Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tories win England? Don't think so

There's a load of rubbish on the right wing of the British blogosphere being talked about the election results (it's unfair to single any particular blogger out, the virus is widespread). To add to the new definition of "law-abiding" (anybody who isn't working class committing a minor crime) comes the new definition of "majority" (any party that receives 35.7% of the English vote in an election).

First past the post is an awful way of electing a government, but it's the one we've had for centuries so it should be well understood by the whingers but they seem to miss this fact:

In a first past the post election all votes not cast for a winning candidate are effectively ignored.

Given that, the vote totals change immensely and disprove the paranoid electoral bias fantasies of the right-wing.

Out of the Tories' 8,028,386 votes only 4,368,177 were cast for a winning candidate.
Out of Labour's 7,985,165 votes 5,334,831 were cast for a winner.

So on the votes that actually mattered, Labour beat the Tories by almost one million votes by being more efficient at targetting their resources. If the election was to be won by whoever got the most votes in England then we would have fought it differently.