Friday, 10 October 2014

Continuing the party fun

Just for fun: assuming the Clacton swing from Conservative to UKIP is reproduced uniformly over the country in a general election held tomorrow, a quick visit to UK Elect produces:

UKIP 10697005 36.00% (362 Seats +362)
Labour 8609527 28.97% (194 Seats -64)
Lib. Dem. 6836824 23.01% (51 Seats -6)
Others 1206281 4.06% (20 Seats)
DUP 168216 0.56% (8 Seats)
Sinn Fein 171942 0.57% (5 Seats)
SNP 491386 1.65% (4 Seats -2)
SDLP 110970 0.37% (3 Seats)
Independent 213718 0.71% (1 Seat)
Pl. Cymru 165394 0.55% (1 Seat -2)
Alliance 42762 0.14% (1 Seat)

The crude swing of over 40% is obviously invalid as UKIP deliberately did not stand in Clacton in 2010. A complicating factor is that Clacton was a new constituency. However, UK-Elect calculated potential UKIP support as 4.51% in 2005. So the above forecast is based on a swing of 37.85%.

Apart from the wiping out of the Conservatives, the effect would also mean the loss of the current Speaker and the sole Green member.

On the other hand, on a uniform swing of 17.65% from Labour which UKIP got at Heywood & Middleton:

Conservative 10703754 36.03% (398 Seats +93)
Labour 3496182 11.77% (129 Seats -129)
Lib. Dem. 6836824 23.01% (88 Seats +31)
SNP 491386 1.65% (8 Seats +2)
DUP 168216 0.56% (8 Seats)
Sinn Fein 171942 0.57% (5 Seats)
Pl. Cymru 165394 0.55% (5 Seats +2)
SDLP 110970 0.37% (3 Seats)
UKIP 5478918 18.44% (1 Seat +1)
Green 285616 0.96% (1 Seat)
Independent 213718 0.71% (1 Seat)
Alliance 42762 0.14% (1 Seat)
Respect 33251 0.11% (1 Seat)
John Bercow, Speaker 22860 0.07% (1 Seat)

which would be good politically for Liberal Democrats and Plaid, but saddle the country with a majority Conservative government.

Of course, uniform swings do not happen. Moreover, there is more than the usual element of protest in UKIP's showing yesterday. One of the Clacton voters interviewed on BBC-TV freely admitted that he would revert to the Conservatives at the general election. I would expect this effect to be even more marked for Labour in Greater Manchester. It may not be enough to dislodge Douglas Carswell, who must have built up a considerable personal vote.

UKIP has not yet done as well as the SDP did in the early 1980s when the latter won two by-elections and peeled off 28 MPs from the Labour Party. The Rochester & Strood by-election on 6th November is significant. If defector Mark Reckless can win the seat for UKIP from his former party, there may well be a stampede of those Tories who believe that Margaret Thatcher was unjustly forced to resign as leader in 1991.

David Cameron's response to this is critical. It could dawn on him that his appointment of more hard-line and populist ministers in place of effective but more consensual individuals has failed in its aim of appeasing his Thatcherite critics and rein in the Conservatives' illiberal lurch. On the other hand, he and George Osborne could panic, producing even more UKIP-leaning policies - and pay the price in 2015.

No comments: