Many Rivers to Cross

It’s quite entertaining at the moment to observe how so many organisations who seem to have taken a Conservative victory at the election for granted are getting the political narrative so wrong. I get invited every day to think tank and charity events with ‘keynote’ speeches from leading Tories, as if they’re already in Government. (No idea why they’re asking me, if Teresa May had anything interesting to say about poverty and welfare reform I’m sure I’d have heard her say it by now). And yesterday I saw an ad for a book, on something like ‘Where did it all go wrong for Gordon Brown?’ Well, don’t bank on that. Yes, we’ve been through tough times, but it’s still very much #gameon for Labour, and if I was a political hack I’d be assembling my thoughts on how the Tories managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, just to be on the safe side.

People tend to underestimate what a mountain the Tories have to climb to achieve even a simple majority at Westminster. Don’t forget – at the moment they have fewer MPs than Labour had after Michael Foot had led us into the 1983 General Election.

The Tories need to win 117 seats across the country to form a government. And that “across the country” is crucial. They can’t just rely on picking off Labour marginals in the South East. And increasing their majorities in the southern seats they already hold, won’t make any difference at all to their chances of forming a Government.

This is how the 117 seats the Tories need to win a majority break down on a regional basis.

London – 13 seats (10 Lab – 3 LD)
South East – 15 seats (12 Lab – 3 LD)
South West – 17 seats (11 LD – 6 Lab)
East – 8 seats (all Lab)
East Midlands – 10 seats (all Lab)
West Midlands – 16 seats (14 Lab – 1 Ind – 1 LD)
North West – 15 seats (13 Lab – 2 LD)
Yorkshire & Humberside – 12 seats (11 Lab – 1 LD)
North – 2 seats (1 Lab – 1 LD)
Wales – 5 seats (4 Lab – 1 LD)
Scotland – 4 seats (2 Lab – 2 SNP)

I can’t see them doing it.

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