After writing a tactical analysis of the North West looking at the upcoming European elections (The BNP and the tactical battle for the North West) a number of readers have asked what I think might happen in their region. The most popular request came from readers from the East of England. So here it is, a tactical breakdown of the East of England ahead of May’s European elections.
What can I say, I aim to please!
In 2009 the fine people in the East of England elected 3 Conservative MEPs, 2 UKIP, 1 Lib Dem and one 1 Labour. As with many regions across the UK, The Green Party missed out by just a handful of votes.
Looking ahead to the May 2014 elections, I think it is safe to allocate 5 of the 7 seats. The battle is going to be for the remaining 2.
Although I expect the Tories to drop votes (around a 5% drop) I cannot see them securing less than 2 seats. Equally, I cannot see UKIP’s vote share getting smaller and so I am sure they will return at least 2 MEPs.The same logic is applied to Labour who will return 1 MEP.
The big question for the East then is which party will pick up these remaining two seats?
I am relatively confident that The Green Party will pick up 1 of the remaining 2 seats. Why am I so confident?
Well, Labour (who are expected to do well in the backlash to the coalition) would need to double the Green vote to secure a second seat. In 2009 they picked up 167,000 votes while The Green Party picked up 141,000. Assuming Greens have a bad day (it is assumed by most they will marginally increase their vote) and don’t secure a single additional voter, Labour would need to pick up an additional 113,000 votes to gain that extra seat before The Green Party.
The same logic can be applied to both UKIP and Conservatives – will they secure 3 times the vote count of The Green Party to pick up an additional seat? It seems hard to imagine.
A vote for either Labour or UKIP then is likely to be a wasted vote leaving them stranded well short of the benchmark needed to secure an additional seat.
Assuming The Greens vote holds or grows marginally then, it seems likely they will pick up their first MEP for the region (this would be Rupert Read who tops their list of candidates).
But what about the final seat?
The final seat is much harder to call. It essentially depends which of the coalition partners loses the most votes? On election night the figure to look out for in the East is whether or not the Conservatives triple the Lib Dem count. This may well dictate where the final seat goes.
- Labour – hold very little chance of gaining a seat in the East, but equally their 1 seat looks pretty safe (which I am pleased about as Richard Howitt is in general a good egg).
- Conservatives – are expected to lose some votes. I personally can’t see them losing more than one seat but some commentators are talking about them dropping to one (with the majority of votes flooding to UKIP).
- UKIP – are, like with most regions, set for a good night in the East but my money is on them missing out on a third seat by some way.
- The Green Party – have a very good chance of picking up their first seat in the East. It would take a very small increase in vote share, or a small decrease in Conservative vote share, to finish 4th and secure their first MEP for the region.
- Lib Dems – as with many regions are going to be fighting tooth and nail to save their one MEP. The sink or swim question though might be not how good Lib Dems are at bailing water from their boats, but how big their holes are compared to the Tories sinking ship!
My advice then is as follows:
- If you’re considering a Labour vote – lend your vote to The Green Party instead.
- If you’re a traditional Tory voter – vote Blue to limit the damage.
- If you’re a traditional Lib Dems voter – vote Yellow and consider a prayer.
- If you’re a traditional UKIP voter – vote for other parties on their policies that matter to you. Want a referendum? Vote Green. Want to chuck immigrants out, vote Tory etc etc…
- If you’re traditional Green voter – vote Green to make sure you don’t just miss out like 2009.
The 2009 results can be seen here.