Monday, November 30, 2009

Book of the Day: British Electoral Facts

  • How many ethnic minority candidates stood for the LibDems in 1983?
  • How many people spolied their ballot papers in the 1979 election?
  • Which parliamentary session has experienced the most by-elections?
  • What was the weather like on polling day in 1964?
  • How many votes did Labour get in 1906?

  • If you want to know the answers to those questions, buy this book! When I was at Politico's I got fed up with academic publishers publishing books priced outside the range of normal bookbuyers. When Rallings & Thrasher brought out their book, British Electoral Facts in hardback, it was priced at a massive £85! My company Biteback have now published a paperback edition priced at £19.99 (available HERE at £14.99).

    Essentially, the 300 pages contain a treasure trove of historical political facts about every conceivable aspect of British electoral politics. As well as the expected election results, going back to 1832, it looks at party votes, turnouts, swings, size of electorate, changes inn electoral law, postal vote turnout, boundary reviews, demographics of election candidates, by-elections, European election data, regional differences, devolution, local government and referendums.

    In short it is a book which is surely a must-buy for anyone interested in elections and electoral statistics. Let's put it this way. If you gave it to Davd Dimbleby, he'd probably keep it by his side during the election night programme.

    12 comments:

    Jessica Asato said...

    Hi Iain, I think you have got slightly confused. British Political Facts is of course written by my father-in-law David Butler, not Rallings and Thrasher, though they are good friends of course and am sure have helped with numerous editions. The new BPF will be out next year after the general election. Glad to see that you've made British Electoral Facts cheaper though - will buy a copy now!

    quietzapple said...

    An extra tax on this book might help fund Thursday night counts in a number of constituencies now considering not starting until Friday - will write to Cleggy right away!

    Westminster Worker said...

    Surely the Lib Dems were called the Liberal SDP Alliance in the 1983 general election?

    Lord Lavendon said...

    Thank you Iain, I can at last tell my relatives what I would like for Christmas !

    Malcolm Redfellow said...

    changes INN electoral law

    That's the law on treating, then -- Election Treating Bill of 1806.

    Best excuse for the candidate not to stand his round after an evening on the knocker.

    Bill Quango MP said...

    Time for a competition Mr Dale. Put this book up as a prize.

    Lord Lavendon said...

    Mr Quango is right- but to make it even more special,the book could be hardback and signed by your good self (then in 20 years time , when you are Prime Minister a potential investor would be sitting on a goldmine). But what could the competition be , I wonder?

    Paddy Briggs said...

    14.99 became 18.99 when I followed the link!

    Edwin Moore said...

    Haven't looked at either edition, am ashamed to say. I suppose it includes electoral details for Scotland in the mid 1950s? - it's funny how many people (including Scots) think that Scotland was always anti-Tory when of course in the 50s they were the dominant party.

    eric said...

    The price was £18.99 when I followed the link too :-(
    Is this the version just going to 1999, to 2006, or what?

    [And why is the verification 'bumshp'? Not sure I approve of that!]

    Iain Dale said...

    AMazon set the price. When I wrote the blogpost it was £14.99.

    It goes from 1832 to 2006.

    eric said...

    Then I suppose it's a worthwhile update on my copy of Craig's 'British Electoral Facts, 1885-1975' - the third edition, published in 1976 at £8.50 as a cased hardback.