Monday, May 10, 2010

The Montgomerie-Whelan Analysis Is Wrong

I've only just recovered from being told live on the BBC News Channel that the election result on Thursday was a triumph for the Labour Party and that it was Labour MPs and activists on Thursday night who were cheering at the results. Simon McCoy, the presenter, and I almost collapsed in hysterics and Simon retorted: "Which election, exactly, were you watching?"

Tim Montgomerie seems to half agree with Charlie and has just tweeted this...

I'm sorry @IainDale but @CharlieWhelan is half right. Labour should have been obliterated but they survived.

No, Tim. Obliteration was never going to happen. The fact is that Labour lost more seats than at any election for decades, including 1983 I believe. The Tories won more seats than at any election since 1931 and got a bigger swing in 1979. The electoral map makes it impossible to obliterate Labour, and Tim should know that. In 1983 they got 223 seats. It is difficult to conceive that they could have ever gone below that. As it was, they improved on that by 35 seats.

We should also remember that there were 16,000 votes in 15 constituencies that were the difference between a Conservative majority and the opposite.

Yes, there were things the Tory leadership got wrong and I will write about those another time, but there were two parties who had glum faces on Friday morning and neither of them were the Conservative Party. Yes, it was disappointing not to have David Cameron walking into Downing Street on Friday, but I think we all believe that's what will happen later on today or tomorrow.

When the interview on the News Channel was finished, Simon McCoy said to Charlie: "You didn't really believe that, did you?" Charlie replied: "I'm a spin doctor!". Says it all.


Paddy Briggs said...

The electoral system worked againt the Conservatives - as we knew it would. But to secure only 36% percent of the vote was pretty poor. Labour's 29% didn't justify 250+ seats but that's the system - and it needs to change. But the fact of the matter is (and Charlie Whelan is right) Labour won fair and square in 258 consituencies - which was impressive given above all the Brown factor. No doubt in time someone will work out what the result would have been if ABB had been the Labour leader. My guess is that Brown cost Labour around thirty seats. If I'm right the outcome would have been Tory 276 and Labour 288! Oh and I know that if my Aunty had had bollocks she would have been my Uncle... said...

My experience standing as an Independent in a Labour heartland taught me the real reason Labour can never be obliterated. Neanderthals!

BrianSJ said...

Given that we know there was significant electoral fraud, have the police started to investigate?

Whelan is happy because the fraud very nearly worked and may still do so.

jbw said...

Iain said

"We should also remember that there were 16,000 votes in 15 constituencies that were the difference between a Conservative majority and the opposite."

Labour have been the worst party in power that I can remember, with an unelected and unelectable PM.

It was a wide open goal, just waiting for DC to tap the ball through the net.

And he fluffed it - an amazing cock-up.

This sort of chance won't happen again - next time they will be up against another Labour leader, and no doubt the conservatives will get the blame for the very nasty medicine they will have to dish out.

I look forward to another election in the autumn, but I wouldn't count on DC winning any more seats though.

So much for voting for change:-)

Simon Gardner said...

Charlie Whelan has always been entirely honest about his dishonesty.

@ Paddy Briggs said...
“The electoral system worked againt the Conservatives - as we knew it would.”

I get jolly cheesed off with all this bollocks. No mention as per that the electoral system positively beams on the Tories as compared with, say, the LDs. Frankly, the Tories have very little to whine about.

bewick said...

Brian SJ is right. It would be interesting to know whether in any constituency the number of postal votes exceeded the majority gained by the winner.
A definite electoral reform should be the immediate abandonment of the "postal vote on demand" introduced by Blair.
The electoral register was always open to fraud since no checks are carried out. I know for example that when living in two places I could easily have registered in my work location as well as my main home (no I wasn't an MP and had no access to silly expenses) but didn't.
That loophole would still exist but removing postal voting "on demand" would go some way towards stopping "phantom voters".
Then again if LAs never query why 18 people are registered in a 2 bedroom property (and they have that info) then ghost voters will still exist.

Anonymous said...

"Labour won fair and square in 258 constituencies" - PB.

There seems little doubt stuffing postal votes is largely a consequence of inner city tribal behaviour, as Peter Shields indicates.

Anonymous said...

It's bull – Turkeys don't vote for Christmas, and in many Labour won seats vast swathes of the electorate are propped up by public sector non-jobs and benefits.

Antisthenes said...

"I'm a spin doctor!"

Says it all really, all the parties are it but the best ones at spin are the worst ones to govern as everyone has found to their cost.

Nigel said...

Time is almost as delusional as Whelan gives the impression of being.

While there are regions of the country where two thirds of the economy depends on government spending, 'obliterating' Labour is purest fantasy.

That is more a measure of the task facing the incoming government.

Chris said...

"there were two parties who had glum faces on Friday morning and neither of them were the Conservative Party."

Oh please!
Believe that if you want to...!

We were all gutted.

jailhouselawyer said...

There were 3 glum faces on Friday morning. David Cameron did not get what he wanted. Face it, Iain, DC was not a happy bunny!

Ray said...

It is making me sick that despite knowing you cannot get a truthful answer from people like Charlie Whelan why they are (probably) earning a small fortune getting paid to lie on these various programmes that invite them.

Terry said...

I saw the interview and nearly choked when Whelan said that. How ridiculous did he look!
One thing that strikes me most about this election is this: if Labour had got the same percentage share as the Conservatives got last Thursday they would have won the election - and with a big majority too. That's not fair.
And even those observers from Kenya said our voting system is a "recipe for corruption."

Paul Halsall said...

What is the reverse calculation to the "15,000 more votes would have given us a Tory" govt meme?

In other words, in how many seats did the Tories win by a few votes.

As always, lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Anonymous said...

Montgomerie is just plain wrong, and whatever credibility he has built up ov er time is in danger of being shredded. Who is he anyway - just a blogger.

the fact is Labour have a base of tribal support -- look at Scotland .... is TM saying that there is anything more the tories could have done to have captured any of labours tribal Scottish seats?

the reality he has to face is that the tentative hard core conservative principles that the tories espoused (ie starting cutting the deficit now) were turned by Labour into scare tactics to shore up their tribal base and their client state slave vote.

We have also been in a phony period - as I keep saying we have been bizzarrly in the middle of a good old pre-election boom. It may not feel like it but we have had artificial low interest rates and a whole splurge of unsustainable spending.

Labour feared going down to 200 seats, but the fact that they have not is not a victory - and unlike Blair, cameron has got his votes by being honest.

The electoral system and electoral history was all against a straight transfer of power. And this election was always going to be totally odd-ball; why - in a word, 'expenses'.

Pogo said...

Might I suggest that the term "spin doctor" be abandoned in favour of a more accurate description of the job - "professional liar".?

And Paddy B - yes, they won fair and square in 258 constituencies, 41 of which were in Scotland and numerous others were in areas like Liverpool... No further elucidation is needed.

Sean Haffey said...

The "16,000" number is an excellent example of how to lie with statistics. Doubtless the LibDems and Labour could come up with similar stats but it has to be exactly the right people changing their mind and you have better odds of winning the lottery than winning the election with exactly these 16,00 votes.

FF said...

The Conservatives did very well. And much better under David Cameron, let it be noted, than Hague, Duncan Smith or Howard.

But the fact is, Labour aren't as unpopular as some in the Conservative Party think they ought to be. And some in the Conservative Party are arrogant enough to think the electorate owes them the mandate lock stock and barrel. Which, I think is partly why they didn't do even better.

Charles said...

Iain -- your encyclopedic memory has let you down. Labour's result in 1983 was even worse than you recalled. It actually won only 209 seats.

neil craig said...

Kissinger said about the Iran Iraq war "what ahame they can't both lose"

The British electorate have managed the unique feat of getting all 3 parties to lose. Deservedly. Learn from it.

adrian said...

iain i can tell you honestly a year ago many hardcore labour supporters where i live feared annihilation. if the tories had got a 20 seat majority it wouldn't have been too bad but for the tories not to get any majority after 13 years in opposition,most of the press vehemently on their side,ashcrofts money and a young charismatic leader. well all i can say is if you and your fellow tory supporters are happy with the election result then so am i.

Anonymous said...

At the 2005 election when the father of a dead soldier stood against Blair and was asked how his campaign was going he said "Round here they'd vote for a dog turd if it worse a Labour rosette.

EWliminate the dog turd tendency vote and Labour were virtually anihilated.

The Tories and Lib Dems (if they still exist) should harp on that next time as an antidote to Labour's "Lib Dem vote is a vote for the Tories" mantra.