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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Chwarae Teg!

Fair play to Nick Barlow for drawing our attention to this article in the Independent reporting the thoughts of Professor John Curtice on Tony Blair's ludicrous statement that a vote for the Liberal Democrats will elect a Conservative Government. It is worth quoting extensively from the piece:

Labour's attempts to warn its wavering supporters that a vote for the Liberal Democrats could allow Michael Howard into No. 10 "by the back door" was undermined yesterday in a detailed study carried out for The Independent. The study found that a swing of 11.5 per cent from Labour voters to the Liberal Democrats could deprive Mr Blair of his overall Commons majority but it would be virtually impossible for such defections - at even twice that rate - to let in the Conservatives to form a government.

So far, so authorative:

Mr Blair led the co-ordinated campaign and it became a recurrent theme on many of the Labour campaign spots. However, the "Lab-to-Lib Dem swingometer" Professor Curtice devised shows that, even if there is a 9 per cent swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats, Labour would still have an overall majority of 48.

Even with a massive 15 per cent swing, Labour would still be the largest party in a hung parliament with 50 more seats than the Tories. Those figures are based on the Tories doing no better than the 33 per cent share of the vote they won in 2001, which is also in line with their current opinion poll rating.

Even if the Tories improve their showing and win 36 per cent of the votes next Thursday - a three-percentage point rise at Labour's expense - and there were a 9 per cent swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats over and above that, Labour would be the largest party in a hung parliament with 43 seats more than the Tories. The "Lab- to-Lib Dem" swing would have to be a huge 15 per cent before the Tories became the largest party - but they would be outnumbered by the combined forces of the other two parties.

The study found that the Tories come nowhere near to passing the winning post of 324 seats they would need to form a government. Crucially, if enough people switched from Labour to the Liberal Democrats, Mr Kennedy's party would start to win seats instead of the Tories -so the result would be a hung parliament rather than a Tory government.

In those circumstances, according to senior Labour and Liberal Democrat figures, the most likely outcome would be a deal between the two parties to keep the Tories out.

Professor Curtice, however, covers all the bases:

He also rejected another claim by Labour - that if only one in 50 Labour voters in 80 marginal seats back the Liberal Democrats or abstain, there would be a Conservative government.
Professor Curtice replied: "If Labour lose 80 seats, then Tony Blair does indeed lose his majority with just 323 seats. But 80 extra Conservative seats leaves Michael Howard with just 245 seats, still 79 short of a majority.

"It is inconceivable that Michael Howard would be able to form a government in such circumstances. Labour's message seems to confuse the possibility of their own 'defeat' with a 'victory' for Mr Howard."
Absolutely - really pleased with the front page coverage of this today. Anyone who is still unconvinced should visit the BBC website, where a 'swingometer' is avilable that you can drive yourself. There is no swing of any size from Labour to Lib Dem which would let Howard form a government. Labour are telling bare-faced lies on this one, they need a big majority when they have so much dissension amongst their own backbenchers, and that is who they are most afraid of.
Yet another case of lies and deceit from the Labour ranks
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