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National politics

Coalition beats Labour in a safe seat

Guido Fawkes points out this morning that LibDem and Tory votes in the Oldham and Saddleworth by-election exceeded Labour’s vote. If Labour’s narrative is going to be that the country is turning away from the “Conservative-led” coalition in disgust then it is hard to see how this first by-election where the “ConDem” coalition has beaten Labour by 923 votes plays to that narrative.

The result was:

Labour 14,718 (42%)
LibDem 11,160 (32%)
Conservative 4,481 (13%)
UKIP 2,029 (5.8%)
BNP 1,560 (4.5%)

Angela Harbutt on the Liberal Vision blog suggests that an AV style system would have seen the LibDems win. I am quite happy to stick with FPTP me.

I am a member of the Tory party, not the coalition party, but still I am content that Labour can’t beat the coalition at a by-election in a safe seat. I have always said that the coalition will go to term. At the end of that term Labour will not come back. In the meantime Labour will win most by-elections, except in the safest of Tory or LibDem seats. Labour will stay ahead in the polls and it will sometimes be a hairy ride for Tories, but in 2015 Labour will get smacked as people have to decide whether they want to be led by grown-ups or rather expensive sentamentalists.

5 replies on “Coalition beats Labour in a safe seat”

Angela Harbutt on the Liberal Vision blog suggests that an AV style system would have seen the LibDems win. I am quite happy to stick with FPTP me.

You’d rather have Labour in charge of Oldham than the LibDems?

Yeah, but, no, but, yeah, …

Back in May 2008 I pointed out that the AV system used in the mayoral election had resulted in 41,000 people or 1.7% making mistakes and losing their 1st vote. See here.

Again in May 2010 I pointed out that the relatively complex system of voting for three local councillors caused 1,222 votes to be unused or lost in my ward, fully 6% of all votes cast. See here.

ANY complexity in the voting system will significantly disenfranchise people as these two examples show.

With FPTP you get very low numbers of lost votes. For instance, in 2010 for the Ealing Central & Acton constituency only 218, less than 0.5%, were rejected. See here.

All I am saying is that any complexity will cause a significant number of people to lose their vote. The PR system used in Euro elections causes people to zone out on a large scale apparently.

Not decided yet about AV, but is the UK ready for it?

You say in 2015 Labour will get smacked. I am fascinated by the temptation of hubris, and remember Eric and I were right on this website in predicting the Tories would lose Ealing. It was just the numbers which surprised me.

Another thing about Cllr Bell is that he is not one for tempting hubris. He just thinks numbers rather than radical change. What do you think will happen in Ealing next time?

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