This is as it should be

Up to 30 Labour seats could disappear altogether, says Lord Hayward, an analyst widely regarded as an expert on the boundary review, while the rest will see their composition altered in some form.

Although the changes will also affect the Conservatives, Hayward, a Tory peer, said his analysis of demographics in the UK concluded that Labour is over-represented.

“The party that will suffer most is the Labour party because such a high proportion of their current seats are well below the required quota, particularly in Wales, the north-east and parts of the M62 corridor,” he said.

From memory we didn’t have the last boundary review, did we? Meaning that the long term departure from the inner cities, the Labour strongholds, hasn’t been taken account of. That is, far from this being gerrymandering, this is just catching up with population change?

39 thoughts on “This is as it should be”

  1. Labour have been kicking this can down the road for a while now, they must have always known at some point their advantage in this area was going to be taken away from them. But I expect all worries about this have been forgotten having seen themselves wiped out in Scotland and Corbyn in charge. Labour really are fucked, aren’t they? Heh.

  2. Bloke in Wiltshire

    Tim Newman,

    Yup. I really think it’s terminal. I think it’s been fatally wounded since the 90s and the fall of the Berlin Wall. You look at the New Labour people – they were all people who’d gone into politics before then who were attracted by socialism. They weren’t going to change career. So, they made the best of it.

    No-one sensible is attracted by socialism today. They aren’t going to do those years of knocking on doors and fighting unwinnable seats to spend a little more than the Tories.

    I can see a time in a decade or so when Labour is almost gone – UKIP being the Northern opposition, something like the Lib Dems being the Southern.

  3. The New Labour project was essentially an exercise in gerrymandering.

    Employ an extra million civil servants in cushy non-jobs and bring in a million-plus 3rd world peasants guaranteed to vote in favour of the party that enabled them to escape Goatfukistan. Plus the dodgy deal to rescue HBOS and then the state shore-up of Lloyds and RBS were intended to protect Scottish jobs and secure the Labour vote there.

  4. The thing is, that back in the grim days of the 50s, and possibly even 60s, socialists could claim with a straight face that socialism would improve the lot of the working poor (which was most of the working class at the time).

    Now that the working, and indeed non-working “poor” have what 50 years ago would have been relatively comfortable, petit-bourgeois existances, somebody knocking on the door promoting socialism is going to be received with laughter by anyone but the terminally loony – cos it’s basically “vote for us and we’ll put in place conditions that will make your lot worse”. And after the fall of the Wall, and the crisis in Venezuela, it’s very difficult to say “no, but it’ll be different this time”.

  5. “Yup. I really think it’s terminal.”

    I hope you’re right; but, as Adam Smith might have said, there’s a lot of ruination in a long-established political party.

    “I can see a time in a decade or so when Labour is almost gone – UKIP being the Northern opposition, something like the Lib Dems being the Southern.”

    Again, I hope so; but UKIP is a rabble without Farage, and the party could self-destruct.

  6. ‘(After) the crisis in Venezuela, it’s very difficult to say “no, but it’ll be different this time”.’

    To those whose socialism is of the-dream-will-never-die or the marxian inevitabilist varieties, it’s second nature to find excuses for every failure of socialism. My next door neighbour thinks Venezuela would have been a great success if only the oil price hadn’t fallen.

  7. The thing is, that back in the grim days of the 50s, and possibly even 60s, socialists could claim with a straight face that socialism would improve the lot of the working poor (which was most of the working class at the time).

    Yes, I think this nails it. European governments really did have a genuine fear that Communism could prevail in their countries because a lot of people really were poor and looking for an alternative (that Communism would have made things twenty times worse is irrelevant). Now the things which the voting classes complain about are ludicrously trivial in any historical context, and there simply aren’t the prevailing conditions which could bring about major change in how we’re governed. All that’s left is tinkering.

  8. The central problem for Labour is the Rod Liddle point in TW’s post a couple of days ago – it’s actually a bunch of numpties eating guacamole who love migration and CND. Even if Labour split, the reality is that none of them actually represent the “awful woman” from Rochdale – who is actually the base of their support in the North.

    Chuka Ummuna and Yvette represent a metropolitan elite who like migration and guacamole and would like to be in power

    Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell represent a metropolitan elite who like migration and CND and want a revolution.

    Even if the twats split, it will really be a fight for the metropolitan elite. Sooner of later someone will come along and replace them in the North and Wales.

  9. “His figures suggest that of the 50 seats that disappear, the Conservatives will lose between 10 to 15, which is 4.5% of their total. That could still prove to be a headache for May given that it is more MPs than the party’s majority.”

    What is the point of being able to do basic maths if you don’t understand what the numbers are telling you?

  10. abacab: …somebody knocking on the door promoting socialism is going to be received with laughter by anyone but the terminally loony.

    I wish I could be sanguine on this score but I fear that envy can be a very powerful motivator – enticing enough for the clarion of “equality” to resonate.

  11. I like guacamole, but not mushy peas. The seat of my reason is tilting on its axis.

    Like pea soup, though. Phew, all is right with the world.

  12. Unfortunately there’s a whole generation of young people for whom Communism is just an historical artefact. Anyone under 30 will have zero personal knowledge of what it meant. And thus when the usual suspects come knocking, and telling them that all their woes (which people always have, even though they are usually of the First World variety) are the fault of Evil Capitalism™ and socialism will usher in an era of rainbow unicorns and the like, the gullible ones tend to believe them. Hence the popularity among the young for Sanders and Corbyn. They have zero understanding of what those men represent, and think they’re just cuddly uncles whose wonderful ideas are being sidelined by ‘the Man’. Socialism really is a pernicious evil, because telling people they can have something for nothing will always get a hearing.

  13. Jim

    At the moment, the great hope for stupid people is the promise of a religious caliphate. Which is why the stupid young become jihadis. No room for stupid Marxism.

  14. The bloody system always lags behind population changes because, even when the buggers do act, they use backward-looking census returns instead of a sensible projection forward for a few years. Though I suppose that that more logical system would be too vulnerable to corruption. Anyway, could they also please repeal Blair’s racist gerrymandering of the postal vote?

  15. “Like pea soup, though.” Then you’d probably love the Adelaide delicacy, the “pie floater”. Whether it’s worth travelling ten thousand miles for is more doubtful.

  16. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    This review should actually have had a greater effect prior to the 2001 election. Labour spent huge sums on lawyers to challenge every boundary change that affected them directly.
    Blakr would still have been comfortably in power, but with the dramatic drop in turnout the Tory vote would have counted for more than it did.
    Now Labour is broke and run by numpties they aren’t in a position to fight the battle again.

  17. Theophrastus,

    “I hope you’re right; but, as Adam Smith might have said, there’s a lot of ruination in a long-established political party.”

    The simple test will be what happens after the next election. If Labour say “hey, maybe the Blairites were right and it’s very moderate politics or nothing”, vote for maybe Hilary Benn or Liz Kendall as next leader, they have a chance. But I don’t think that will happen. I think they’ll either say that Corbyn needs longer or blame the Blairites for divisions or say that maybe Corbyn wasn’t the right man and elect someone like McDonnell. If that happens, they will begin the purge of anyone in the centre, and that will be the death of the party.

    And it might not be UKIP exactly, but a party a bit like them that appears.

    The big thing will be that the LDs will take a lot of 2nd places in the south. I know they screwed things up, but people in southern places outside London aren’t going to give a loony like Corbyn their votes. If they don’t like the Cons, the next best option is the Lib Dems.

  18. @Surreptitious Evil wrote:

    “The last boundary review was killed by the ilLiberal unDemocrats because of their dismal failure to persuade people that what we needed was a crappy version of PR.”

    The Lib Dems actually torpedoed the boundary review as a direct result of the Tories scuppering the House of Lords Reform, not the outcome of the AV referendum. Clegg was very clear about this. You may also think this is wrong but it was not explicitly linked to electoral reform of the Commons.

    @MC wrote:

    “The New Labour project was essentially an exercise in gerrymandering.

    Employ an extra million civil servants in cushy non-jobs and bring in a million-plus 3rd world peasants guaranteed to vote in favour of the party that enabled them to escape Goatfukistan. Plus the dodgy deal to rescue HBOS and then the state shore-up of Lloyds and RBS were intended to protect Scottish jobs and secure the Labour vote there.”

    I won’t argue much with the first bit (although I think it’s overblown) but the second bit is somewhat off. Had the government not shored up HBOS, Lloyds and RBS the economy would have completely collapsed. Any government would have had to do it.

  19. It’s not really the inner cities that are depopulating – the constituency that has grown the most in electors since the last boundary review is Manchester Central (it’s up by nearly 30,000 electors, ie about 40%, since the 2001 figures that the 2003 boundaries are set on).

    The places that are depopulating mostly are the industrial towns – places like Oldham, Wigan, St. Helens, Barnsley, Rotherham, Sunderland, Middlesbrough or Hartlepool all have population drops; the proper cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield have growth in the centre and the outskirts and some have decline in a ring between the two (Manchester and Leeds have even reversed that – this is why they have overall population growth while other cities are more or less stable net).

    The Midlands has a slightly different dynamic from the North because a lot of places there are within commuter range of London.

  20. The places that are depopulating mostly are the industrial towns – places like Oldham, Wigan, St. Helens, Barnsley, Rotherham, Sunderland, Middlesbrough or Hartlepool all have population drop

    Can’t think why people are fleeing these idyllic townships…

  21. We did have the last boundary review, that was in 2005 and came into effect in the 2010 election. It resulted in Sheffield going down from 6 seats to 5.5 seats due to population changes. But Sheffield’s seats have always kept close to the quota so only gets affected by gradual demographic change in contrast to dozens of Labour seats that have been allowed to stay 20%+ under quota for decades.

    The biggest problem with the parliamentary reviews is the age of the data used. The 2000 electorate was used in the 2005 review for the 2010 election. Contrast with local reviews and the 2013 Sheffield council review used 2012 figures and 2018 forecasts and came into effect in the 2016 election.

  22. Bloke in North Dorset

    ” think they’ll either say that Corbyn needs longer or blame the Blairites for divisions or say that maybe Corbyn wasn’t the right man and elect someone like McDonnell. ”

    Don’t forget the old lefty standby of blaming the CIA.

  23. @ ukliberty
    Should we expect an unbiased analysis from the LSE?
    “Good question: and your next question is?”
    The article claims there is a saystematic bias *in favour of the Conservatives* because if Labour and Conservative votes had been equalised Conservatives would have won 301 seats and Labour 254, SDLP 3, SNP 56, Plaid Cymru 3, and UKIP 2, putting Miliband and Sturgeon in power with support from Plaid since Sinn Fein do not attend, although UKIP got more votes than all the miscellaneous left-wing parties combined. Even if you wiped out the excess of Conservative votes over Labour, the Coalition plus UKIP would have had more votes and fewer seats than the lefties. This is *a bias infavour of the Conservatives*? The other leg has bells on.

  24. but the second bit is somewhat off. Had the government not shored up HBOS, Lloyds and RBS the economy would have completely collapsed. Any government would have had to do it.

    Bollocks. They had to do it because they had shored up Northern Rock. RBS should have been allowed to go bust (and probably be taken over by Tesco Bank. Same worker bees, less deluded queens.)

    And I speak as somebody with what was once £100k worth of RBS shares …

  25. “Bollocks. They had to do it because they had shored up Northern Rock. RBS should have been allowed to go bust (and probably be taken over by Tesco Bank. Same worker bees, less deluded queens.)

    And I speak as somebody with what was once £100k worth of RBS shares …”

    I guess we can never be totally sure (unless it happens again) but in the febrile atmosphere of that time I am pretty convinced that if a major bank had been allowed to go bust that would have immediately led to widespread contagion and chaos.

  26. BiW
    I hope you are right, and I think you – probably – will be. But I suspect that there are a lot of unknown unknowns in the mix.

  27. Actually Northern Rock was not bust. Robert Peston caused a run on Northern Rock with a BBC programme but, provided that the Bank of England fulfilled its role as lender of last resort it wasn’t bust. Darling expropriated it and then hired an obscure accountant to justify doing so and he had to get up to all sorts of tricks to make nearly £2bn of net assets belonging to the shareholders disappear. One was charging NR for the fee that the Treasury paid Goldman Sachs to provide a report on NR, I can’t remember all of them but the big one was to assume that the BoE would fail to fulfill its statutory duty and so NR would have to make a fire sale of assets to repay all the savers (every single one) and take a haircut of 20% of the written-down value of its mortgage book.
    I do not have a good word to say for Applegarth and the numbers in the accounts contradicted the claims by the directors in the accompanying words but NR wasn’t actually bust.

  28. “Actually Northern Rock was not bust.” I used to laugh at that claim, but now I wouldn’t be surprised if you were right.

    Would it have survived the Bagehot treatment: lend it all it needed but at a punitive rate?

    Even if it hadn’t survived, could it have been treated on the good bank/bad bank model?

    Brown has got off awfully lightly for being (was he?) our worst Chancellor of the Exchequer ever.

  29. @MC, August 29, 2016 at 9:02 am

    “The New Labour project was essentially an exercise in gerrymandering.”

    +1

    @Mark Thompson, August 29, 2016 at 7:31 pm
    “I guess we can never be totally sure (unless it happens again) but in the febrile atmosphere of that time I am pretty convinced that if a major bank had been allowed to go bust that would have immediately led to widespread contagion and chaos.”

    +1

    Plus, solving the problem of all RBS & BoS banknotes in circulation becoming worthless pieces of paper.

    iirc in the crisis Branson’s Virgin something requested £10M deposited with BoS be paid to another bank. BoS were unable to make the payment.

  30. @dearieme, August 29, 2016 at 8:58 pm
    “Brown has got off awfully lightly for being (was he?) our worst Chancellor of the Exchequer ever.”

    He was in my living memory and Blair was complicit for not sacking him in 1998.

    However, Osbourne comes a photo-finish behind. Many of his policies were more socialist than Brown’s.

  31. I have discussed this directly with Matt Ridley. They would have survived Bagehot. Well, so he says at least. That the Granite bonds are still paying out, were sold at a profit, backs this up.

  32. Bloke in North Dorset

    “However, Osbourne comes a photo-finish behind. Many of his policies were more socialist than Brown’s.”

    I’ll give him the benefit of not being socialist, even Bagehot in the Economist praised his liberal ideas. His problem was that, like Brown he saw the budget as a way to stitch up the opposition and score leadership potential points rather than trying to juggle the country’s finances.

  33. @ dearieme
    I demanded, and got, a copy of the Accountant’s report (can’t find it just now, it’s not in the pile I thought it was). I suppose that Darling had assumed he would be able to write down NR’s assets by provisions for bad debts on mortgages that turned dodgy, but there was still getting on for £2bn of shareholders’ funds left so he had to be “creative”.
    re Bagehot – if the BoE was seen to be standing behind NR then most of depositors funds would have stayed so the cost of BoE funds at Bank Rate would have been manageable (no dividends for two or three or four years until they paid back the expensive debt and rebuilt reserves).

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