General election

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Pythagoras, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Is anybody else starting to get excited about the election? Can't wait for swingometer and all the other gadgets, and Peter Snow predicting the nations results off just the vote in Sunderland South (usually the first seat announced). Interesting to see how all the parties will try to claim they are doing well, despite what the results say.

    Only thing that's annoying me is that I live in a seat where 1 party has a thumping majority, so my vote is less important than someone who lives in a marginal.
  2. Big Twigge

    Big Twigge Active Member

    You can download a desktop Peter Snow avec swingometer - brilliant!
    I do like a good election fight and this year I'm doing tactical voting, have even done some research into this constituency. . .

    One thing that I do think is quite strange though, is that I seem to be on the electoral register here in Oxford and at home. Does that mean that I could have 2 votes if I travelled 125 miles? (I'm not going to, but I just think it's a little bizarre that's all). Also because I won't use my vote at home, does that mean that I'll be recorded as someone who didn't vote and add to the poor turn out statistics, although I will have voted here in Oxford?
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005
  3. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Have to say that I am too looking forward to next Thursday night, sitting up till the early hours watching the results.

    I am tempted not to vote during the day and leave it till the last minute, hoping somebody from one of the parties will call on me and offer to drive me to the polling station if I promise to vote for them! (Then of course probably vote for who I want)
  4. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    I'll not be staying up! As well as a 9am start the next day, I've got a contest on the saturday, so I can't be tired for that!
  5. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Similar for me too. Work at 08:30 Friday. Work Saturday, then contest Sunday, but thats what Red Bull + Pro Plus were invented for!!!
  6. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    I'll be counting on that tactic later on in the month for my finals though!
  7. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Did anyone see the Channel 4 programme made by Peter Oborne on Monday night along the lines of Why Politicians Cannot Tell the Truth? A very good programme and as was explained we might all have a vote but some votes are more important than others - 2% only will effect the outcome - that is those in the marginal seats.

    Further more it investigated the way data about peoples likely voting has dictated exactly how the parties have focused their manifestos and help them decide which areas to flood with door knockers to get the vote their way. Recently used in the USA presidential election and is beleived to have given Bush an additional 2% of the vote - enough to win then. They identified a typical supporter as church going, gun and dog owner - so targeted the churches, gun and dog clubs to find new voters.

    Another point was just how innocuous the manifesto promises actually are and that it's almost impossible to split the difference between the two or three main parties. Biggest issue has got to be who do you trust to actually carry out what they "promise". My opinion is that I wouldn't trust any of them - can anyone say that if you vote for so and so they are bound to follow through what they say they are going to do?

    The programme also identified that most young/younger people are apathetic to politics on the lines of "they never listen to us" but the reason they don't listen is because a large percentage of young voters don't vote. This election will be decided by the OAPs who all got a very nice additional fuel payment from that oh so nice Mr Brown. Wasn't the buying of votes made illegal? something to do with Rotten Boroughs,

    "Universal manhood suffrage was perhaps just a distant dream, but what people were groping toward was an end to the system of Rotten Boroughs, where the electorate could be bribed, and Pocket Boroughs, where seats were at the disposal of a patron or patrons"

    not much changed then instead of a Rotten Borough we have a Rotten Country.
  8. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I can't believe that only 2% of the votes matter. Don't the thousands of votes that the winning candidate matter, because without them they wouldn't have won? Do they majority of the votes the losing candidates get mean something as the winner knows over 1/2 the people didn't want him/her?
  9. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Total number of MPs is 659 and of these 100 have a majority of between 0.08 to 8.01% with numbers of votes in majority between 33 and 3880.

    There's bound to be a base line of seats that will never change say 559 leaves 15% of the total vote left to decide the outcome - with say 45,000 people voting in each constituent the numbers which can actually influence the result will be decided by an average of 2000 people in each area - 2000 x 100 = 200,000 / total voters 29,000,000 = 0.68%

    Votes against don't count in a first past the post system and neither do the people who don't vote so very few MPs could every claim they have a majority of the "voters" just a majority of those that "voted". Excluding postal votes of course which at 6,000,000 applications in this election they will have a significant outcome on the result.

    All a prospective winning party needs to do is locate undecided voters in a marginal constituent with a postal vote or two and it's in the bag.:sup
  10. Jamie

    Jamie Member

    My flatmate has had the same thing happen to her. We all received polling cards here in Notts(despite my wanting to vote at home where I'm not in a labour area!) but she's been sent one at home too. I called home to check if I'd got one, but hadn't... seems its just a lucky few of you!! To save you travelling home, you could arrange a postal vote, but technically you'd still have two votes. Can they do anything to you (fine, imprison, chop up into little pieces, etc etc) if you do decide to vote twice?! Surely not if it's their mistake?
  11. Owen S

    Owen S Member

    This idea has been around for a long time, and is one of the main points put forward by proponents of Proportional Representation. Essentially the argument goes like this: A large proportion of seats are safe, and swing voters will make no difference to the result. In the remaining swing seats a significant proportion of voters intentions will remain unchanged whatever. If you use take the total number of swing voters who live in swing seats and divide it by the total electorate, you get a very low number, though I suspect that to get as low as 2% requires including people who haven't registered to vote in the "total electorate" number.
    The targetting of swing voters is a natural consequence of living in a democracy, particularly one using the first-past-the-post system. In a democracy, you vote for the party that will give you what you want. Where the dividing line between "giving people what they want" and "purchasing votes" falls is pretty much entirely dependent on your political viewpoint. I would argue the only way that you can demonstrate "buying votes" definitively is either in cases of obvious short-termism or where different principles have been applied to similar situations where one example is part of a swing seat.
  12. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    That's one thing that bugs me... the main parties aren't talking about student issues because they know not enough of them will vote to make a difference. I'll try and encourage as many people around here as possible to vote, but the fact remains that our opinion is not high on the governments "giving a damn" list. Throughout the run up to this election it's felt like more of my money and potential future earnings is being taken from me and given to pensioners because the "baby-boom" generation also vote in huge numbers. I have nothing against pensioners in general, it's just the ones living in 4 bedroom houses alone, complaining about their council tax, that bug me...
  13. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    and why are they safe? Because a large number of people go out and vote for what they believe in...certainly all those people's votes matter!
  14. Owen S

    Owen S Member

    Very true, but while the argument that "only 2% of votes matter" is a gross exaggeration, it is true that swing voters in swing constituencies have an impact on the results of the election out of all proportion to their numbers.

    Of course, PR has several inherent problems of its own, and no party in power in a first-past-the-post system will change the consitution to their own disadvantage anyway...
  15. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    I accept that each indivuals vote is important but the majority of the votes cast do not effect the final outcome - taking the two main parties they will each have their own party members plus the dyed-in-the-wool voters who will never every change their voting position regardless of what their own prefered party does. These opposing votes effectively cancel each other out and the votes which really count are those giving the majority. That majority is not going to be from established voters but the floaters and those changing party allegiance.
  16. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Good point re money at the end of the day no matter which party gets in they are all making promises that they don't have to pay for - all these good intentions regarding hospitals, police, schools etc will be paid out of our taxes and the success of the businesses in the economy. How much Government legislation do you think actually enables or empowers businesses to make money?

Share This Page