Our electoral system is weird, at best. It is, ostensibly, simple: the candidate with the most votes in their constituency wins the seat. Easy. Except that there is no easy correlation between the number of votes that a given party gets, nationally, with the number of seats they get in the Commons.
Just ask UKIP.
In the 2015 election, they got 3,881,099 votes (12.6% nationally), and secured exactly zero MPs. The SNP, meanwhile, got 1,454,136 votes (4.7% nationally) and, basically, swept up the whole of Scotland, returning 56 MPs to Parliament. The LibDems, meanwhile, got nearly twice as many votes as the SNP but only 8 MPs.
It’s a completely broken system.
On the other hand, it does massively favour the two main parties, so neither of them has any motivation whatsoever to change the rules.
Most opinion polls in this fair land aim to give an approximate idea of the voting intention, nationally and, as such, are a very very poor predictor of the shape of the resulting parliament. YouGov do attempt to predict the parliament, however, by trying to model their polling data on a constituency-by-constituency basis, and their latest poll shows the Blue Party in some difficulty. I do not dare to get my hopes up, though, lest I find myself dining on Paddy Ashdown’s hat.
I do, however, continue to despair. After 7 years of Conservative-led governments that have cut the pay of public sector workers (most notably nurses), killed off the nursing bursary that helps student nurses with living costs whilst they train, slashed police numbers, outsourced healthcare, screwed over disabled people, handed schools over to private companies, insulted doctors, spied on our online lives and, in many other ways, slashed and burned much of the infrastructure we need to be a decent, civilised society, whilst laying the blame on immigrants, refugees and Jeremy Corbyn, the Tories are still ahead in the polls.
They behave like narcissistic, abusive parents, taking what we have, tweaking taxation to favour the richest and actively harm the poorest yet, like abused children willing to take anything in exchange for the tiniest hope that, maybe this time, the abusive parent will give a hug, a smile or even the simplest acknowledgement that we exist.
I hold scant hope that the Tories will get the bloody nose that they so richly desire and, in our turn, we will get the society we deserve: one where only the richest thrive, receive healthcare, live in secure communities and expect dignity in infirmity.
Please, UK, surprise me on Thursday.