So it’s nearly here.
And on the eve of our second general election in as many years, my final projections for the results are as follows:
Conservative: 351 (+21, 43.5% vote share)
Labour: 229 (0, 35.9% vote share)
Scottish National: 44 (-10, 4.5% vote share)
Democratic Unionist: 11 (+3, 0.7% vote share)
Liberal Democrat: 6 (-3, 8.1% vote share)
Sinn Féin: 5 (+1, 0.7% vote share)
Plaid Cymru: 1 (-2, 0.5% vote share)
Social Democratic & Labour: 2 (-1, 0.4% vote share)
Green: 1 (0, 2.1% vote share)
UKIP:0 (-1, 4.7% vote share)
Ulster Unionist: 0 (-2, 0.2% vote share)
Speaker: 1 (0, <0.1% vote share)
This has been projected on the basis of how each constituency voted relative to the national vote share in 2015. As such, it’s not a direct ‘swingometer’ as most projections are, but is instead intended to take into account local dynamics. The formula is basically:
x/y = r
then r *p = projection
Where x = constituency vote in 2015, y = national vote in 2015, r = ratio of x/y (i.e. how the constituency will vote relative to national vote share), and p = current polling average (last ten polling results via Britain Elects). This is done for each party, and the numbers are compared to determine the winner.
So a pretty simple model really, but one I think is more effective than simply superimposing the swing in the polls onto local constituencies.
Nonetheless, I’ve still had to make some ‘manual’ interventions for a bit of human common sense. For example on the above ratio, Labour will win Brighton Pavilion from the Green’s Caroline Lucas. However, the seat’s numbers are so much an outlier and Lucas has such personal popularity there that I think it is extremely unlikely Labour will unseat her. While Green votes will definitely be pulled red elsewhere, this will remain an environmentalist anomaly for now.
While my overall projection is pretty much in line with others projecting at the moment (a Tory majority increased by 20-25 seats, Labour to lose 10-20), one significant difference I have is I think the Tories will do better in Scotland than the other pollsters are currently giving them credit for. A recent increase in the Labour share puts them and the Conservatives about level north of the border and most pollsters are, logically inferring that this split in the unionist vote will allow the SNP to only lose 4 or 5 of the most vulnerable seats. I agree with this to an extent but feel like, much as in England, Labour are gaining votes in the ‘wrong’ areas, such as Edinburgh South, the only Scottish constituency they hold (and will continue to hold). I actually think Tory gains will lead to a big chunk of North-East Scotland going blue, along with the whole of the borders region (which are pretty much universally accepted as going Tory). I think Ruth Davidson’s popularity will bring them about 10-15 gains in Scotland, regardless of what happens in England, and this will allow them to, in the unlikely but possible event of (significant) seat losses south of the border, offset such losses, and retain a reasonably comfortable majority.
My other minor difference is I think, given the strength of the Labour polling in Wales, they will balance out the 1 or 2 seats they do lose to the Tories by nicking them back off Plaid Cymru. It appears we are truly in for a return to two party politics in England, and this seems to be reinforcing the already entrenched support for both the main parties in the valleys and beyond. In fact, Plaid could be down to just one seat by the end of the evening, on what will be a tough night for nationalists given the corresponding losses for their nat kin in Scotland. Not that the two are readily comparable however – make no mistake, the SNP will still be by far the biggest party in Scotland, and should the Brexit negotiations continue as badly as they have been going so far – which seems inevitable with May at the helm – there is still a good chance, despite current polling on the issue, that Scotland could become an independent country within the next decade. But as far as Wales is concerned there just doesn’t seem to be the same thirst for independence; the value of unity, with all its downsides, is considered worth it in such a small and in places economically struggling, principality.
So while May will continue as Prime Minister with a small increase in her majority, Corbyn, despite technically ‘losing’ will go ahead stroger given the early predictions of a wipeout. So long as Labour stay above 200 seats he will claim, probably fairly, he has a mandate to continue. Taking into account both the few Labour gains here or there added to the new block of MPs replacing the old Blairites stepping down, Corbyn will go ahead strengthened, with a new vanguard of about 20 to add to the currently very small section of Corbynites currently within the PLP. My guess is the leadership will spend the next two years solidifying their reforms of the party and gearing up their chosen candidate to replace Corbyn to take the party into 2022. This will likely be any one the many young and promising female MPs who have taken their seats since 2015.
My personal highlight for the evening will be when Sheffield Hallam boot former Lib Dem leader and certified reptile Nick Clegg out of office. It will be one of few consolations in a night set to increase Tory seat share for an unprecedented fifth election in a row (2001,2005,2010,2015,2017). Theresa May, for some reason, is a popular leader, despite her cowardly ducking of television debates and having no clear and costed plan for the country during and after Brexit other than saying she is ‘strong and stable’ enough to get a good deal – or no deal at all, which would be an absolute catastrophe. For now, the public is buying into this message. I think most of all out of sheer apathy and exhaustion of argument they just feel like letting the politicians currently in power get on with it. While this is an understandable reaction to the political shitstorm of the past two years, I am deeply worried for the future – political, economic, and social – of my country. The beautiful way people have banded together in the wake of the awful events in Manchester and London (which, btw, will have no impact on the election result whatsoever), is the best of this country. We must show this kind of spirit over the next five years of cruel Tory government and the self-immolation that is hard Brexit, if those of us on the left and centre-left are to hold alive the dream of a Britain that is fairer, more progressive, more open, and more just, than the mess we find ourselves in now.