As promised, now the ‘real’ election results are in here is a brief eight point comparison of the Ardingly College election results compared with the national and local picture.
- The Government
In our world Luca Demetriadi’ s route to Number 10 was very smooth, with a 66% share of the votes cast his landslide victory ensured that the Greens can govern alone, and in our imaginary parliament Luca would have no problem passing his Queen’s speech later this month. In the real election the outcome is more complicated as the electorate have returned a ‘hung parliament’ this means that no party has an overall majority, so although the Conservatives are the biggest party nationally with 318/650 seats they fall short of the 326 required to have a majority.
- The Greens
The Green surge that we witnessed at Ardingly was not replicated nationally as the Green share of the vote fell by 2.1% to 1.6%. However, Caroline Lucas’ own majority in Brighton Pavilion increased by 10.4% as she was returned to Parliament for the third time.
Compared to 2015 Charlie Amos’ UKIP party was reversed at Ardingly. This trend was mirrored nationally with UKIP’s share of the vote collapsing to only 1.8%, this was a 10.8% reduction on their performance in 2015. UKIP represent a common problem for minor parties- namely that their ideas are appropriated by the major parties if they look to be electorally successful, removing the original reason why people wanted to vote for the minor party in the first place. In the case of UKIP this is what has happened with Brexit, we had the referendum, we (well the national electorate- obviously not the Ardingly electorate!) voted to leave and both Labour and the Conservatives were offering Brexit in their 2017 manifestos, therefore removing the rationale for many UKIP voters. This has prompted the resignation of UKIP leader Paul Nuttall this morning.
- The demise of the ‘Big Beasts’
Both the Ardingly election and the national election saw some major political figures lose their seats. In Ardingly, the former UKIP strong hold of Rhodes was lost by long term party leader Charlie Amos, this trend was mirrored as former Deputy PM Nick Clegg, Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and the SNP leader at Westminster Angus Robertson all lost their seats, in 2017’s equivalent to the 1997 ‘Portillo Moment’. However one Big Beast returned to the Parliamentary fold as former Lib Dem minister Vince Cable was returned to Parliament.
We noted yesterday that our own election results were not proportional with the Green’s converting under 50% of the vote into 2/3 of the seats won, while the Conservatives were unable to convert their 15% of the vote into any seats. That lack of proportionality was also evident in the Westminster result.
When looking at minor parties in British politics, it is always worth noting what a proportional share of the seats would be. In the case of the Greens 1.6% of the seats would equate to 10 MPs if MPs were allocated in proportion to votes cast. Some minor parties nationally can circumvent this by concentrating their vote- for example the SNP (who only field candidates in Scotland, hence they were not a feature of our mock election) secured 35 MPs on 3.0% of the vote. A fair allocation for 3% would be 19 MPs.
- Electoral Pacts
The Ardingly campaign saw an electoral pact formed between the Conservatives and UKIP, with decisions being taken not to stand candidates in certain seats by each party to prevent the right wing vote being split. Although this pact was unsuccessful and neither party secured a seat, it did reflect the kind of pre- election machinations going on in the ‘real world’, although the Progressive Alliance requested by the Greens did not materialise on a nationwide scale, in individual seats this sort of decision making did make a difference. For example in Brighton Kemptown the Greens decided not to field a candidate (they had polled 7% of the vote and came fourth in 2015) to aid Labour’s efforts to unseat sitting Conservative MP Simon Kirby, this contributed to the 19% swing in favour of Labour and the defeat of the Conservative candidate.
Comparing our election results to the result in the Parliamentary constituency of Horsham (the real life constituency in which the college is located) shows a start difference. Jeremy Quin the Conservative MP was returned with an increased majority (+2.2%) and a 24000 vote advantage over the second places Labour candidate.
- Young Voters
This is not something we can compare outright as all our voters were young, but it is interesting to note that your engagement with Politics is being mirrored by those slightly older than you. Several of the newspapers are commenting on a ‘youthquake’ pushing the Labour campaign. The NUS has suggested that as many as 72% of 16-24 year olds voted, if this is the case (and the official figures wont be out until next week) this shows a massive generational shift in how politics operates and proves that young voters cannot be ignored on the assumption they will not vote.
I hope that you have enjoyed the coverage of both our mock election and the general election nationally, it may well be that there is another election before too long, so this could just be one instalment of a bigger political saga.