Sunday, May 09, 2010

Celtic Fringes Wot Lost It

Once again, it has been the Celtic fringes which have delivered for Labour. In Scotland Labour got 41 out of the 59 seats and in Wales, 26 out of 40. In England the Tories got 297 seats, with Labour on 191, the LibDems 43 and the Greens 1 - a clear overall majority of 59.

Votes - Scotland:
Labour - 1,035,528, which translates into 41 seats
Conservative - 412,855, yet only 1 seat

Votes - Wales:
Labour - 531,601 - 26 seats
Conservative - 382,730 - 8 seats

All this will fuel demands for England's voice to be given a greater role in any changes to the electoral system. It surely cannot be too long before the creation of an English Parliament becomes a mainstream political issue.


Dylan Jones-Evans said...

...and Peter Hain favours further proportional representation.

I wonder how the other 25 Welsh MPs would think of such a move, given that there would be no way that they would get 65 per cent of the Welsh seats with 36 per cent of the vote under any PR system?

Would these turkeys vote for Christmas for the greater good of the British Labour Party?

More to the point, would the Scottish Labour Party follow their lead?

hmph said...

It was the Saxon fringe wot lost it

Jimmy said...

Why not just have a parliament for the home counties to be on the safe side?

Not a sheep said...

The Conservative and Unionist party needs to rethink the second part of that title as Scotland and Wales will keep the Conservatives out of power for some years yet.

Dan said...

You forgot NI, Cameron does a deal with Unionist Party and stands as Conservative and Unionist and gets ZERO seats.

In terms of having the same number of seats in the 4 countries relative to population my memory says Scotland is now about right haven come down from 72 to 59 seats post Scottish Parliament but Wales has "too Many" seats and NI gained 3 seats from 15 to 18 after a bribe to keep Labour in office 1978. In relative terms they should only have 13 or 14 seats now.

Any one know what the split of seats should be if they were all done on the same basis.

Eddie said...

Totally agree, and answering the West Lothian question is even more difficult with PR, without a separate parliament.

True proportional representation would be vastly different if only English votes were considered, as opposed to UK votes, and it would be totally unreasonable if the system chosen increased the non Conservative representation for issues impacting on England only.

Englishman said...

An English Parliament is not in the Scottish EU Region's best Interests, you may start doing things like cutting off oor subsidy, setting your own legislation and stop us having our haggis and eat it, the Tail must continue to wag the dog!.

tapestry said...

Cameron might in fact be happier not to have won outright. The coming economic crisis will be far greater than anything experienced for nearly a century. As a coalition he has a bigger base to work from, and people to share the responsibility with for the toughest decisions ever taken for generations.

Overall I think he will prefer things as they are, for now. By 2015, the bottom of the economic cycle will be approaching and the chance to win a majority would be welcome once more.

But the next 5 years will test the country and the world to breaking point. Clegg and his people will be most necessary in helping project a semblance of national unity, while Labour's mess, which is of unimaginable proportions, is dealt with.

David said...

Considering the Scots had a Conservative government foisted upon them in the 80's, it's not exactly a new issue.

My own concern is that the negative campaigning of Labour had such an impact up here that even their closest challengers SNP didn't make any headway.
It would be interesting to see just what the Labour party machine would do if Scotland did get independence, the load of the sate upon the economy would be unbearable. It might even be the only way anyone will break the pattern of voting for Labour because my dad did.

Ashley said...

If the Lib Dems (and more recent PR converts the Labour party) are serious about a settlement that better reflects popular will, they have to look at an English parliament.

For us not to have one is totally ridiculous.

Q said...

If you look at the number of votes and not just the number of seats, you can see that PR would actually help to neuter Labour's (gerrymandered) dominance in the Celtic countries.

As far as the West Lothian Question is concerned, I note that very few people south of the border paid much attention to the related 300 years of the West Sussex Question where English MPs have repeatedly (most recently in the Thatcher years) rammed through legislation which would affect Scotland alone.

It's very, very difficult to see the complaints about the West Lothian Question as anything other than hypocrisy and sour grapes from people who really don't care about the democracy deficit until it affects them directly.

RHS said...

This is wrong. Although Wales is strongly Labour, true, the same could be said of the North East of England.

No, the anti-Celtic vitriol should be aimed at Scotland alone, whose politics now bear no more relation to those of England and Wales than those of Northern Ireland. Leave the Welsh out of this (OK, I was born there).

As proof. Wales registered a swing to the Tories of around 5-6%, not far below the swing registered in England. By contrast the swing in Scotland was 0.1% - to Labour. How anyone can witness the last five years and yet leave their political map completely unchanged from the last General Election is beyond me, and raises questions as to whether we have anything in common with them at all.

But leave the Welsh out of it.

Thomas said...

You wrote: "Votes - Scotland: Labour - 1,035,528, which translates into 41 seats; Conservative - 412,855, yet only 1 seat".
An excellent argument for PR!

John said...

The answer to the west lothian question is so simple i'm amazed that it hasn't yet been implimented.

Give each region it's own parliament, N. Ireland, Scotland, Wales AND England, and keep Westminster focused on policy that effect the WHOLE of the UK only.

Oh, and the welsh regions are a waste of space. Speaking as a welshman, our people are idiots. You go to any south welsh constituency and pretty much everyone will tell you that Labour are the party of the working classes, and that it's offensive to vote anywhere else.

Just find a rotting carcass on the street and stick a Labour rosette on it and it'll get in by a landslide.

That's not politics, that's blind devotion.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, Iain. If Cam and Clegg are serious about localism, I can't see how they can argue against the creation of an English parliament, convincingly.

The mood is becoming murderous that a coalition between Labour and the Welsh and Scottish nationalists would mean Wales and Scotland keeping their cushy public subsidies at a time when England has to tighten its belt.

skynine said...


You are absolutely right, the time has come for a complete rethink of the constitution of the UK. The Scotland Act should be replaced by a Constitutional Act that has devolved government in all four countries, fixed term parliaments and a Parliament of the UK where all MP's meet for non devolved issues.

At a stroke we can reduce the size and cost of the devolved parliaments and bring power back to MP's.

Ian said...

No doubt to your disapproval, I was one of many Tories who actively helped many Tories in North Ayrshire & Arran and after years of compaigning in England, I was appalled at the general conduct of the Scottish Party. They mishandled the situation with Philip Lardner, they allow a Lab/SNP agenda to dominate the press and they chose some dreadful candidates- some of whom would not be selected in a strong Labour Ward in an English Met in a bad year

In an earlier post you rightly said, "...and it could be decades before you get it back. And that will only be when the sitting LibDem retires."

I wondered if a similar situation has applied in Banff & Buchan. Alex Salmond stood down and on Thursday night, the Tory Candidate Jimmy Buchan increased the vote by 11.42% while the new SNP candidate saw their vote drop by 10.00%- a swing to the Tories of 10.7%- by far the best result for the party in Scotland.(he also increased the actual number of votes we won in the constituency from 7207 to 11,841 -an increase of 50%)

Great candidate and the type we should have had more of in Scotland. Like Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, he was a beacon on a sea of choas. Pity that Auntie Bella still believes that The Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party is fit for purpose

Personally I'd purge the voluntary side of the Scottish Party ar Edinburgh and in a lot of places at constituency level (lethal injection's probably the best solution in many cases). I'd look at the Leadership of the Party in the Holyrood and have at least half of our MSPs put out to grass (though certainly not the three who have won a constituency)I'd do a trawl of the party in England and see if we can persuade those expat Scots living and active in the English constituencies to see what they could do in Scotland and I'd invite every Welsh Tory MP (8 of them) to come up to Scotland, and tell a meeting of Association Officers and prospective MPs and MSPs and tell them how its done. At least one thing, in the event of a coalition, David Mundane is unlikely to be Secretary of State
and by the way I strongly agree with the principle of English votes for English issues and few Scots will disagree with that

JoeF said...

Conservative policy is English votes for English laws and this makes alot of sense (why duplicate costs with an additional Parliament for England).

This and fair sized constituencies should of course be a fundamental part of a reorganization of politics.

It is not only the LDs who have policies in this regard (indeed both parties agree on right to recall MPs, and I think all or mostly elected Lords is also inevitable)

Even PR- which version? How would it work? Regionally or nationally (PR covering whole UK would be interesting- end of all Northern Ireland parties, Plaid, maybe even SNP depending what minimum vote was required, but possibly BNP would get in, UKIP certainly would I think). Labour offers "PR" but they mean AV; LDs want STV...

Ross said...

The vote totals for Scotland are surprising, I didn't realise that Labour only had about twice as many votes.

Scotland should not be written off in perpetuity by the Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Iain Dale(y): "Once again..."

There's no once again about it - that's another Dodgy Dale(y) assertion. In 2005 Labour had a big majority of MPs in England, so they were quite legitimately the government of England too.

Those who wish to 'punish' Scotland with disproportionate spending cuts must realise that that will push Scots, including this unionist Scot, to say "f*** you too then" and go off and do our own thing.

Evan Davis, as BBC economics editor, did a back of an envelope spreadsheet a year or three back where he worked out that spending levels in Scotland were in proportion to the tax take from Scotland when allowing for the fact, however much you dislike it, that most British North Sea oil comes from Scottish waters, and would thus be Scotland's anyway should small-minded idiots (on both sides of the border) manage to break up the United Kingdom.

Oh, and don't lie about "once again", 'cos it ain't true.

P.S. Yes, I know we got 60,000 votes more thsn Labour in England in 2005, but that doesn't matter a damn under the FPTP system, and under PR we wouldn't have had a Tory government either.

Peter said...

Cameron is committed to a strong union and rightly so.
But that doesn't mean that we have to have Scottish and Welsh MPs in the Commons if they have devolution or independence.
So why not have all the nations represented in a new elected House of Lords.

martin said...


I think the steel, coal and general restructuring of the economy away from manufacturing to service industry. Which hammered the communities had something to do with the lack of love for the london parties.


Seafang said...

The raw deal that England got under devolution has irritated me for some while.

But the outrageous idea that Gordon Brown might try to concoct some Celtic Rainbow Alliance to pass legislation that only applies to England in defiance of a majority of English MPs has made me quite sick.

I think the idea of "Vote Clegg, Get Salmond" ought to rouse us to public demonstration.

And in the meantime I have resolved to do something about it. Today I joined the Campaign for an English Parliament. I suggest others do the same.

Englishman said...

Surely nobody is surprised that the only place McLabour increased its vote was in its Scottish home Region!.

Ill give you the result of the next 3 general elections now for Scotland, should England and the English have not wised up by then and told our bitter and twisted irrelevant neighbour where to go.

McLabour landslide!

McLabour landslide!

McLabour landslide!

Englishman said...

Re: anyway should small-minded idiots (on both sides of the border) manage to break up the United Kingdom.
Its ALREADY broken up, as of 1997, in all but name, McLabour done it, on behalf of their employers in the EU, aided with the votes of the Scottish, Welsh and N Irish, not the English.

Still who cares, the only thing England gets out of the "Union" is the BILL! - English Parliament NOW!.

Me said...

Couldn't agree more, Iain.
Can't wait to get rid of the Scots or radically reform the voting system. We have less and less in common with them. And the fact that Brown was Scottish meant that Labour did better in this election than they otherwise would have done.
Other reasons why the Tories didn't get the majority they deserved:
1 Bloody UKIP. I ALWAYS vote UKIP in European elections - because I loathe the European project - but will reconsider this now. I hope they're pleased with themselves. Idiots.
2 Mass immigration. Look at how well Labour did in areas where the indigenous population is minimal. This was of course an entirely deliberate Labour policy.
3 Labour's client state. Brown's policy of beefing up the public sector paid enormous dividends in places like Scotland and the North East.
4 The bizarre and badly communicated 'big society' idea.
5 Cameron - who I otherwise think is brilliant - instructing certain areas to pick token candidates of his liking.
6 The hangover of the lefty media's influence over the last 25 years - the Billy Elliot/Spitting Image/Young Ones/Housemartins Thatcher bashing etc etc.

I could go on, but there are six for you.

Salmondnet said...

The Stats are an argument for both PR and for an English Parliament. As to those Scottish commentators who claim that Scotland was similarly disadvantaged before 1997, it wasn't, because all UK MPs then had the same voting rights and responsibilities. Scottish MPs could and did sometimes impose on England rule by a party for which there was no English majority. That was acceptable under the ground rules that applied before 1997, but devolution makes it fundamentally objectionable.

Hughes. said...

I hate the assemblies, to me they're pointless money-pits, but they're clearly here to stay. It's crazy that England alone doesn't get to have this kind of political leverage when it has been voting overwhelmingly against the Westminster government (I assume this is why Prescott was always pushing for regional assemblies rather than a national one).

I don't know if Dave can now push through measures barring MP's who don't represent English constituencies voting on English-only matters. I'd rather that than yet another new bunch of Conference League politicos with fat expenses accounts draining the public purse.

Roy said...

Scottish tribalism helped maintain the same number of seats for all parties as in 2005. Flying in the face of 5 years of Labour misrule it shows a contempt for the rest of the country, especially the Auld Enemy.

England needs its own parliament, perhaps these gerrymandered Scottish votes for Gormless will finally convince the Tories that Scotland is indeed a different country - undeserving of its English subsidies and place at the high table of the Commons.

JMB said...

I heard someone on the radio suggesting that PR could be tried out first in Scotland and Wales because of it already being used there.

I wonder whether Salmond is keen on a Labour-Liberal-nationalists deal because it might p### off English voters and so improve his chances of independence - he is a devious as Meddlesome (if not more so).

Pat said...

On those figures- PR would give the Tories an increase in seats from Scotland and Wales- maybe it sounds more attractive now?

Allan said...

I have always voted for the SNP and many of the SNP and Lib/Dem votes went to Labour in Scotland because of the negative campaign Labour put out regarding the threat of a Tory government.

Although Labour picked up most of the Scottish seats, 57% of Scots voted against Labour but thanks to the electoral system which you Tories want to keep, Labour will always dominate Scottish politics at UK elections.

Iain I dislike the term (Celtic Fringes) Can I remind you that the English only make up 7% of Scotland's population yet we never call the Conservative party in Scotland the (Anglicized fringe)

Would you think it was fair if 79% of Scots voted against the Tory party but were still ruled by them? This has happened a few times and is likely to happen again.

If I recall in this election some 60% of the English voted against a Tory government so don't point the finger at Scotland and Wales.

Allan said...


You are right but the Tories only won 36% of the vote(42% in England) so even with PR you would still be well short of a majority.

Trolitburo said...

Iain, as a Conservative surely a tweaking of the voting system must appeal to you more than further devolution?

Calum said...

Here's another idea: the Tory party pulls its finger out its collective backside and makes a serious attempt to win back territory in Scotland - in minds, media, votes and seats. It is twenty years since Thatcher left and the brand is still poisoned by her legacy. Scots are in many ways natural small-c conservatives: they tend to vote more to the left because the state of the economy is such that it is in their own self interest. Get out there and win the argument and Scotland would be perfectly capable of electing a decent crop of Tory MPs.

JMB said...

Bit late but a video showing the Argyll & Bute boxes being taken to the count by helicopter. They wait until Friday morning because of the difficulty with night flying.

Anonymous said...

Amazed to still see some people oppose a English Parliament on costs issues. It would costs less than now.

Next General Election only England returns MPs to Westminster. Wales, Scotland, N.I. and England send a handful of people to committee with the PMs to represent UK matters.

Fewer MPs, less costs, less wages, less 2nd homes and expense allowances. Mosts MPs could probably work from their constituencies and only need to travel to London 2 days a week. That would mean none need a 2nd London home, just one overnight hotel stay per week.

Blackacre said...

To me it shows that you need PR - the Conservatives are grossly under-represented in Wales and Sctoland and can only be taken seriously as a governing party with more seats. PR is good for Conservatives too.

kaine1 said...

I'm a Manc. The Tories have a single seat in Greater Manchester, and most of its inhabitants claim to live in Cheshire. By what right do the country squires of the Home Counties claim to govern me?

Magnus Taylor said...

or the Tories could always try actually winning some seats in Scotland...