Pointlessly indulgent, but also compulsory. I've been trying to work out the likely result of the election, based on a mixture of polling reports. The polling points to a hung parliament with the Tories 43 seats short of a majority, the Lib Dems being massively under-represented despite beating Labour in votes. However, my 'instinct' - a compound of expectations based on past disappointments, unrealistic aspirations and a sense of sheer dread - has other ideas. Furthermore, my 'ego' - an obese monkey that incessantly pleasures itself while I carry it around on my back - leads me to believe that my 'instinct' has superior access to voters' preferences. Said instinct therefore expects a last minute Labour surge giving them just under a third of the vote, a squeezed Lib Dem vote, closer to the low than the high twenties, and a very slight overall Tory majority - about 330 seats of 646, based on just over a third of the vote. I would also expect Plaid Cymru and SNP to pick up a few seats. Having negotiated a compromise between my instinct and psephological science, I therefore offer the following:
- Conservatives ≈ 320 seats based on 36% of the vote
- Labour ≈ 200 seats based on 28% of the vote
- Liberal Democrats ≈ 90 seats based on 26% of the vote
- That leaves ≈ 36 seats and 10% of the vote to be distributed among the nationalist parties (SNP & Plaid Cymru), the sectarian (Norn Irish) parties, the left-of-Labour parties (Respect, Green) and possibly the BNP. Of these, I would distribute ten to the SNP, 5 to Plaid Cymru, one to Respect (Salma), and the rest to the sectarians and the hard right.
If this post serves any useful purpose, though, it will be to get some of you who know what you're talking about to explain what's so hopelessly wrong with my projections, and the assumptions underlying them.