Friday, 30 March 2012

Bradford Goes West

Respect taking more than 55% of the vote in a bog-standard safe Labour seat is bad news for all the main political parties.  Electorates are voting tactically with remarkable outcomes. It takes a long time to convince voters that in first-past-the-post systems the vote should be cast against the target candidate, not for the preferred Party necessarily.  To have a charismatic and highly communicative candidate set against the target candidate is a bonus.

Thoughts turn at once to the elections for the London mayor but this is a very different election; not first-past-the-post, with inner city  and outer suburban electorates voting  markedly differently, and with both parties represented by non-standard candidates who, each in their own way, can be seen as a maverick.  Except the qualities that make Boris a maverick are very much more attractive than the maverick qualities of Ken Livingstone.  Indeed so unpleasant has Livingstone so amply shown himself to be, he has succeeded in losing many of the Party votes that might have accrued to him on party loyalty grounds.

It is the relatively safe seats in constituencies everywhere that are going to be touched by the Bolton West effect.  Harriet Harman has said Labour will be working out what happened and why.  So should the other mainstream parties - hurriedly.  Labour was the first to get the vote-savvy effect in the neck, by 2015 it will  be everywhere.

Unless minds change in a hurry over single constituency, first-past-the-post voting.  It wouldn't be a bit surprising if a brief, all-party supported bill nipped through Parliament in the next 18 months and we had a proportional, party-list system after all for our next expression of 'democracy' .

6 comments:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Surely this is that rare bird, a special case.

Bradford has a massive Muslim population, and many of them have more than one vote (thanks to Blair's fiddling with the postal vote system, which he thought would benefit his party).

And Galloway is a rabid Jew-hater, whatever other qualities he may or may not have.

Dog-whistles just don't come into it.

hatfield girl said...

All of that, Yacht, absolutely; but still the Conservative voters held their noses and took their chance to help deliver a monumental blow to the Labour party.

The Libdems lost their deposit - clearly their voters understand these techniques even better than newby tactical voters amongst the Tories.

In voting-with-sophistication terms it's de rigueur to lose your deposit. A point of honour.

lilith said...

Oh No! HG. You are giving them ideas again.

hatfield girl said...

But Lilith, the idea of a certain kind of Wife, with a decent handbag and a decent haircut, popping out to vote for Gorgeous George, laughing while crushing Loathsome Labour beneath their collective heel, with the full permission - nay encouragement - of the Tory Agent, is irresistible.

Tory Wives gave the slow hand-clap to Blair; found Mr AND Mrs Brown unclubbable, can barely distinguish Ed Miliband (from/or his brother) scrabbling about on the floor on their little claws. Thousands of them put down their teacups and set out with friends and neighbours.

Delicious.

lilith said...

Quite so HG, but

"It wouldn't be a bit surprising if a brief, all-party supported bill nipped through Parliament in the next 18 months and we had a proportional, party-list system after all for our next expression of 'democracy' .".....

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