Gored: Psephology and the Popular Vote

What are the New Labour high command worried about? They are as Campbell says home and dry, 1 in 10 voters swinging to the LibDems will not let the Tories in, perhaps 1 in 3 voters switching might do it, but that would be the biggest upset since Churchill lost.

So is it getting a sub-100 majority that they fear? Yes, that would make life complicated, but not insurmountable. It would make it difficult for the Blairites to push through the choice agenda. A good enough reason for conscientious Labour lefties to stay at home methinks, even ignoring Iraq.

What really worries Blair, Milburn and Campbell is not losing the election, that is not possible – unless Blair is caught on video in bed with Michael Jackson and an underage monkey going backwards not forwards. No, what really worries the Blairites is the Al Gore scenario, which is not so implausible. Whereas the first past the post system so favours Labour that they can’t really lose in terms of seats, they could still lose in terms of the percentage of the popular vote.

If enough Labour voters stay at home or switch to the Liberals, the Tories might realistically get a bigger percentage of the popular vote (assuming they have got their own vote out with a combination of dog whistle issues and a popular desire to wipe the smirk off Blair’s face.)

The Tories could get 32% of the vote, Labour 31% and the LibDems 25%. Leaving Blair arguably with no popular mandate, but a working majority of 60+ seats. Its not that far-fetched, Howard would scream blue murder, Blair would have to resign in favour of Brown.

So what is a conscientious leftie to do? If you want Brown, stay at home. If you want to halt the New Labour project, stay at home. If you oppose the war, vote LibDem or Green. If you endorse the war, vote New Labour.

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Quote of the Day

Writing in this week’s Spectator Diary, the former Chancellor and Evening Standard editor attempted to encapsulate how Boris operates…

“My children have the measure of our prime minister. A couple of years ago, my son and I went for a lovely Sunday lunch at his house in Oxfordshire — where he has a Kalashnikov mounted on the wall. Boris suggested we play a game. A tug of war, but with a difference. The rope is tied around your waist and the contest takes place across a swimming pool. If you lose you end up in the water, fully clothed.

That’s Johnson for you: fun, inventive but ruthless. I suspect his brother Jo had one ducking too many.”

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