General Election 2010 – Finally

Just a simple table:

Tory Seats: 298
     Others : 235

The Rest of Us
Tory Seats: 9
     Others : 108

Quite a contrast!
Here’s a nuanced map from electoralgeography – a darker shade indicates a large majority – note the blue forest lightens in Wales and Scotland. – Here. (The map’s the one on the right)


  • edgeoftheunion

    Unfortunately the colour scheme makes North Down disappear.

  • drumlins rock

    if only it was that easy….
    oops sorry lol

  • drumlins rock

    Dewi, looking at the map as “one country” it is obvious the Labour vote is strongly urban, and the Conservative vote is strongest in the shires. It is interesting (ignoring the national question for now) that the Liderals and Nationalist parties are strongest on the fringes, could much of their vote be simply a case of feeling isolated from decision making in London, and more to do with geography than policy or personality?

  • Seymour Major


    The Liberal strength in the Countryside is more to do with history.

    From the early 20th Century onwards, the Labour Party swallowed up previously held Liberal seats. Labour Power was concentrated in the big towns and cities where the factories and Trade Union organisations were concentrated. By 1935, the Liberals had lost all of their urban seats and would never recover a city seat again until 1962 (Orpington by – election). The Labour advance did not go all the way into the countryside. That is why a few liberal seats remained and those are the same seats that you see on the map today.

  • PaddyReilly

    If the Liberals ever manage to get Alternative Voting through there won’t be half as many blue bits in Wales either!

    Basically, the reason is not historical, but geographical. We revolting Celtic people are lava rats. We live on top of (hopefully) expired volcanoes: the land is poor, the agriculture marginal. The Scottish crofter is hardly in the same class as an English farmer of the shires, and unlikely to identify with a Conservative government in the same way.

  • drumlins rock

    Paddy, the interesting bits were also Cornwall, Norfolk, Northumbria, and a bit of the south downs, the marginals does seem to be sometihng to do with it, I’m so sure it is as much history as Seymour says, things change even there, and I suspect it is “a plague on both your houses” as much as anything.

  • Dewi there raises one issue:

    Are the English ready for self-government? If so, should we grant them just that?

    As for Seymour Major @ 10:16 am, to describe green, leafy, stockbroker-belt Orpington, then and now, baldly as a “city seat” … where does one begin? The main street isn’t up to much. Just wander the periphery for displays of conspicuous consumption.

    The local bête rouge is the number 51 bus which daily brings the young into Orpington FE college from such low-life areas as Erith and Belvedere and even [God save the mark!] from Thamesmead. Shudder! Many are, y’know, ethnic. Gulp. As a result the college has been nailed as “a well-known scum-magnet”.

    What is interesting is why such areas develop strong LibDem voting habits: the same phenomenon is found in the SW London suburbs. There is, of course, the embuggerance factor: bourgeois natural lefties have conscientiously lent votes to the LibDems, particularly when it meant getting small-l progressive-liberals like Jenny Tonge, Susan Kramer and Vince Cable into the Commons. Billy Bragg, should we recall, was arguing such should become the national norm.

    The LibDems have, until their take-over by the Cameroons, been able to be all things to all people: regional parties in the Celtic fringes, in bed with the anti-war rentamob Trots in parts of north London, pulling votes where the Tory party has obviously failed.

    Fortunately, when this ConDem coalition collapses under its own contradictions, we shall not see the LibDem like again for a while. Simon Hughes! Your country needs you (and your noisy defection) at this hour!

    Why does Labour fail outside the conurbations? It was not always so. Harold Wilson’s aside, that the Labour Party owed more to Methodism than to Marxism, should not lightly be passed over. For all the lack-of-religiosity among the English, the line between chapel-folk and the established church lurked close to the surface until the last couple of generations. That was a distinction which extended to voting for or against Tories (and may still do, at least regionally).

    I’ve considered this elsewhere with regard to my other bit of local turf, in Norfolk. Other factors which led to the rise of rural Labour were the polarisation of farmworker versus farmer (as with the 1923 and 1926 strikes, and the festering sore of tied-cottages). The decline of work-on-the-land and the arrival of second-homers tipped the balance. Now consider the extent of rural poverty that persists, the unemployment black-spots that are seaside towns. There are opportunities there for renewed radicalism: until now the LibDems have been the main gainers.

    All of which is why we look to the extinction of the LibDems when the ConDem coalition collapses under its own contradictions. And the fall-out thereof will be immense.

  • Sorry about the turgid repetition there. Bad editing in that tight comments box.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Not sure the SDLP should be bunched in with the Labour Party (accpeting they take the whip and the oath) as they are more-Nationalist-than-Labour-Party-Leaning and that coupled with the surely-it-should-be-green-FST would give Ulster a much healthier green look to it.

    ps Dewi – a tenner to Slugger on the outcome of Munster v Ospreys?

  • Dewi

    “Are the English ready for self-government? If so, should we grant them just that?”

    Adam thinks they could make a success of it…

  • Dewi

    FST a green shade of 4 votes……I’ll give that bet a miss Sammy….Have you stopped posting?

  • Dewi

    Isolation from decision making means poor – discuss!

  • Sadly, at least in England, we do not need to.

    A week ago the BBC website put up a mess [sic]of information on the social divisions in England. All Wales got was an outline to tell us world’s end wasn’t at Ludlow. Decapitation took place at Carlisle and Berwick.

    This was presented as representing those areas most/least “resilient” to public sector cuts. A quick look at the criteria used suggests it was equally a poverty/prosperity map. It didn’t take information down beyond local authority divisions, so doesn’t enter the degree of accuracy that Charles Booth managed a century back.

    Sure enough, the bottom rankings are reserved for Middlesbrough, Mansfield, and Stoke-on-Trent, just as the top spots are Elmbridge (think Esher), St Albans and Waverley (not Walter scott: think Godalming).

    Dewi‘s word “isolation” is a good one. There is an element of geography involved: only two London boroughs appear in the bottom 50 places. But the alienation goes beyond just that.

    Were I not such an idle toad, I’d colour code each area. Any bets on the predominant colours towards the top and bottom of the listing?

    As for “resilience” to cuts, it’s even clearer that the “deserving poor” are going to be undeserving of any consideration and considerably poorer.

  • I was just enough piqued by that to look at the political leanings of the twenty top and bottom local authorities in that “resilience” listing.

    The top twenty (last available figures, but may be the odd by-election out): 584 Tory councillors, just 15 Labour, 287 LibDems and 80 “Others” (which include a couple of large outings for “Ratepayers”, which in my pained experience are inevitably not-so-crypto-Tories). In present terms that’s almost East German in its one-party-stateness.

    Go to the other end, remembering that 2007 was a wipe-pout for Labour, and we have 208 Tories, 544 Labour, 159 LibDems and 134 “Others”. I guess those figures will change significantly next May.

  • Dewi

    Cornwall saw three Tory gains from LibDems this time round – left at three each. I suspect there’s a bit of the English ethnic vote over-riding the Cornish radicalism happening there….

  • Should we put too much weight on Cornwall?

    Take it from the top:

    There was an extra Cornish seat this time round, so comparisons with 2005 are notional.

    The Tories for much of the run-up were looking for four extra seats here; and the Ashcroft money apparently ran that way.

    In Camborne, Redruth & Hayle, the newly carved seat, George Eustice, formerly Cameron’s press wallah, and thereby one of the annointed, squeaked past Julia Goldsworthy on a recount (just 66 votes in it). Goldsworthy can probably put her defeat down to that £1,000 leather chair she bought on exes (and which the Tories made great play). Her vote was slightly up: the Tories won on a 12% swing from Labour. The Con/LibDem swing calculates as 5.2%.

    South East Cornwall, again slightly re-defined, was the second Tory gain. The previous LibDem MP, Colin Breed, stood down: he had a 12% majority over the Tories in 2005. I’ve heard that suggestions that his opposition to Trident replacement annoyed the small-c conservatives in his patch, while his Methodist-preacher stand against gay rights aggrieved others. Perhaps that austerity contrasted with the new MP, Thatcherite blonde, Sheryll Murray, who has an impeccable local record, and married into the fishing industry. Subsequently, of course, she has gained a a>reputation for over-celebrating. All told, I gather both Tories and LibDems were surprised at the margin of the outcome.

    Sarah Newton, who took Truro and Falmouth, again largely because of a 10% swing from Labour (the LibDem vote for a new candidate held up), is a bit of a blow-in. She plays up her Cornish childhood, but has operated mainly from South London. Her majority is also wafer-thin (just 435, less than 1%) and she wisely played to local sympathies by taking the oath in theatrical Cornish (not very good Cornish, I am assured by one sceptic: is there “good” Cornish, I wondered in reply).

    Then there is North Cornwall. That was a notable result for two reasons. The Labour vote evaporated (they finished fourth behind UKIP: only the Lake District went worse). And the sitting LibDem held on comfortably, If there is a “natural” Liberal seat left in England, this must be it. The Tories flung the kitchen-sink at this one, but dented Rogerson’s majority by just a 5% swing. Obviously any Labour vote has been wrung out (there was a time when Labour didn’t even stand here), but there would seem from past elections to be underlying 10% support. In the ConDem era that will not stay with the LibDems, surely.

  • Greenflag

    That’s ok I mean North Down disappearing but Fermanagh South Tyrone looks very anaemic . Should it not be ‘green’ as I recall an SF win there .

    While overall the maps are ‘brilliant’ that FST section looks odd ?

    Overall the map and it’s colouring still show the political legacy laid down in the 19th century with a ‘red’ north and a ‘blue ‘ south with the ‘red’ exception of London .

    The economic /social and class faultlines are still very much in evidence despite the introduction of the Welfare State and ‘free ‘ education and the NHS by Labour’s Aneurin Bevan and others and despite Harold Wilson’s ‘White heat technological revolution’ or Maggie Thatcher’s ‘ Privatisation ‘revolution ‘ or John Major’s “family values/nuns on bicycles, and despite Tony Blair’s Cool Brittannia’ or Gordon Brown’s short lived ‘ rescue operation!

    I have just as much confidence in David Cameron and the Conservative/Lib Dem government to radically change the parameters of the North/South divide in the UK as I had of any of the others .

    Not a lot that the politicians can do now is there now that the UK, Ireland and the USA are more or less ruled by a coterie of unelected large corporate interests and financial sector moguls located in Switzerland , Wall St and the City of London. Frankfurt etc 🙁

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Malcolm Redfellow,
    “Fortunately, when this ConDem coalition collapses under its own contradictions, we shall not see the LibDem like again for a while. Simon Hughes! Your country needs you (and your noisy defection) at this hour!”
    I am one of the rather disgruntled left-leaning LibDem voters … any suggestions on a way forward? I am voting Labour next time almost certainly, but I was hoping Chuck Kennedy might lead a revived SDP breakaway … but I do think the LibDems are on a path to oblivion. Unfortunately, voting reform might well go down with them. This is what they didn’t think through when they rejected Labour (though I know it wasn’t that simple): the offered referendum for the Tories would be as nought once the LibDems were hitched to the Tories, as their credibility as a progressive party is almost certainly going to be shattered by then, if it is not already. They will be in no position to lead the ‘yes’ campaign inspiringly and now can’t count on Labour support for it. Unless Mr Clegg can show us he’s alive and left of centre under there … that’s what their future depends on.

  • It looks, form this evening’s news, that Vince Cable may resile and be out-the-door first. Obviously the tensions are building.

    A part of me is a long way from rejoicing. I’m acutely aware that the British Labour Party was fostered by the Liberals. In a way, Labour needs the liberal tradition to keep it honest. Labourism is not socialism gory-in-tooth-and-claw. It shouldn’t drink excessively from deep-red wine: it needs the proper Beveridge.

    Something went badly wrong in May 2010: the raw whiff of power overwhelmed any hallowed incense of tradition. Liberalism will revive, but it will be that of the social liberals, not the Orange Bookers currently riding high in the saddle.

    Y’know: there are moments when I feel the Tea Party Movement is already running British politics.

  • Greenflag

    Dewi ,

    ‘ FST a green shade of 4 votes’

    Not quite the green shaded parties SF +SDLP outvoted the orange shades Connor by about 4,000 votes iirc

  • Dewi

    You’ve been great value on this thread Malcolm – thanks.

  • Dewi

    The more I look at things I think it’s the Scottish Lib Dem who will be the biggest losers of the Coalition experiment. Lots of seats in the Highlands where the virtual re-branding of the party as an overtly Unionist party doesn’t sit well with Gaelic radicalism. Coupling that with support for the Tories and no wonder Charles K is sulking….