May 20, 2017

Horse 2274 - Election 2017: A Result Too Easy To Predict

I have spent the last few hours busily plugging numbers into various swing calculators with the results of current polling for the upcoming General Election on June 8 in the UK. Under all possible scenarios except for one, I have the Conservative Party being returned to power with either a vastly increased majority or with the worst possible outcome, returning to the mayhem of a hung parliament as happened in 2010.

Currently the parties have the following seat counts:

Con - 330
Lab - 229
SNP - 54
Lib Dem - 9
Other - 10
N.Ireland - 18

I'm including Northern Ireland as a thing because although the members of those seats come from a strange sort of mish-mash, they remain as sensible as a sack full of wet mice.

If we assume the current polling data; taken on a nationwide basis, then the following happens:

Con - 365 (+35)
Lab - 200 (-29)
SNP - 55 (+1)
Lib Dem - 7 (-2)
Other - 5 (-5)
N.Ireland - 18 (0)

This is exactly why Teresa May called the election in the first place. If this election is supposed to be a doubling down sort of second referendum on Brexit, then although Ms May has some members of her party which are probably against the whole idea of pulling out of Europe, for the most part the Tories have pulled seats away from the Lib Dems who are still on the path to oblivion but more importantly away from Labour who have been as much in opposition against themselves as they have been against the Tories.

Something incredibly strange happens when you plug the exactly the same nationwide polling data into the swing calculators on a region by region basis:

Con - 318 (-12)
Lab - 230 (+1)
SNP - 59 (+5)
Lib Dem - 15 (+6)
Other - 10 (0)
N.Ireland - 18 (0)

This has the Tories losing seats around the northern fringes of London and Birmingham, the Lib Dems clawing back some of the seats that they lost in Devon and Cornwall, and most mysterious of all the SNP actually winning seats south of Hadrian's Wall.

If such a scenario, however unlikely were to pan out then we'd have an immensely strange set of circumstances. Because 326 is the number of seats required to form government, either the Tories would have to negotiate with someone with the Lib Dems being the most likely option, or you'd end up with some massively insane set of negotiations taking place for Labour to hold government. If somehow Labour and the SNP were to form a shotgun coalition, they need all of the Lib Dems and all of the others which includes indies and Plaid Cymru, and then they'd still need to negotiate with the insensible sack full of wet mice which are Northern Irish members of the Commons. Jeremy Corbyn has enough trouble trying to hold together his own party; so tying to hold together a coalition as wild as that scenario would require, is the way of insanity.

I know that this is going to sound incredibly naive but I don't think that the release of the party manifestos, be they deliberate or by early leaks, has really made a lick of difference to people's voting intentions. The truth is that Labour still controls what's left of the working class north, the SNP still has a strangehold in Scotland and the whole difference comes about because of those seats in the West Midlands which flipped in 2010, except now they're reverting to the Tories rather than this weird sort of flirting with the Lib Dems and UKIP. On UKIP in particular, as a one issue party who have only won a single seat in the House of Commons (in the Clacton by-election of 2014), they've achieved what they wanted and I think that that will more or less cease to be a thing and those voters will have largely joined the ranks of Tory voters.

It doesn't matter which way I play with the numbers, or which set of figures that I use, I see no real way for Labour to take government. William Hill currently have the Tories sitting at 1-33 while Labour is all the way out at 17-1. To put that in perspective, the absolute longest odds that Donald Trump was put at winning the Presidency was only 7-1. 

I have a horrible record when it comes to predicting political results (I've gotten two presidential results wrong in a row) but this is so ridiculously one sided that even Blind Freddy can see that the Tories will walk over in the election and that Teresa May need not bother to pre-book the moving van because on June 9, she'll still be the resident of that rambling house with the most famous black door in the world. 
I'm going to predict that Teresa May will remain as British Prime Minister and that the final result will look something like:

Conservatives 345 def. Labour 233.

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