Wednesday, 3 June 2009

EU Election: Dos and D'Hondts

Like some others in the blogosphere, I am distinctly apathetic when it comes to voting in the upcoming European election (with apologies to Yousuf, who seems quite enthusiastic about it). For one thing, the European Parliamentary election is, in a British context anyway, a "second order election" - and in Scotland and Wales, perhaps even third order. For another, with ongoing expenses scandals and MPs resigning rather than facing the electorate, the public are - rightly, in my view - pretty annoyed with their representatives and not particularly in the mood to vote some of them to gravy train that is the European Parliament.

Saying all that though, I probably will go vote on Thursday. Polling station is just across the road and all that. Plus, as a political commentator of sorts, I feel duty-bound to go vote for someone - anyone - if only so I can continue to harp from the sidelines.

So, just to get me in the mood, I've been looking at some numbers. Jeff has been doing the numbers for Scotland for weeks while James and Calum have been looking at more recent numbers which have the Greens looking good for seat number 6 here (though their working is slightly different). Basically - I think - we're looking at a fight for the sixth seat. I expect the SNP and Labour both to win two and the Tories to win one. Will the Greens be able to fight off the Lib Dems for a seat (not necessarily the last one as James' working shows) or will the SNP/ Labour manage to grab a third (as Calum suggests)? With Scotland losing an MEP due to EU expansion, its all to play for on this score.

UK-wide, it's an interesting tale. Including the (currently 7) Scottish MEPs, the situation currently is:

Conservative - 27 seats
Labour - 19 seats
UKIP - 12 seats
Lib Dem - 12 seats
(UK) Green - 2 seats
SNP - 2 seats
Plaid Cymru - 1 seat

Ignoring (but not forgetting!) Northern Ireland's 3 seats, Britain's representation falls from 75 to 69 - meaning a seat less in six of the EU constituencies (including Scotland). Which is important to remember.

Also important: The share of the vote at the last election (2004) saw the Tories win with 27.6% of the vote. Labour won 22.6%, UKIP came third with 16.1% ahead of the Lib Dems on 14.9%. The Greens won two seats with 5.8% of the vote while the BNP returned no MEPs with their 4.9%.

YouGov's latest poll (published 1st June) has the Tories out in the lead on 27% and Lab (17%) UKIP (16%) and the Lib Dems (15%) battling for second. The poll also puts the Greens at 9% and the BNP on 7% (which may actually be higher - I mean, how likely would you be to tell pollsters if you were going to vote for the BNP.

Given those figures - and to make this a little more interesting - I'm taking a stab at projecting seat numbers on a Britain-wide basis. Here's how I think it will go:

Conservative - 23 seats
Labour - 14 seats

UKIP - 13 seats

Lib Dem - 9 seats

(UK) Green - 5 seats
SNP - 2 seats
BNP - 1 seats (sadly...)

Plaid Cymru - 1 seat

(Scottish) Green - 1 seat

So, good news and bad. The "big three" will struggle, with only the Tories holding onto their poll figures while Labour might well drop down to third or fourth on vote share, but still win more seats than UKIP and the Lib Dems on the basis of their (probable) two Scottish seats. Good election for the Greens Britain-wide - multiplying their representation threefold but I think the BNP might well grab a seat somewhere. They were only 90,000 votes off getting one the last time out and, depending on the turnout, they may be well-placed to pick up the votes of the apathetic and the seriously pissed off. Let's hope not though.

So that's that. Incidentally, you still have about 20 hours to change my mind on who to vote for - not that I've made up my mind yet...

PS - with the raft of Cabinet-level, former Cabinet-level and other MP resignations, Gordon Brown might call it a day on Monday - depending how badly Labour tank in the English Council elections. I don't want to say you heard it here first... but if you did and it happens then that "might" wasn't in the previous sentence!

UPDATE - Political Betting has news of a final YouGov Poll before tomorrow's election. Scores on the doors:

Conservative - 26%
UKIP - 18%
Labour - 16%
Lib Dem - 15%

(UK) Green - 10%
BNP - 5%

Which may or may not make my numbers look good. Guess it all comes down to the turnout - which might be higher than usual for an EU election.


subrosa 3 June 2009 at 16:02  

What a laddie ye are! I compiled a list of blogs which had posts about the EU Election earlier, but I've put you on the end as a late edition. It's too interesting to miss.

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