Thursday, 23 December 2010

What if Proportional Representation had been used in the 2010 UK General Election?

With the vote in the commons and hopefully (for the Lib Dems) referendum on switching to the AV system for elections some are calling that it does not go far enough.

But as question that is the title of this post asks... what if PR had been used in 2010?

Well as PR is based on percentage of the vote won I'd best give the result for those who would qualify assuming that 1% was required to win seats.

Votes
Conservative - 36.1% (36)
Labour - 29%
Lib Dem - 23%
UKIP - 3.1%
BNP - 1.9%
SNP - 1.7%
Green - 1%
Total - 95.8% of vote qualifies for seats

Seats (based on %)
Conservative - 234.65
Labour - 188.5
Lib Dem - 149.5
UKIP - 20.15
BNP - 12.35
SNP - 11.05
Green - 6.5
Total 622.7

Time for a Question within a Question, when deciding actual seats, do I simply count every actual seat won and ignore point places or do I round up and down accordingly

1)If I were to ignore decimal places for seats the final result would be

Con - 234
Lab - 188
Lid - 149
UKIP - 20
BNP - 12
SNP - 11
Gre - 6
Result - 620 seats - Hung Parliament - Cons lacking 77 seats for majority of 1

Almost poetically this result means that a Lib/Lab coalition would have been numerically possible as they would equal 337

2)If however I were to round up we get another question..do we round up the percent of votes cast for everyone? Then a party would need 0.5% of the vote to qualify for a percent of the seats.

2a) if we take it that a party need 1% to qualify for seats but then were rounded up

Votes/share/Seats
Cons - 36.1% - 36% - 234
Lab - 29% - 29% - 188
Lib - 23% - 23% - 149
UKIP - 3.1% - 3% - 19.5 seats = 20
BNP - 1.9% - 2% - 13
SNP - 1.7% - 2% - 13
Gre - 1% - 1% - 6.5 seats = 7
Total seats - 624 - Hung Parliament - Cons lack 79 seats for majority of 1

Really only slight differences to bottom of the table that increase the number of seats and the number of seats needed for a majority.

2b) If rounding up as used throughout the whole process 3 more parties would qualify for seats

Sinn Fein - 0.6% of Vote
DUP - 0.6% of Vote
Plaid Cymru - 0.6% of Vote

Each would be rounded up to 1% and would then qualify for the same 7 seats as the Greens meaning the final table with rounding would look something like this;

Con - 234
Lab - 188
Lib - 149
UKIP - 20
BNP - 13
SNP - 13
Gre - 7
DUP - 7
Sinn - 7
Cym - 7

Total Seats - 645 - Hung Parliament - 323 needed for majority

These seat numbers are of course based on the idea that the Commons remained at 650 going into the election. It would most likely have to be decided how many seats would be in the commons prior to any election.

What I find most interesting is just how close the Lib Dems and Labour really are.

So hopefully this has given you an idea on how the current parliament would have looked like had PR been used.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Vince Cable on way out?

This Business Secretary Vince Cable was recorded by undercover journalists from the Telegraph claiming that he had declared War on the NewsCorp Empire and that if he felt the coalition was moving to far away from his beliefs would use his 'Nuclear Option' and resign from Government and bring the coalition down around him.

By declaring unilateral war on Rupert Murdoch and (kinda)publicly revealing his Nuclear option, he has not only lost the powers he planned to use against Murdoch but also had his Nuclear option disarmed. The accusations have now begun from Labour that Cable has retained his Cabinet position simply to prop up the coalition and keep the Social Democratic wing of the Lib Dems happy.

But why is Vince still on the Cabinet?

Labour's idea that Cable has been retained to keep the Lib Dems happy isn't that far-fetched, He is after all one of the highest profile Lib Dems that their small parliamentary group has. Keeping him, though unpopular, keeps the Lib Dems from being overshadowed by the Tories.

However stripped of his powers to act in the BSkyB takeover has made Vince Cable a bit of a lame duck, his credibility, in using the powers afforded to his position as Business Secretary, is severely damaged. But perhaps Vince is simply being kept on the cabinet to keep the seat warm over the holidays as the Coalition hope to bring David Laws back onto the Coalition frontline.

David Laws is a Lib Dem who resigned from government due to issues with his expenses, however he has managed to avoid the expenses stigma due to the unceremonial reveal of his sexuality as collateral that accompanied his expense account. With a career as an investment banker backing his CV he would be a Prime Candidate to move onto the Business Portfolio.

For Vince Cable, he knows that being asked to leave the Cabinet would be his own fault, but how would he find being pushed to the backbenches with Lib Dems unhappy with the coalition's policies?