Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Balls to vote Lib Dem?***

A couple of days to Mrs R made a very small donation to Antony Calvert's campaign to 'get Balls out". She did this because she would dearly like to see Mr Balls in the political wasteland - although she knows very well that if he doesn't win he's likely to end up in ermine. It might be too late for the 'Dissolution Honours', but there'll be plenty of other opportunities. But, maybe not, because he might just have committed political treason, silly chap.

Mr Balls is reported as saying that he wants Labour voters in so-called 'marginal seats'* to vote Lib Dem "to keep the Tories out".

Mr Balls is a professional politician who probably spends a lot of time with the party's 'faithful'. Mr Balls wants to be leader of the Labour Party, at least that's what the papers tell us, yet he's asking people who support the Labour Party to vote for the Lib Dems - to keep the nasty, baby-eating, Policeman-sacking, murderous, Tories out of government.

There are a few things Mr Balls might not have realised, the main one is that not many people are really 'politically aware'. They see headlines, scan the rest and make their own opinion.

There might have been 'millions' watching those debates, but educational theorists say few people these days can sustain concentration for more than ten or fifteen minutes, yet broadcasters expected the electorate to watch three men talking for 90 minutes - without a tea/coffee/meal/snack/toilet break. Not many will have done so.

People like Mr Balls aren't likely to realise that ordinary folk won't have a clue if they live in a marginal seat, and not many people know if their constituency boundary has been redrawn.

Not many people will even think about finding out if the Labour candidate might be in a fairly dodgy position - financially.

When somebody stands for election they have to pay a deposit - it's £500 per person. It says so here. It also says that
A deposit ... is forfeited if they fail to gain at least 5% of the votes cast in their constituency
And, Mrs R will say it again - Mr Balls is asking Labour voters to vote Lib Dem.

No, it might not be exactly what he said, and it isn't likely to be what he means - but it's what a lot of people will think he means when they skim the headlines or hear it on the television or radio.

So, there are all those Labour voters who've been a bit irritated by Mr Brown's behaviour and have decided to do a Mrs Duffy and not vote, they won't even stroll to the postbox with their envelope.

There are some Labour voters who've become so disenchanted with what's been going on that they're going to vote BNP and there are the rest, who are a bit unsure.

Is it likely those unsure people will vote Conservative? Not a chance, not if they've 'always voted Labour', they'd sooner cut off their hands.

Is it likely those people will vote Lib Dem? Actually, Mrs R thinks not, not when it comes to putting an X in a box. She thinks they're more likely to stay at home, especially if it's cold, and more especially if it's raining.

If that happens it's going to make an awful mess of the polling figures - and might even mean quite a few Labour candidates lose their deposits.

During their time in office Labour has cost the Rigby family considerably more than £500 and, because of their appalling mismanagement of the economy, will go on costing them more than £500 for quite a few years to come.

Poetic justice, don't you think?

Did Mr Balls really think his little scheme through?

And to think he wanted to be Chancellor of the Exchequer!


Mrs Rigby went to find out a bit more about these 'marginals'. The BBC has a handy sort of gizmo that lists each party's 'battlegrounds', which it describes thusly
The list is based on "notional" results, which provide an estimate of the 2005 election outcome, had recent constituency boundary changes been in force then.
According to the list there are 44 target marginals identified by Labour, with majorities ranging from 0.1% to 9.9%. 33 are Conservative, 9 are Liberal Democrats, 1 is Scottish National Party and 1 is Respect-Unity Coalition.

There are 30 seats identified as Liberal Democrat marginals, with majorities ranging from 0.2% to 9.2%. 17 of these are Conservative, the other 13 are Labour.

There are 116 Conservatives target seats, ranging from a 'nominal' 0% difference (the new constituency of Gillingham & Rainham) and 12% difference. The list contains 89 Labour seats, 23 Lib Dem, 2 SNP, 1 Independent Community Health Concern (and Mrs R clearly can't count, but she's gone boggle eyed trying to go through the list, and gives up!)

Plaid Cymru is targetting 12 seats - 11 Labour and 1 Lib Dem.

Scottish Nationalists are targetting 14 seats - 13 Labour and 1 Lib Dem.

There's another bit of the site (dropdown) that lists 'Defence seats', but you'll have to look for yourself. Here they are Lib Dems (28), Labour (24), Conservative (50), Plaid (2), SNP (6).

It says that
Losing 24 seats would mean Gordon Brown's Labour party losing its overall majority in the House of Commons.

The seats highlighted in the map and in the list below are the 24 most likely to fall, based on Labour-held seats where they have the smallest majority over the next party.
Bored yet? No? Good!

Using Mrs Rigby's own brand of statistical analysis** she worked out that the other parties combined are targetting a grand total of 127 Labour marginals. Some of them might well be the same seats, if so she hasn't a clue which they might be.

Mrs Rigby then looked at this BBC site. It's fairly straightforward, all you do is choose your constituency and see who's standing, then scroll down a bit to see the numbers and percentages next to the names. If your seat is a 'marginal' or 'target' it says so.

Mrs R looked at all the constituencies she's ever voted in since she was 18. Every one of them has this 'nominal' number, so she reckons loads and loads of constituency boundaries have been redrawn. She notes that some of those seats are now called 'marginals'.

Adding all the red numbers together

Well, he should if he follows his own advice and wants to keep the Conservatives out of his own seat of Morley and Outwood



Macheath said...

if he doesn't win he's likely to end up in ermine
That's fine by me, as long as they're still alive and have got all their teeth.

Mrs Rigby said...

Hmm, yes, stoats are vicious little carnivores aren't they.