So then, that General Election, eh? For the benefit of those of my half-dozen readers who don't live in the UK, the gag here is that we get to vote our Labour government back in to power so that it can carry on invading things, abolishing our civil liberties, and whatnot. In principle we could also elect the Conservatives, a party which hasn't been in power for eight years and also has a policy of invading things, abolishing our civil liberties, and whatnot; but that's not very likely. Venturing into the really hypothetical, there are also the Liberal Democrats, of course; but when they were last in power they too had a policy of invading things, abolishing our civil liberties, and whatnot. (To be fair, that was almost ninety years ago.)
Anyway, you people mostly come here expecting a graph, and I wouldn't like to disappoint you. Here's my estimate of the probable outcome of the election, based on recent opinion polls recorded on Anthony Wells's site:
The axes of the figure show the estimated fraction of the population intending to vote for each of the major parties; the white circle shows the current estimate from opinion polls. The coloured areas show the regions of the plot in which -- under the assumption of uniform national swing -- each of the corresponding major parties would win a majority in Parliament.
For those of you who like this sort of thing, I will keep a copy of this and a more conventional plot updated at http://election.beasts.org/ as the campaign goes on. (Many thanks to Anthony Wells and Martin Baxter for collecting and publishing the data which goes into those plots.)
Of course, given the futility of the electoral process, you might decide that you aren't going to vote at all. If so, well, you might want to consider using Not Apathetic to tell the world why. The world might not be listening, but you never know. Thanks very much to Matthew and Sam, the unpaid mySociety volunteers who did most of the work on that site.
Equally, if you aren't actually entitled to vote but want to get involved in all the fun, well, there's still time! Under the new system brought in by our glorious leaders, you can vote in our election; all you need to do is fill out a form, post it to any local authority, and they'll send you a handy postal ballot form which you too can use to re-elect New Labour. And if that's too complicated for you, on Tuesday The Times published a handy guide on how to cheat in an election; in case that link doesn't work for you, here's an extract:
- Forge applications for postal votes, ask for them to be diverted to bogus addresses and then fill in the ballot papers.
- Offer to collect completed postal ballots from voters homes. Open them, scribble out crosses for rival candidates and insert your own in their place.
- Bribe or threaten postmen to hand over postal ballots.
and the marvellous, Dickensian,