Monthly Archives: June 2017

“My prediction for this election is a historic defeat for Labour. Would not be surprised if it is their worst since the Second World War.”

Right. Today’s post is about politics. It is also an opportunity for you to enjoy me having got something wrong. The title of this post is a prediction I made on 18th April, the day Theresa May called a general election, before she put in one of the worst ever Conservative campaigns, and Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour team ran an admirable and effective political campaign.

“My prediction for this election is a historic defeat for Labour. Would not be surprised if it is their worst since the Second World War.”

Lets do a comparison to see how wrong this was.

Here’s what Labour got in 2017:

Labour Seats: 262
Conservative Seats: 317

v218-jeremy-corbyn-get-v2

I find myself strangely attracted to him.

And here are all of Labour’s defeats since the Second World War:

1951

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 295
Conservative seats: 321

Both Labour and the Conservatives won fewer seats last week than in 1951, so one could argue this either way. It was a Conservative majority but Labour were much closer to being able to win next time. Not conclusive.

1955

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 277
Conservative seats: 345

Both Labour and the Conservatives did worse last week than in 1955, so one could still plausibly argue this either way. But the Conservatives had a big majority of 60 in 1955, and the only other party with any representation then was the Liberals, with 6 seats. On purely Labour Vs. Conservative terms, Corbyn did better last week than Attlee did in 1955.

clement_attlee

Clement Attlee looking pensive.

1959

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 258
Conservative seats: 345

Corbyn had a better defeat last week than Gaitskell did in 1959. Unambiguous. Labour’s 1959 defeat was followed by Labour winning in 1964.

1970

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 288
Conservative seats: 330

Like 1951, one could argue this either way, as both both Labour and the Conservatives won fewer seats last week than in 1970. Interestingly, 1970 had Labour 12.4% ahead of the Conservatives in opinion polls, before the Conservatives won by 3.2%. A precedent for the late swings we have seen in the election of Trump and in the Brexit vote perhaps? Labour then won twice in 1974.

1979

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 269
Conservative seats: 339

Gosh there are a lot of Labour defeats aren’t there? Going through past elections is a healthy reminder that Labour governments have historically been a rare exception to Conservative rule, not a regular equal occurrence.

Although Labour won fewer seats last week than in 1979, I would still argue Labour had a better defeat last week. Corbyn had to contend with far more minor parties than Callaghan did, and on purely Labour Vs. Conservatives, he did better.

p01wzvc3

Sorry Jim.

1983

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 209
Conservative seats: 397

Labour undeniably did better last week than in 1983.

1987

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 229
Conservative seats: 376

Labour undeniably did better last week than in 1987.

1992

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 271
Conservative seats: 336

One could argue this either way, as both Labour and the Conservatives won fewer seats last week than in 1992. This was followed by 13 glorious years of uninterrupted Labour rule. (We can have a discussion about just how glorious this was elsewhere.)

wa574527

He was the future once.

2010

Conservative largest party, formed coalition with Lib Dems

Labour seats: 258
Conservative seats: 306

One could argue this either way, as both Labour and the Conservatives won more seats last week than in 2010.

2015

Conservative majority

Labour seats: 232
Conservative seats: 330

Corbyn’s defeat last week was unambiguously better than Milliband’s defeat in 2015.

ed-miliband-3

Yet still my love for this man knows no bounds.

So how did my prediction fare? Not well. This election was a defeat for Labour, but one of their better defeats since World War Two. One could argue just how good a defeat it was, but it was in the top half. Well done Labour, you lost, but you lost better than usual!

I will follow up soon with an investigation into why things didn’t go as I predicted and what can be learned from this. If you have any thoughts, questions or criticisms, let me know.

Advertisements