Sunday, 18 April 2010

Let's look for educated answers

Saturday's papers were full of the leadership debate and the poll that puts the Tories on 33%, Liberal Democrats on 30% and Labour on 28%. It seems that in a gerneral election this would translate to Labour having 276 MPs, the Tories 246 and Liberal Democrats 99. I am really pleased that we are talking in terms of these sorts of numbers but just spend a moment thinking about them. Labour have managed to get nearly three times the number of seats with a smaller percentage vote.

In 1974 Labour managed to win more seats with fewer votes than the Tories and this made headlines. This minor blip in our first-past-the-post system was seen as major problem but one which is unlikely to happen again. What happens all the time is that most MPs manage to hold on to their job without much effort. If they want to work hard that's good for their constituents but it is no great incentive if the MP happens to lose an election and is then given another job by the party.

My friend Jon Sopel on Friday's Campaign Show asked about mandates to govern. Was it up to the party with the highest number of seats of the party with the highest number of votes. According to him it is a simple question. It is as if you are taking a GCSE, but if you want a more considered reply then it is a complicated question. I am sure that this question could form part of a thesis. Later he asked if Tony Blair would have done better than Gordon Brown in the televised debate. Again, it is a simple question for GCSE. Jon confirmed the simplicity by telling the interviewees how simple it was. Well it is simple if you see no depth to the question. Do we really want our presenters to dumb down like this? In my previous blog on Jon (Monday 12th April) I was writing about his aggressive style. He wasn't as aggressive on Friday, so let's hope this continues and in the future lets hope he looks for educated answers.

Change the world

P.S. I wrote this yesterday morning and late last night I read that a new poll puts the Liberal Democrats on 32% and in first place. I am told this is the first time in living memory. I presume there were polls in the first few years of the twentieth century.

1 comment:

  1. What a shame the overall number of votes...across the country doesn't count...each constituency is considered separately. GS might be a good MP and effective...but we need to know about the others! My working class roots..and I still consider myself working class will not influence how I vote