Thursday 4 July 2024

Who Will Win Today?


Labour will win today, that much is obvious. What is impossible to guess is their majority and the number of seats that the other parties will snaffle. There are just too many variables to allow the pollsters to make an accurate forecast, and I have a feeling that even the exit poll will be out by enough seats to ensure that tonight will be a long night for the political anoraks.

The first variable is turnout, which looks as if it may be below 60%. Tony Blair ensured that turnout fell from the post-war average of over 70% to the low-mid 60s and no election this century has seen turnout hit 70%. Many Tory voters seem to want to sit this one out, and Sir Keir Starmer hardly inspires the urban working class to give up a good evening's TV viewing, so we could see a turnout of around 55%. Thus, quite small swings could see large gains made by one party or another. 

The small parties are another variable that might play a big role in thos election. How well will Reform do in Eastern England? Will it replicate UKIP's success in South Wales? The assumption is that Reform takes votes from the Tories, but many of those voters were solid Labour people until Brexit and the 2019 election came along. Reform does galvanise its supporters, so a moderate shift to that party in the East coupled with indifference to the result amongst supporters of the old Con/Lab duopoly could lead to some interesting results.

Then we have the Pakistani defection from Labour in the mill towns. Labour are reported to be dragooning what activists they have and begging them to go to Rochdale and Oldham East. Rochdale is held by George Galloway and his Workers' Party and it is understandable that Labour wants his scalp, but Oldham East? The constituency is 20% Pakistani, which is not enough for a victory, unless the British 80% are indifferent to the result and Labour's generals are terrified that the Workers' Party may grab the seat.

In Scotland, the SNP is the dominant party and does look set to lose some seats. Labour should be the net gainer, but such is the indifference to the election in the Central Belt where most of us live, that making predictions is next to impossible. The SNP has an almost cult following and attempts to set up a Unionist Front that would see Labour people in Aberdeenshire vote Tory and Tories voting Labour in the Central Belt seem to have failed.

It is going to be a long night, but we are men of men for our fathers were men before us, so we can see it through.

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