have also tried to explain how they actually work out the regional seats. According to Wikipedia:

    …[regional seats] are allocated to parties proportionally to the number of votes received in the second [regional] vote of the ballot using the d’Hondt method. For example, to determine who is awarded the first list seat, the number of list votes cast for each party is divided by one plus the number of seats the party won in the region (at this point just constituency seats). The party with the highest quotient is awarded the seat, which is then added to its constituency seats in allocating the second seat. This is repeated iteratively until all available list seats are allocated.

    If you look at the Wikipedia article on The d’Hondt method it states that this is equivalent to the Jefferson method (named after the U.S. statesman Thomas Jefferson) in that they always give the same results, but the method of calculating the apportionment is different

    So you’ll just have to blame those pesky Founding Fathers and their new-fangled ideas.

    The difference between the system for the Scottish Parliament and that used in DC is that there are no reserved seats – to get into the SP you have to get votes on the regional list and are rewarded proportionally (after taking the constituency seats in the region into account). Of course both systems are vulnerable to “false-flag” operation – as you’ve pointed out before, in DC Democrats can stand as Independents or for some third party to get elected in the reserved seats. But that hasn’t happened in Scotland.

  18. @Valerie
    There’s a new thread. You’ll find the calculation there.

  19. “Speaker Betty Boothroyd was plunged on Wednesday morning into this thorny grammatical debate: is the plural of referendum ‘referendums’ or ‘referenda’…”

    “Referendums is logically preferable as a plural form meaning ballots on one issue (as a Latin gerund, referendum has no plural). The Latin plural gerundive referenda, meaning things to be referred, necessarily connotes a plurality of issues.” (OED)

  20. To be fair to Donald Dewar the AMS system was introduced to prevent the SNP (and Labour!) from winning a majority of seats with only 35% of the vote as was quite possible in the four party system Scotland had in the mid 90s.

    It was not designed to prevent a party getting 45% or so of the vote from getting a majority. Now Donald Dewar himself would peobably have preferred that to be Scottish Labour but I reckon he wouldn’t grudge Alex Salmond the success and I’m certain he would appreciate how Alex will spend the next four years extracting concessions out of Westminster before even thinking about an independence referendum.

    I’ve always thought we would never really appreciate the Scottish Parliament until we had a Conservative government back in Westminster, this is the situation it was designed for. Now it is to Scottish Labour’s disadvantage that they had no one with the political street smarts of Dewar left in the Scottish parliament to take advantage of this scenario but I reckon overall Donald Dewar will look down on what happens in Scotland in the next five years happy enough about most of it. Albeit he’d not be in favour of a Yes vote in an independence referendum.

  21. Robin

    In this interests of impartiality, you should have added that condemning the northern cities to permanent labour rule would be equally inhumane!

  22. Oldnat

    Hmm. I could have said the description of the work of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, as approved by the Scottish people in a referendum, as “silly and undemocratic” was “inaccurate and churlish”. I thought that just pointing out the factual inaccuracy was enough though.

  23. The Last Fandango
    “Fascinated as to how you think Labour can offer electoral reform.”

    I mean for HoC.
    I realise that the scale of the No in the AV ref is a serious problem, as is the evident like of FPTP by a large slice of Lab. But a chunck of the NO vote is IMO attributable to wanting to kick NC.

    But…I’m thinking beyond these and envisaging a time when the impact of boundary changes, the reduction in MPs and the potential loss of Scotland, could indicate that it would be impossible for Lab to achieve an OM.

    The transfer (back) to Lab of loaned votes to the LDs suggests to me that Lab has potentially much to gain from embracing PR. Whether this will gain traction in Lab remaions to be seen.

    An electoral pact of LD and L with PR as the price is attractive (to me).

  24. Robin,

    Yes, it’s must easier. The most left-wing people in the Lib Dem party are more natural allies of the Tories than Blairites and Caroline Lucas.

    If you’re proposing a confidence-and-supply under minority government, rather than a formal coalition, then I think we have a huge difference of assumptions about how popular Labour is amongst the parliamentary left.

    Also, regarding the Lib Dems: if they benefit from this arrangement, then they can threaten Ed with a dissolution of parliament. If they don’t benefit, then there’s no point in leaving the coalition and it would ruin their chances of being seen as dependable coalition partners (by either the Tories or Labour) for a long, long time. Also, having alienated the left of the party, I doubt they want to alienate the right as swell.

    But I don’t think it would be any minor party or the LDs which would bring down such a coalition. It would be Ed Miliband, fed up with having no ability to run an agenda through parliament without having to make concessions to every Tom, Dick and Harriet. Minority government is a brutal experience. The SNP had an easy time because Salmond dominates the party and they’re a highly disciplined/ambitious bunch anyway. What you are proposing would be even harder than the 1970s.

    Do Plaid and the Alliance support Labour’s plans for spending cuts?

    Ed Miliband is a smart guy. He must surely that his best chances is in 2015, when he’s rebuilt Labour from the ground-up and the economy is back on track. That’s when, as in 1964 and 1997, Ed can win it for Labour on the basis that “The Tories would spend and cut taxes that way, but you can have it so much better this way…”

    (Also, your numerics are pre-by-elections. There is already a Tory + nationalist combination of 325 and there’s no reason to expect that would get anything but larger under a minority Labour government that was making big cuts in public expenditure and the current Lib Dems who will lose by-elections before 2015.)

    There is a very good reason why the leadership had no enthusiasm for a Rainbow Coalition back in 2010. Gordon was not a moron.

  25. Roger Mexico

    Yes it’s more linked together than appears at first sight. List seats and specialists; proper job for MSP’s with Unicameral; numbers of constituencies in each region of each type and the right number to be effective.

    44% producing a majority isn’t what was intended, but it isn’t that far away. If the SNP do what they say they will do and involve other parties, that will compensate.

    Northumbrian Scot is right. 44% isn’t 50% but it’s a lot nearer than 35%. I think it was designed to prevent a 44% party getting a majority actually and it’s close, but not perfect. With regional variations it may not be possible to be closer to the ideal without compromising something else.

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