Spot the problem

From the Conservative manifesto:


I understand that it’s traditional in political maps to remove adjacent countries so as not to confuse people (and that it’s traditional in English maps to forget about anything north of Caithness) but… replacing France and Ireland with the sea was perhaps not the most tactful idea.

On the other hand, perhaps hinting at a policy of submerging all the foreigners was deliberate – it is the Conservative manifesto, after all…

Edited to add: there’s a second map. This one is marginally less ludicrous – there’s no attempt at sea, so removing Ireland looks reasonable. The Western Isles have appeared – though still no Orkney and Shetland – but, somewhat strangely, so has the Isle of Man.


So, the geopolitical lessons we can take away from the manifesto? France and Ireland: submerged. Offshore parts of Scotland: may or may not exist. Isle of Man: apparently now annexed into the UK. Disappointingly, neither of the other major parties includes maps in their manifestoes.

York constituencies, continued

In the comments on the previous post, cim notes:

It’s interesting that most ways of splitting the local authority into two seats by drawing an approximate straight line along ward boundaries give either LD+LD or LD+Con (the latter being the D’Hondt allocation), whereas this particular method gives Lab+LD or Lab+Con.

It’s better than what goes on in US redistricting, but it still highlights the need for PR over 5-6 seat constituencies so that the exact boundary lines make less difference.

So, let’s see what happens using the full set of eight North Yorks seats.

2005: Five Conservative, one LD, two Labour. Of those, only Scarborough (Con 2.5% over Lab) & Selby (Lab 1% over Con) could really be called a marginal. Total four solid and one marginal Conservative, one solid LD, one solid and one marginal Labour.

Notional 2005 after changes: York Central Labour, York Outer LD by a tiny margin (.4%) over Con. Selby & Scarborough remain marginals, but Selby is now marginal Con with Labour second (4.5%). Otherwise comfortably blue; so three solid and two marginal Conservative, one solid Labour, one solid and one intensely marginal LD.

What would PR give us?

Total votes cast in the region, 379,135, of which 165,550 (43.7%) Conservative, 105,858 Labour (27.9%), 93,828 Liberal Democrat (24.75%), 13,899 everyone else (3.7%). Eight seats, so… probably four Conservative, two Labour, two Liberal Democrat.

Both constituency systems favour the Conservatives over this. The 2005 system leaves them with a good chance at five (1% up) or six (3%) and safe on four even if losing five points; the 2010 system makes it even easier to grab the sixth seat, just needing a fraction of a point, but a loss of five points would reduce them to three, with three Labour and two LD. The net result is more favourable to the Conservatives than it deserves, but also more volatile and sensitive to the shifting electorate, which is quite interesting. I suppose part of the point is to have fewer safe seats.

Odd constituencies

Things I did not know until two minutes ago: the newly created York Outer constituency is circular, entirely surrounding the York Central seat:

([source]. There’s a more detailed map here, for those wondering how the ward boundaries work out)

Intriguing. The net result is one safe Labour seat and one probable Liberal-Tory marginal; I wonder what would have happened with an east-west or north-south split.

Election timetables

This is an interesting little document.

If the election is called tomorrow morning for 6 May – which, finally, it looks like it will be – then this lays out the notional timetable of significant events during the next month.

  • 20 April – last day to register to vote or request a postal vote; also, the last day to nominate yourself as a candidate.
  • 27 April – last day to apply for a proxy vote
  • …unless you get knocked down walking to the polling station in the morning; you can apply for an emergency proxy vote for medical reasons as late as 5pm on polling day

For the local elections, the deadlines are the same; 20 April to get on the register or get a postal vote, 27 April for proxy requests, and polling on 6 May.

Go forth and register!