Yesterday the review of the Parliamentary boundaries for the next general election kicked off – not that there is much to see yet. The English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland Boundary Commissions announced the beginning of the review, the electorate figures which they’ll be working off, and the number of seats that each country and region will be divided up into.

The review will be based on the same new rules as the review that was abandoned during the last Parliament. The amendment passed by Labour and the Lib Dems didn’t reverse the changes that the government had made to the rules on boundary reviews, they just delayed the next review for five years. This means the new review starts up now and will report in 2018, ready to be implemented for the 2020 election. This is not a case of the aborted review from the last Parliament being implemented, it’s a brand new review based on updated electorate numbers. However in terms of the broad strokes the proposals will be quite similar.

The boundary review will reduce the number of seats from 650 to 600, and go from boundaries based on 2001 electorates to boundaries based on 2015 electorates. Comparing the current boundaries to proposed new ones there will be some very substantial changes – it’s inevitable when fifty seats are being chopped. Comparing the numbers to what would have happened under the aborted review in the last Parliament the changes will be more modest.

Scotland will see its current 59 seats fall to 53 (compared to 52 in the aborted review), Wales will see its seat numbers fall from 40 to 29 (compared to 30 in the aborted review), Northern Ireland will get 17 seats (compared to 18 currently, 16 in the aborted review). Across the English regions the South East and East will lose 1 seat each, the East Midlands will lose 2 seats, North East 4, Yorkshire 4, London 5, West Midlands 6 and the North West 7. In most cases these figures are the same as the aborted review – the differences are that the West Midlands will lose an extra seat (probably in the Metropolitan area), the Eastern region will lose one less seat (it looks to me like Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire will no longer require a cross-county seat and the loss there will no longer happen, so Nadine Dorries will be reprieved) and the North East will lose an extra seat.

My calculations last year were that if the 2015 election had been fought on the boundaries from the aborted review it would have given the Conservatives a majority of 44. The Tories would have won nine fewer seats, Labour 28 fewer, the SNP six fewer and the Lib Dems just four. The impact of this new boundary review will likely be broadly similar, but perhaps a little worse for Labour: the extra seat reductions in the North East and West Midlands are likely to be Labour, the relative gains in the East Midlands and Scotland will be Conservative and SNP.

Those won’t the only differences though – we’ve had five years of population drift and the change in registration since then, so many of the proposals the boundary commissions made in 2012 would no longer add up anyway. Unavoidably, the detailed proposals will be different from what we saw in 2012. These won’t be extra seats created or abolished, just boundaries drawn in different ways. To give a couple of examples –

Coventry currently has three seats, and at the aborted review it still had just the right population to retain three seats for itself. Its electorate has now fallen to the point where it’s impossible to draw three seats that hit quota, so while there will still be three seats covering Coventry, one will have to take in some wards from outside Coventry, I’d guess from Warwickshire.

University seats saw a particular drop in the number of registered electors from the move to individual registration, so Cambridge constituency as it was previously proposed will no longer be large enough. There will still almost certainly be a Cambridge seat, but it will now probably cover the whole of the Cambridge council area and have to include a ward from outside Cambridge to make up the numbers.

Other areas where the electorate has dropped notably since the aborted boundary review include Blackpool, Leeds, Oxford, Kensington, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Carlisle and Newcastle. In places like these proposals will probably be substantially different to the aborted review – boundaries will need to move outwards, or the Commissions will choose to arrange the boundaries in completely different ways. At the other end of the scale, the electorate is notably higher in places like East Devon, Bedfordshire, Thanet, Greenwich and Bermondsey, so movement there is likely to be in the opposite direction.

In some cases those small adjustments will have a domino effect and require big changes through a whole county to make sure everything is in quota (though it is has been suggested that the English boundary commission will be more willing to split wards, making their task easier and – hopefully – avoiding some of the dafter proposals we saw last time). Even where there are small changes they may have party partisan effects here and there, making seats that little bit better or worse for parties, tipping the occasional marginal into the other column.

We won’t have any further details until the Commissions release their initial proposals, expected to be in September. At that point we will be able to start working out notional figures and coming up with detailed estimates of what the partisan impact of the boundary changes will be.


203 Responses to “The new boundary review gets going”

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  1. re-Irish election.
    An Independent block is surely a contradiction in terms. The 13 referred to will not be subject to a whip of any kind and will sit as TDs as individuals.

  2. Merv King is saying some interesting stuff about bankiing reform (hasn’t happened) the next crash (will happen), and the break up of the Eurozone (should happen).

    Meanwhile, Bloombergs think Osborne is £17b short of his ‘legally binding’ target to reduce the debt ratio year on year. Why – it was only three months ago that the OBR said the public finances were much better than we thought and there was no need for further fiscal tightening (although they only said this after a series of belligerent emails were sent to the OBR from the Treasury telling them to change their sums….).

    I think the OBR is rapidly losing any pretentions to impartiality and looks increasingly like the political fig leaf it was always designed to be. This is a shame, as a genuinely credible and independent assessor of the public finances would have very useful, regardless of which party was in power.

    We are also witnessing the daftness of making legally binding rules on government expenditure. Civil servants have two weeks to shift as much spending into the next financial year as possible, which is highly disruptive to government functions as well as being completely meaningless in economic management terms, all to try and save the chancellors short term reputation when he stands up on March 16th.

    If they don’t succeed, what happenes? Do we fine ourselves? Imprison the chancellor? Or just get him to make a statement to the HoC where he has a majority? Pointless.

    You wouldn’t run a whelk stall like this, let alone a national economy. Barking.

  3. Increasingly interested in the eventual political impact of the budget. As I think AW has previously posted, budgets rarely make the polling weather, but the circumstances this time are subtley different.

    In December things were good, we were told, but they are patently not good now. Osborne is already winding people up for further cuts, but while the see saw briefing around austerity confuses the government message, it doesn’t appear likely to cause any substantial shift in sentiment.

    A more interesting area lies with pension reform. Everyone seems to think Osborne is planning major changes, possibly scrapping the tax free lump sum, but certainly acting on tax relief for higher earners.

    There area lot of ways this could be done, some of which actually increase reliefs for the 80% of standard rate taxpayers while still saving billions, but at present all the noise is coming from the likely losers. Even the Guardian is complaining that people with a £1m pension pot (a £40,000 pension, on top of the state penion, so getting on for twice average earnings for working people) could be hit, which says more about Guardian readers than their sense of fairness, I suspect.

    The majority of those likely to lose out will be Tory voters though, and the losses could well be substantial. However, the losses won’t crystalize for years – possibly decades, so whether voters are swayed remains a moot point.

    Beneath this, there are also the changes to the state pension. A lot of people retiring now will find they don’t get the promised £155, and they will feel a bit let down, while we are finally getting some reporting of the huge future cuts that the new system means, particularly to low earners.

    Again, these impacts are many years down the line, so probably low salience, but a combination of sombre economic news, more cuts, and attacks to pensions among both well off Tory voters alongside the young and low earners might just start to tip the public mood.

    The problem is where would they turn to? Corbyn’s Labour doesn’t seem to me to me a ready receptical, but I do wonder if the Osborne/Cameron political axis starts to become less popular, whether a Boris led leave campaign may be the short term beneficiary?

  4. Personally I see an entirely different roll for Boris. If ever there was a time when he should take advantage of the fact that he was born in the USA, surely this is it. An Eton educated US president would be something of an improvement.

  5. OldNat

    Andy Shadrack sums it up pretty well though the IA are almost certain to get Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran[1] in in Longford-Westmeath and probably Finian McGrath in Dublin Bay North[2]. The other outstanding constituency is Wexford, where for some strange Wexfordian reason they didn’t count on Sunday, and I assumed one Ind and 2FG in the remaining seats.

    There are also recounts scheduled in Dublin South West and South Central[3]. For the latter I went on the RTE figures which had the AAA-PBP 35 ahead of FF, but FF were ahead by 5 in the previous count and I’m not sure where the extra 46 votes that reversed this came from. In SW, Katherine Zappone’s[4] lead of 153 over FG looks more secure, but if it is overturned you need to reduce the Independents total by one.

    However even the IA is a pretty heterogeneous group and it’s probably best to look at the 22 Independents as comprising two halves: 11 ‘Rurals’ and 11 ‘Lefties'[5]. The Rurals

    The Rurals are mainly concerned with pushing the interests of their constituencies and opposing rural deprivation generally. They are all male and often called Michael[6]. They are often ‘cute hoors’ but their general conservativism is generally tempered by clientelism and looking after the interests of their voters.

    The Lefties[7] are also concerned with the interests of their constituents, but tend to see these in a wider political context. They often have a background in social activism before politics and about half this group are women (5/11). Only one is called Mike.

    These Independents aren’t a new thing. 15 of them were in the old Dail, some in previous ones[8], and many have a background in local government either as Independents or for Parties they then fell out with. But there are a lot more than ever before and they will make running any sort of government harder with support depending on a wide variety of pork barrel demands.

    [1] Why his name always appears like that I have no idea, but it does. I gave the last seat in L-W to Labour rather than SF, but the Lab candidate is a bit gloomy this morning so I may be wrong (though he’s already conceded once and then had to unconcede, so maybe he’s always like that).

    [2] My numbers assume McGrath, 1 AAA-PBP and 1 SF. This is in addition to 1 FG and 1 FF (the brother and son of former Taoseachs respectively – not for nothing is there a very long Wiki article on Families in the Oireactas) who are bound to get in. But Labour and Ind (ex-Lab) are also well in there and the candidate who is about to be eliminated is (a) disputing it and (b) a feminist ex-FF Senator (now Independent) and very liberal on social issues, so heavens knows where her votes will go.

    [3] There are always long recounts in South Dublin seats, I think it’s in the Constitution. Recounts in South Central in 1992 went on for 10 days (ironically the loser went on to be elected for Labour in 2011 and was the last person to be eliminated in this count).

    [4] If the name sounds familiar, she is the lesbian feminist theologian who started off the gay marriage debate in Ireland by trying to get her Canadian marriage to her wife recognised. She’s actually been a very effective member of the Senate, but the experts didn’t expect her to do as well in these elections as she has.

    [5] This is a simplification as two of the Lefties (Thomas Pringle in Donegal and Seamus Healy in Tipperary) represent rural constituencies, though strong in the towns and the same applies to Catherine Connolly in Galway West.

    [6] Five out of eleven. Rural Ireland is conservative in so many ways.

    [7] Again a simplification as I’ve allocated the financial journalist Shane Ross to this group who is more a maverick centrist (think a more numerate Simon Jenkins).

    [8] Indeed the Healy-Rae brothers in Kerry were preceded in that role by their father.

  6. “They often have a background in social activism before politics and about half this group are women (5/11). Only one is called Mike.”

    ————–

    Dunno why it should be notable that “only” one is called Mike, as if one might expect rather more. I don’t know any women called Mike. Even among the Greenies, who seem very open-minded and get their food from round the back of supermarkets!!

  7. LOUISWALSHVOTESGREEN

    […]actually, FG’s vote management was quite poor in this election, while FF in most cases maximised their seats

    I’m not sure that’s quite true. Certainly FG didn’t do as spectacularly as in 2011, but they had less to play with (and less than they expected). There were some disasters such as Cavan-Monaghan, but on the whole they still did well. Even when FF had a higher first pref percentage (Clare, Galway West, Sligo-Leitrim, probably Wexford) they often managed to to beat then 2-1 in seats.

    It’s telling that if you look at the candidate by order of first prefs:

    http://www.rte.ie/news/election-2016/

    out of the highest 15, 9 are FF but only 2 FG (Kenny for whom it’s unavoidable and the disaster in C-M) despite FG having the slightly higher vote.

  8. @Roger Mexico – That’s a quite magnificent description of the group of independents in the new Dail. I hadn’t really thought about the ideological split being so even between the cute hoors and the loony left! I’d also be fairly tempted to throw the AAA into the independent mix – seeing as the Socialist Party, People for Profit and Seamus Healy fought the last election as the “United Left Alliance” and broke up and reformed like a boy band, they’re not exactly an “Alliance”, and I can’t really see them agreeing on, well, anything.

    The slightly worrying thing from the analysis today is that Labour, Sinn Fein and most of the independents have indicated that they wouldn’t support either FF or FG (although I’m still wondering what will happen if Enda Kenny steps down as FG leader) – it is one of my big bugbears in politics that there are groups of ideological twerps who’d rather permanently disagree with any government measure than to take a bit of responsibility and flak for taking charge. Labour in Ireland certainly implemented policies that, in hindsight, were catastrophic, but, I still believe they deserve a bit of credit for putting themselves forward (and getting some fairly significant social changes through), rather than leaving FG to cobble together a minority administration in 2011. Just my view though.

  9. @Roger Mexico – We were writing at the same time! I understand what you mean regarding vote management. FF did leave a few seats behind (Dun Laoghaire a particular example), but with the unofficial transfer pact between FG and Lab, FG would have expected 53-54 seats even with 26% of the vote. On the list of top vote-getters, I think FF themselves were fairly surprised to have so many candidates topping the poll, and I think they’ll be delighted that they have a few younger TDs (including some female ones), to balance out the rather older grey men :) If FG and FF manage to club together some agreement, there is a serious amount of high-calibre talent (and I actually do mean that!) on the front bench, and there will be real pressure on the opposition groups to come up with some credible front-benchers who can put forward electable policies (just in case there’s another election…..).

  10. In this Irish election the FG/Labour coalition has been reduced to 35.9% of the seats so far, as compared to the FF/Green coalition being reduced to 12% in 2011. The fact is, however, that whereas FG/labour and FF had 80.1% of the seats in 2011, they now only have 60.1%, between them in 2016.

    The combined first preferences for assorted Independents, Sinn Fein, the “radical” left, and in this election the Greens, has risen from 25.1% in 2011 to 41.4% in 2016.

    With 93.7% of the seats determined the assorted Independents (including Workers and Unemployed Action) have grown from 15 to 20, Sinn Fein from 14 to 22, the separate Socialist and People Before Profit parties (now Anti-Austerity Alliance and People Before Profit), plus the Social Democrats from 4 to 8 and the Greens to 2. Further it is still uncertain whether Labour, depending on the recounts in Dublin Bay North and Longford-West Meath and AAA-PBP, depending on recounts in Dublin Bay North and Dublin South Central, will have official seven party status.

    Not unlike the demise of PASOK in Greece Irish Labour appears to be suffering the same fate as other social democratic parties that try and come to the rescue of the neo-liberal economy. As I have said previously the turning point in the Canadian election for the social democrat NDP, who drove their vote down from 39% (on August 2nd in the opinion polls) to 19.7% on the October 19th E-Day, came when their leader promised to stay the course on implementing “budget balancing austerity”, as compared to the centrist Liberals offering to implement a $10 billion dollar deficit, which has now mushroomed to $18 billion, possibly $30 billion, in order to try and stimulate the economy and get people back to work.

    The debate in effect is between stay the course fiscal conservatism implemented by Thatcher and Reagan in the late 1970’s early 1980’s or a return to some kind of “Neo-Keynesianism” along the lines of Roosevelt’s “New Deal”. In Ireland among the unemployed and low income voters the “water charges” tax seems to have taken on the same political life as Margaret Thatcher’s hated “Poll Tax” and the current UK “Bedroom Tax”.

    While 3.8% fewer people showed up to vote in Ireland those that did appear to have shifted in significant numbers to wanting such things as a “wealth tax and “banking taxes”. That’s why parties like Syrizia in Greece and Podemos in Spain have emerged, and why AAA-PBP may eclipse Labour for official party status in this Irish election.

    And unlike the US where Trump serves as a “diversionary” force from the radical right, offering the same kinds of scapegoats as Hitler’s Nazi Party in Germany, Jews in the 1930s, Muslims in 2016, the Irish election appears to have been free from the same racist overtones that impacted the UK election in 2015, where the Scots and the SNP were the rights “boogeyman” instead.

  11. @Andy

    I don’t think it’s fair to characterise the fear of the SNP forming part of a UK government as a demonisation of the Scots in general, or as “racism”.

    That’s certainly how the SNP likes to present it, as “SNP=Scotland” is a core part of their message.

    The truth is that the SNP is a left-wing socialist party and that any UK Labour government relying on it to stay in office would have to tack to the left. That’s not racism, or even an exaggeration or a distortion. It’s pretty much SNP party policy in fact.

    If I remember correctly there’s no clear evidence in the polls that there was a last minute swing to the Tories as a result of the “Miliband in the SNP’s pocket” theme during the campaign. The theory is more that Tory strength was underestimated throughout. But if there were any English and Welsh voters who plumped for Cameron rather than an SNP-tinged Labour government, I don’t think they were necessarily racists.

  12. RMJ1 Personally I see an entirely different roll for Boris.
    Cheese or ham?

  13. Yep, the “racist overtones” stuff rings very hollow, and listing it alongside the Jews in the 1930s is a bit disrespectful to be honest.

  14. Although I think that, insofar as the “in their pocket” message had any effect, it would be less a left-right thing and more a “these are people who don’t care about you who will have a lot of power” thing. In other words, similar to a lot of the anti-Tory appeal in Scotland, at least among my generation for whom Thatcher is barely a remembered name from history class.

  15. @ Neil A

    If you review the media of that time in the election I do not remember them stating that the SNP was a “more radical” socialist option.

    I’ll also observe that Lynton Crosby used the same ploy in the Canadian election, except the flash point was not “Scottish Nationalism” but muslim women covering their faces at Canadian citizenship ceremonies.

    The actual issue involved one or two women, who while volunteering to uncover in the privacy of an anti-room to government officials, did not wish to uncover in public in accordance with their religious values.

    I just surmise that in times of economic stress some politicians, often from the centre-right and extreme-right, invoke fear of the “other”.

    I concede that there are those on the left who invoke fear of “bankers” and capitalists” too, but I think if you have read Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty First Century – he at least provides historical evidence that since the 1980’s the gap in income between the top .1%, like Trump, and the bottom 99% has widened exponentially; and that the capital income ratio has also expanded so that those with the largest incomes are now once again controlling more of a countries capital than they did, say in 1950.

    So I think that discussions around shifting electoral opinions and political party fortunes should focus on some kind of analysis as to why voters values and response are shifting.

  16. Re. the issue of using population for constituency electorates

    The problem is that there are widespread variations in registration, not just because of IER or low registration but because of larger numbers of under 18s in some areas, and larger numbers of non-Commonwealth citizens in some areas. It so happens that these three problems tend to all happen in one area, or none of them happen.

    So for example, a hypothetical seat in Brent with a population of 100,000 would only have an electorate of 55,000. A hypothetical seat in Bournemouth with a population of 100,000 would have an electorate of 80,000.

    This completely undermines the principle of one vote one value.

    It has been said above that an MP represents all the people in the seat, not just the electors, but this can be resolved by giving extra staffing allowances to MPs with larger populations.

  17. @ Neil A

    Perhaps the reason for getting the NINo is to obtain another, more useful, element of UK identification? If, for example, the NINo facilitated them obtaining a UK E111 card, then they could bill hospital treatment in Eastern Europe to the NHS.

  18. “……..offering the same kinds of scapegoats as Hitler’s Nazi Party in Germany, Jews in the 1930s, Muslims in 2016, the Irish election appears to have been free from the same racist overtones that impacted the UK election in 2015, where the Scots and the SNP were the rights “boogeyman” instead.”

    Very sloppy, intellectually speaking, and mildly offensive to those of us who are politically opposed the SNP.

    Smacks of a fundamental failure to appreciate the dynamics of UK elections, where coalitions remain viewed as weak and unsatisfactory in the minds of many voters.

    Even worse, the Scots aren’t a race anyway, so it’s linguistically inept as well.

  19. To be fair for the SNP (a coalition in itself, which makes things rather complex), in its main line is a petty bourgeois radical party that successfully channelled a hell of a lot of different political attitudes and directions from the not-to-far left to the centre right, from the liberals to the relatively conservatives, from the greens to the pre-industrialisation lot.

    It happens to be a nationalist party you see.

  20. I don’t think the SNP campaigned on a “we’ll make sure Labour implements austerity and doesn’t drift to the left” platform.

    Sure they have some anti-socialists who hate the English more than they hate the left, but the political direction in recent years has been quite explicit.

  21. @ Andy Shadrack

    While I sympathise with many of your assertions, many of Piketty’s figures are quite problematic.

    Inequality figures are, in particular, should be treated with extreme caution, reading methodologies with an extreme care, the choice of the cut off points, etc. Also, it is advisable to make sure that the level of analysis matches the level of data – so individual income data cannot be just aggregated to draw class conclusions from them. The causality is just the reverse.

    A bearded author from the 19th century makes a distinction between relative and absolute impoverishment. The liberals (including the SocialDemocrats) replaced this with inequality, hence not being able to make the distinction between the increased number of food bank customers and the relative income redistribution during the first decade of the 21st century. As a result, they prepare inadequate arguments against their opponents (clearly visible in the polls and the election results), and repeat the mistakes they have made for decades. Simply their arguments don’t match real life.

    The radicals do it much better (be it young radicals, or petty bourgeoise ones), in particular in The peripheries (southern Europe, Scotland, Ireland) as they set a different division: losers versus winners, and, not without evidence and logic, they say that the winners are such at the cost of the losers.

    Eastern European radicals are also petty bourgeoise ones, but, mainly because of their traditions, partly because of the hopeless situation of these economies, hope that they can compensate themselves by replacing the current corrupt rulers, partly depriving the lower classes even further. They did find their ideologies … The only exception there are the developed industrial or urban-administrative centres.

  22. @ Neil A

    That was mainly for the English consumption, if I may say.

    The SNP is a coalition, and its message adjusts to the opponent very flexibly.

    As long as there is a perceived united “opponent”, you will have a united message. None of the major UK parties figured out how to drive the wedge into it (if it’s possible at all). But the unity, once the cause of the unity goes, will dissolve.

  23. Laszlo

    “But the unity, once the cause of the unity goes, will dissolve.”

    While obviously true of the SNP (as many commentators from the independista side, as well as from UK Unionists, have noted) it is also true of every other political party.

    Every party is a coalition of different interests which survives internal differences, just as long as there is a common interest holding them together.

  24. @Andy Shadrack

    I think you’ve fallen into the usual trap of viewing election results through one’s own binoculars! For all the noise and fury that the AAA/PBP have made, they still have less than 4% of the vote – comparable to the old Worker’s Party in the 1980s.Moreover, their support is very concentrated in urban areas – although the Irish media tends to concentrate on issues in the capital (see, there’s not just a Westminster Bubble!), a lot of rural (and often fairly socially conservative) voters look at Boyd-Barrett and see a latte-drinking lefty [insert Irish expletive of own choice here]. It’s probably unfair (Boyd-Barrett is surely a tea drinker!), but it points to a fundamental issue in what drives the electorate. There remains in Ireland, like in most other countries, a systemic divide between urban and rural (including suburban) voters – and there’s a tendency in the media to view things through the goggles of the urban (often socially liberal and better educated) voter.

    From the results in Ireland, there is clearly no appetite for a left-leaning government – even the most generous sum would give about 40% of the vote, split amongst at least 5 parties and a number of independents, most of whom detest each other. Vincent Browne of the Irish Times yesterday wrote of his frustration at the left, for an inability to put together a viable broad coalition – instead, we’re left with a rainbow of parties who’d rather sit on the opposition benches, and spend five years criticising the government and each other.

    A corollary of this result is that a lifting of the Eighth Amendment ban on abortion is relatively unlikely – unless a cross-party constitutional convention is set up. It was a very low salience issue in the election – social issues often are – but if a temporary government is set up, it’s doubtful that it would risk a toxic and fairly polarising debate.

  25. Noteworthy and completely off-topic news this morning on Hinkley Point C – the French unions represented on the EDF board want a delay until 2019, so that issues with the design can be ironed out. Is it too late to back out now (and back thorium!!!)? It probably won’t make a bit of difference in the polls mind you – but it’s yet another bit of evidence to suggest that politicians (of all sides) and big grand projects are not always a good combination.

  26. @LouisWalsh

    This appeared recently in The Ecologist regarding Hinkley Point:

    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2987225/nuclear_zombie_hinkley_c_build_wont_start_until_2019_if_at_all.html

    The project is clearly in very serious trouble.

    Interesting that you mention the thorium option, as I am a big fan…

  27. Might come as a surprise, but I’m a big fan too!!…

  28. “It has been said above that an MP represents all the people in the seat, not just the electors, but this can be resolved by giving extra staffing allowances to MPs with larger populations.”

    ———-

    Well, that does depend. Like an MP who happened to be anti women getting the vote might not represent them any better with more money and staff…

  29. I see the Mirror has run quite a big story to the effect that 20 Tory MPs failed to fully declare their election expenses and that legal limits have been exceeded. Where does this go from here? A complaint to the police? If so, who can make such a complaint ? Does it have to be a constituent?

  30. @Alec

    “……..offering the same kinds of scapegoats as Hitler’s Nazi Party in Germany, Jews in the 1930s, Muslims in 2016, the Irish election appears to have been free from the same racist overtones that impacted the UK election in 2015, where the Scots and the SNP were the rights “boogeyman” instead.”

    Truth hurts, it’s an amusing lack of self-awareness. British nationalism good, Scottish nationalism bad.

  31. @ louiswalshvotesgreen

    Well something is going on in Irish politics as it increasingly looks like Irish Labour, founded by among others James Connolly in 1912, will lose official party status and between 2009 and 2014 they lost 180 of 231 local government councillors.

    Also in this election, with three remaining seats to be decided, Sinn Fein and the Independent block have more seats that FF.

    When the third largest party in Irish politics has it’s best ever election and then at the next one is almost wiped out that is a significant change do you not think?

    Also is it not significant that Sinn Fein is now the third largest party?

    Unless FF and FG bury the hatchet between themselves there will likely have to be fresh elections within the next twelve months.

    Finally issues such as overcrowding in housing, access to medical services and high unemployment are not the purview of the latte sipping fraternity.

    Do not know my Dublin geography well but would be interested to know if there is a correlation between election of SD, Independents 4 change, Independent Alliance and AAA-PBP TDs and the working class districts of the city.

    I also did not think that Cork North Central and Kildare were large urban centres, but both returned Socialist Party and Social Democrat TDs.

    This suggests to me that it is the Labour Party that broke up during the last period when in government. A read of this website on the wiki, would tend to back that observation up:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Party_%28Ireland%29#2009.E2.80.9314

  32. @Andy – Don’t have time to reply fully, but you’re still clubbing disparate groups together. The Social Democrats are not really taking working-class votes – they were taking the middle class from Labour to be honest. There’s some correlation between the AAA vote and working-class areas (not as much as you might expect). The Independents4Change and Independent Alliance have, even internally, nothing in common with each other – the IA even boasted that they don’t believe in the concept of the party whip!!! As I said before, the I4C and IA cannot be thought of as left-leaning.

    For those who are looking for evidence of a Syriza-style revolution in Ireland, I’m afraid that there’s a long way to go – and even if the various groups could cobble together enough support to bring down a minority government, they’d never agree on a program of government (or a Taoiseach).

  33. Good afternoon all from very mild and sunny Itchen Abbas but not as warm as southern Italy where I was lapping up the sunshine.

    “My calculations last year were that if the 2015 election had been fought on the boundaries from the aborted review it would have given the Conservatives a majority of 44. The Tories would have won nine fewer seats, Labour 28 fewer, the SNP six fewer and the Lib Dems just four. The impact of this new boundary review will likely be broadly similar, but perhaps a little worse for Labour: the extra seat reductions in the North East and West Midlands are likely to be Labour, the relative gains in the East Midlands and Scotland will be Conservative and SNP”
    ______

    Even though the Tories still won a majority of 12 the current boundaries are heavily in favour of the Labour party in the urban areas.

    Lib/Dems would had been down to just 4 seats… Crikey!! they got off Scot free.

    Speaking of Scots….New poll out has the SNP on 60% for Holyrood.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14311554.Poll__60_per_cent_to_vote_SNP_as_public_backs_party_s_record_on_health_and_education/

    Constituency ballot (TNS) :

    SNP 60% (+3)
    Labour 21% (n/c)
    Conservatives 13% (-4)
    Liberal Democrats 4% (+1)

    Constituency ballot (Survation) :

    SNP 54% (+1)
    Labour 21% (-1)
    Conservatives 16% (-1)
    Liberal Democrats 5% (n/c)

    Super Nats go ballistic…

  34. Ooops forgot the other link..

    http://scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk/

  35. Sorry, just to add. The fact that Sinn Fein are the third-largest party is not really surprising. They’ve campaigned hard and have been increasing their vote share consistently – however, most opinion polls over the last couple of years had them on much higher than 14%. The campaign itself was a bit of a shambles for them and there’s a lot of pressure for Gerry Adams to stand aside. They are in a peculiar position at the moment, in that they have a substantial mandate, in particular from working class and younger voters, but are being a bit outflanked in inner-city areas, and may actually have plateaued a bit outside in some rural and border areas where they have been competitive for a few elections.

  36. Aagh, went into automod….

    @Andy
    Sorry, just to add. The fact that Sinn Fein are the third-largest party is not really surprising. They’ve campaigned hard and have been increasing their vote share consistently – however, most opinion polls over the last couple of years had them on much higher than 14%. The campaign itself was a bit of a shambles for them and there’s a lot of pressure for Gerry Adams to stand aside. They are in a strange position at the moment, in that they have a substantial mandate, in particular from working class and younger voters, but are being a bit outflanked in inner-city areas, and may actually have plateaued a bit in some rural and border areas where they have been competitive for a few elections.

  37. @Coups – “Truth hurts, it’s an amusing lack of self-awareness. British nationalism good, Scottish nationalism bad.”

    You’re normally better than this – even more sloppy than the original post.

    There were a thousand and one reasons to oppose independence that had nothing to do with British nationalism* (the impact of oil price fluctuations on the Scottish people was one, I seem to recall).

    If you really think that there is the remotest comparison between English voter concerns that a single issue party might act as a destbilising influence on a minority Labour administration and support of the military invasion of your neighbours and gassing and incineration of 6 million Jews, numerous gypsies, a good sprinkling of mentally ill people alongside some physically disabled folks, then more fool you.

    Utterly barking.

  38. With regard to the boundary reviews, and the basis upon which seats are defined, is this not the perfect opportunity for all the talents of UKPR to unite in agreeing a common stance?

    Rather than use the census or electoral roll, etc., etc., exclusively, why not combine several criteria/data sources, and then weight them to produce the optimum, fairest allocation, irrespective of party influence.

    This could then be put forward as an independent UKPR-delivered compromise, acceptable to all sides.

    All you have to do is to agree the weighting.

  39. @Millie

    For me, the issue is to improve registration.

    I agree in principle with individual registration, but I think the government should be looking hard at every single motive and cause for non-registration and finding ways to tackle it effectively. Even if this means quite significant shifts in the way records are kept and information is shared. Almost every single unregistered voter will be known to some public official, somewhere. The voter’s register is one of my basic building blocks for intelligence research, and there is a strong inverse correlation between voter registration and “coming to the notice of the police”. The more a person is known as a victim or perpetrator of crime, as a recipient of social support or of welfare payments, the less likely they are to be on the voter’s register.

    If people were employed to identify and target the unregistered specifically, we could massively reduce the problem and this would lead to a fairer basis for boundary allocation (and less detrimental to the left, obviously).

    It might also go some way to reduce social exclusion.

  40. @Statgeek

    The poll isn’t eye candy for non-SNP peeps, no matter how much you tart it up ;-)

  41. @CMJ

    Fair point, but the charts are still gorgeous. ;)

  42. @alec

    But the “one issue” party had a full and wide ranging UK election manifesto grounded in Scotland being part of the UK. The fact that you choose to describe the SNP as a one issue party rather tends to confirm Coups point!

  43. STATGEEK

    I noticed your chart for the TNS – Holyrood Constituency Seats had no red and a smattering of blue and golden orange followed by an astonishing amount of bright sunshine yellow.

    I also noticed the political map of Scotland on your website was almost entirely coloured in yellow so the big question I want to ask is this…

    Have you run out of yellow crayons yet? ;-)

  44. @ OldNat

    You are perfectly right about the parties as coalitions and the centrifugal and centripetal forces.

    If nothing else, the history of the CPs in Eastern Europe shows this.

  45. @oldnat and @couper82

    Interesting to see the perception of and discussion about the SNP from our friends south of the Border.

    It seems that the SNP’s success in constructing a broad based demographic and geographic electoral ” coalition ” is ascribed to being a one issue party only held together by united opposition to an “opponent”.

    On the other hand when a British nationalist party such as Thatcher ‘s Conservatives or Blair’s Labour party does the same it is presumably the result of masterful political leadership and positioning!

    If the Tories and recently Labour had been more concerned and hence more successful in sustaining the British geographic element of their electoral coalitions then the electoral and polling results we see in Scotland might have been very different. Their focus on “middle England” has had inevitable consequences.

  46. STATGEEK

    Nice to see you’re being pro-active and great choice of pens btw. :-)

  47. @Hireton

    “If the Tories and recently Labour had been more concerned and hence more successful in sustaining the British geographic element of their electoral coalitions then the electoral and polling results we see in Scotland might have been very different. Their focus on “middle England” has had inevitable consequences.”

    —————-

    Oh for God’s sake, they did do quite a bit to address your concerns, with a devolved parliament and still devolving more stuff, so much so that Scots are sufficiently insulated from Westminster they now feel they can vote SNP to squeeze some more out.

    Anyway, new thread, with… Scots polling!! Hopefully keep you happy for a little bit…

  48. @Hireton – “The fact that you choose to describe the SNP as a one issue party rather tends to confirm Coups point!”

    Umm….no it doesn’t. At no point did it approach anything like a Nazi regime intent on military domination and racial purity.

    You just don’t get it, do you?

    BTW – the SNP vision statement in full – “The SNP is committed to making Scotland the nation we know it can be. Our vision is of a prosperous country where everyone gets the chance to fulfil their potential. We want a fair society where no-one is left behind. And our vision is of Scotland as an independent country – equal to the very best.”

    I would argue that that vision qualifies the description of a single issue party to be valid, although others may disagree.

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