Choosing Our Battles

This may shock and scandalise you to learn, but I am not a supporter of the Labour Party; neither am I a resident of England or Wales. However, if either those descriptions were true, I have my ideas about how best to achieve Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister – mostly, by replacing existing Conservative MPs with Labour MPs.

This should not be a difficult concept to grasp, should it?

There are 14 seats in England & Wales where less than 1,000 votes mean the difference between a Conservative MP and a Labour MP, and importantly, where Labour are in second place:

Southampton Itchen, South East: 31 majority, 0.03% swing to win

Pudsey, Yorkshire and the Humber: 331 majority, 0.31% swing to win

Hastings and Rye, South East: 346 majority, 0.32% swing to win

Chipping Barnet, London: 353 majority, 0.32% swing to win

Thurrock, East of England: 345 majority, 0.34% swing to win

Preseli Pembrokeshire, Wales: 314 majority, 0.37% swing to win

Calder Valley, Yorkshire and the Humber: 609 majority, 0.52% swing to win

Norwich North, East of England: 507 majority, 0.55% swing to win

Broxtowe, East Midlands: 863 majority, 0.78% swing to win

Stoke-on-Trent South, West Midlands: 663 majority, 0.80% swing to win

Telford, West Midlands: 720 majority, 0.81% swing to win

Bolton West, North West: 936 majority, 0.92% swing to win

Aberconwy, Wales: 635 majority, 0.99% swing to win

Northampton North, East Midlands: 807 majority, 1.00% swing to win

Furthermore, there are another 14 seats with Labour in second place which require less than a 2% swing to go from Conservative to Labour:

Hendon, London: 1,072 majority, 1.03% swing to win

Mansfield, East Midlands: 1,057 majority, 1.05% swing to win

Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East, North East: 1,020 majority, 1.07% swing to win

Milton Keynes South, South East: 1,725 majority, 1.34% swing to win

Northampton South, East Midlands: 1,159 majority, 1.41% swing to win

Pendle, North West: 1,279 majority, 1.43% swing to win

Milton Keynes North, South East: 1,915 majority, 1.50% swing to win

Morecambe and Lunesdale, North West: 1,399 majority, 1.53% swing to win

Finchley and Golders Green, London: 1,657 majority, 1.58% swing to win

Camborne and Redruth, South West: 1,577 majority, 1.63% swing to win

Putney, London: 1,554 majority, 1.66% swing to win

Harrow East, London: 1,757 majority, 1.73% swing to win

Watford, East of England: 2,092 majority, 1.78% swing to win

Copeland, North West: 1,695 majority, 1.97% swing to win

If we expand that to a 5% swing, we can add another 24 Conservative seats switching to Labour:

Morley and Outwood, Yorkshire and the Humber: 2,104 majority, 2.01% swing to win

Vale of Glamorgan, Wales: 2,190 majority, 2.04% swing to win

Corby, East Midlands: 2,690 majority, 2.24% swing to win

Swindon South, South West: 2,464 majority, 2.40% swing to win

Worcester, West Midlands: 2,490 majority, 2.42% swing to win

Crawley, South East: 2,457 majority, 2.44% swing to win

Blackpool North and Cleveleys, North West: 2,023 majority, 2.47% swing to win

Chingford and Woodford Green, London: 2,438 majority, 2.60% swing to win

Reading West, South East: 2,876 majority, 2.78% swing to win

Derbyshire North East, East Midlands: 2,861 majority, 2.84% swing to win

Carlisle, North West: 2,599 majority, 3.02% swing to win

Southport, North West: 2,914 majority, 3.04% swing to win

Rossendale and Darwen, North West: 3,216 majority, 3.21% swing to win

Truro and Falmouth, South West: 3,792 majority, 3.35% swing to win

Scarborough and Whitby, Yorkshire and the Humber: 3,435 majority, 3.40% swing to win

Walsall North, West Midlands: 2,601 majority, 3.41% swing to win

Stevenage, East of England: 3,384 majority, 3.43% swing to win

Carmarthen West and Pembrokeshire South, Wales: 3,110 majority, 3.68% swing to win

Loughborough, East Midlands: 4,269 majority, 3.94% swing to win

Cities of London and Westminster, London: 3,148 majority, 4.07% swing to win

Filton and Bradley Stoke, South West: 4,182 majority, 4.12% swing to win

Clwyd West, Wales: 3,437 majority, 4.23% swing to win

Shipley, Yorkshire and the Humber: 4,681 majority, 4.38% swing to win

Erewash, East Midlands: 4,534 majority, 4.55% swing to win

Worthing East and Shoreham, South East: 5,106 majority, 4.81% swing to win

Sherwood, East Midlands: 5,198 majority, 4.87% swing to win

Altogether, that’s 52 of the top 80 target seats for Labour on Election Polling: the remainder are currently held by SNP and Plaid Cymru, both of which are anti-austerity, left-wing, and ultimately anti-Tory parties.

There isn’t a single seat in Scotland where Labour and the Tories are in the top two spots. The Scottish Conservative seat closest to Labour’s grasp is Jim Murphy’s old stronghold of East Renfrewshire – and even then, it’s number 96 on the list, and only 2 more seats in Scotland appear in the top 150 at all:

Renfrewshire East, Scotland: 7,150 majority, 6.65% swing to win

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock, Scotland: 7,526 majority, 10.28% swing to win

Aberdeen South, Scotland: 9,603 majority, 10.91% swing to win

Now, as if it needs repeating, I’m neither a Labour supporter, nor do I live in England or Wales. However, I do like to think I’m a pragmatist. So, If I was a Labour supporter living in England or Wales, and I wanted to see Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister, I’d like to think I’d do everything in my power to make that happen, which necessitates preventing whoever ends up leader of the Conservatives parties from doing that. I’m sure I would want Labour to win even over anti-Tory parties, of course – but given the choice between winning a seat for Labour from a Tory seat or a non-Tory seat, I would hope I would take the obvious pragmatic choice. The vast majority of seats where that is a possibility are only in England & Wales.

If Labour choose to go after the 40 seats currently held by the SNP, Plaid Cymru, & Greens, then sure, Labour will gain another 40 seats – but that doesn’t make a dent in the Conservative vote. Conversely, if Labour concentrate on those Conservative-held areas, then they will be actively cutting into the UK Government seat share – and thus, increasing the net Anti-Tory vote. Right now, Labour have 262 seats, with the collective anti-Tory vote  (Labour, SNP, Plaid, Greens, & let’s just throw the former Coalition partner Lib Dems in for fun) is 314: the Tories themselves have a mere 317, and even with DUP backing only have 327. If Labour go for SNP, Plaid, Greens, & Lib Dems, and win every one of those seats, then guess what? We’re back at 314. But if Labour win even a fifth of the 52 most marginal Tory-held seats while holding on to what they have, then the Tories are thwarted – and if they win half of them, then they overtake them as the largest party. Win all 52 of the seats above, and you’d only need another 10 of the other 100 target seats to win an overall majority.

In 2015, the net anti-Tory seat share in Scotland was 57 (96.6%) – 56 SNP, 1 Labour. In 2017, it is now 42 (71.2%) -35 SNP, 7 Labour. Even if we include the 4 Lib Dems, that would bring us to 46 (78%) – even less than in 2010’s 47 (80%), of which no less than 41 were Labour. Ask yourself: if you had a choice, would you prefer Scotland’s seat share stayed as it is in 2015, or are those extra 6 seats worth another 12 for the Tories and just missing out on the possibility of Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn?

It’s your choice, Labour. You either go after the 30+ Scottish seats in your 150 target seats, in which case you increase your seats without actually hurting the Tories one iota: or you can focus on the 100+ held by our collective opponents in England & Wales, whose nominal status as the UK Government is already hanging by its fingernails. Let’s show them what a Coalition of Chaos can do.

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2 thoughts on “Choosing Our Battles

  1. Brian Powell says:

    The argument you put is correct but the way Labour are approaching it in Scotland, the bitterness, the vindictiveness, tell me they are not to fit to lead and would be little better at sorting out England than the Tories.

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