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General Election prediction

Following my highly acclaimed* and wildly popular** predictions of Eurovision results, I offer my l33t sybilline skilz to the 2010 General Election tomorrow. All free of charge***:

The Conservatives will scrape a majority.

This is based on the principles that both the Liberal Democrat and Labour support will ebb away just enough and that David Cameron’s eyebrows have done a good job of looking serious while he says the word “values”**** a lot over the last week or so.

This is not to say that I hope it will happen. I hope the following happens, which is a little more complicated:

A hung Parliament with Labour the 2nd largest party: Labour form a government with the Liberal Democrats at least just long enough to enact proportional representation so that, whenever the coalition collapses (as it very shortly will, especially if Labour have to go through the rigmarole of appointing a new leader, which is likely as a condition of coalition in the first place) the Liberal Democrats have a serious shot at power in the next election or at least of heavily outflanking the Conservatives in a future coalition.

I think the Liberal Democrats would be foolish to enter a coalition with the Conservatives as they won’t get proportional representation with them, and they will then recede back into obscurity once the effect of the first TV debate fades and David Cameron’s eyebrows become yet more serious. Some of the implications of a Liberal/Conservative coalition are also quite dangerous. The Liberal Democrats, for instance, favour a referendum on membership of the European Union rather than, say, just membership of the Eurozone or closer integration. I don’t think membership of the EU is something that is even an issue anymore. Although they put a positive slant on it

Liberal Democrats have argued for a referendum on whether Britain stays in or leaves the EU. We are the only party confident enough to put the pro-European case to the British people on the big issue facing us – and let the people decide. Britain will only win the case for a flexible, democratic Europe in Brussels if we settle our arguments at home on whether we should be part of the EU or not.

…I fear what could happen in straightened times and in concert with a Conservative government. I am not as confident as the Liberal Democrats.

Anyway, this is by the by. More importantly, William Hill are running a book. As I write, the predictions are:

  • No overall winner: 4/7
  • Conservative majority: 6/4
  • Labour majority: 16/1

Interestingly, William Hill are also offering odds for the individual constituencies. For Bedfordshire North East the odds are:

  • Conservative: 1/500
  • Labour: 33/1
  • Liberal Democrat: 33/1

Normally, you’d say you’d bet your house on the Conservatives winning this one, but for 1/500 it’s hardly worth the hassle. No prices for UKIP or the BNP I see.

* I did correctly predict the 2007 result.

** Perhaps not.

*** I.e. not for prophet.

**** Sounds a lot like the equally meaningless and equally riding-for-a-fall mantra “back to basics” that John Major had introduced following his affair with Edwina Currie.

General Election candidates in North East Bedfordshire

The five candidates so far for the North East constituency are the following. So far no Greens or independents that I know of:

Alistair Burt (Conservative), the sitting MP since 2001:
Website: http://www.alistair-burt.co.uk/
Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alistair_Burt
Lives: Wootton, Bedfordshire (in Mid Bedfordshire constituency)
Qualified solicitor, and executive recruitment consultant (Presumably all former positions as currently lists no other paid jobs in his declaration of interests on his website)
Photo (from Flickr user Nick Treby): http://www.flickr.com/photos/biggleswadeblue/4538025641/

Ed Brown (Labour)
Website: http://www.edbrown4nebedslabour.co.uk/
Lives: North London? (The biography on his website implies he lives in North London: “Ed is also active in local labour party [sic] activities in North London and is a school governor at Brecknock primary school in Camden.”)
Barrister
Photo (from Flickr user Nick Treby): http://www.flickr.com/photos/biggleswadeblue/4538039563/

Mike Pitt (Liberal Democrat)
Website: http://www.mike4nebeds.org/
Lives: Cambridge? (The biography on his website implies that he lives in Cambridge as he is a city councillor there: “He has experience as a Councillor in Cambridge, where he is portfolio holder with responsibility for Environmental and Waste Services on Cambridge City Council.”
Maths teacher
Photo (from Flickr user Nick Treby): http://www.flickr.com/photos/biggleswadeblue/4538017379/

Brian Capell (United Kingdom Independence Party)
Website: No website afaik but some information from a Bedford Today article.
Lives: Wymington, Bedfordshire (in North East Bedfordshire constituency)
Retired financial advisor and ex-headteacher
Photo (from Flickr user Nick Treby): http://www.flickr.com/photos/biggleswadeblue/4538032291/

Ian Seeby (British National Party)
Website: http://easternregioninformation.blogspot.com/2010/04/ian-seeby-ppc-north-east-bedfordshire.html
Lives: Broxbourne, Hertfordshire (“but does occasionally visit Biggleswade with a friend” lol)
Unemployed groundsman
Photo (from BNP Eastern Region website): http://easternregioninformation.blogspot.com/2010/04/ian-seeby-ppc-north-east-bedfordshire.html

Interestingly, only the UKIP candidate lives in the constituency. Even the sitting MP lives just outside it. I would have thought too that the BNP’s attitude to immigration would extend to local matters and that a truly local candidate could be found. At least he visits Biggleswade with a friend. The Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates seem a little shy about where they live on their websites. The Lib Dem person will at least have watched some of the same local news on the telly as I have, with his Cambridge links, which is more than can be said of the metropolitan Labour candidate.

General information on the North East Bedfordshire constituency is available from the following sites:

UK Polling Report: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/guide/seat-profiles/bedfordshirenortheast
BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/election2010/results/constituency/d15.stm
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedfordshire_North_East
YourNextMP: http://www.yournextmp.com/seats/north_east_bedfordshire

Some local campaign leaflets are available from TheStraightChoice.org. I should really contribute to this.

Corruption in Bedfordshire elections?

I don’t think the Bedfordshire on Sunday quite meant what they wrote when they published the following paragraph about the upcoming Central Bedfordshire local elections (my emphasis):

The runners and riders for June 4 Central Bedfordshire Council elections have been announced and all potential councillors are being offered the opportunity to sell themsleves [sic] to voters on the internet.

I wonder if it would be an eBay-style format. That would indeed be a scandal to put the expenses controversy to shame.