Over the last few days I have been going through every single parliamentary seat with the aim of trying to predict which party will win it at the next election. As you can imagine, it has been quite a task. Why have I done this? For one reason - that I do not believe in national swings, or to be honest, even regional swings. The days of uniform swings have gone and for that reason, it is difficult to put much faith in the predictions of national opinion polls.
I have always thought that there will be some very odd results at the next election. Labour will retain some seats with comparatively small majorities, and they will lose some seats with quite large majorities. You cannot possibly predict LibDem seats without treating each seat as an individual entity. So, here's what I have come up with.
Plaid Cymru 5
Northern Ireland 18*
This gives the Conservatives a majority of just twelve seats. Labour are back to their 1983 showing, but it is the LibDem seat haul which has surprised me. I didn't think they would lose as many seats as many other pundits appear to think, but I am surprised that, by my calculation, they will actually have a small net gain of seven seats. Here are how the seats change hands from 2005...
- LibDems lose 9 seats to the Conservatives and 1 to Plaid Cymru
- Conservatives lose 2 seats to the LibDems but none to any other party
- Labour loses 112 seats to the Conservatives, 15 seats to the LibDems, 2 seats to Plaid Cymru, 1 seat to the SNP and 1 seat to the Greens
- Respect loses 1 seat to Labour
- SNP loses two seats to the Conservatives
Additionally, I predict the Conservatives will win a total of 9 seats in Wales and 4 seats in Scotland. The LibDems will win 15 seats in Scotland, but only 3 seats in Wales.
The main surprise outside England is that I can only see the SNP winning 7 seats - exactly the same as they currently have. If you look at the size of the Labour majorities they would have to overturn you can see the task ahead of them. I readily admit that my knowledge of Scottish seats is not the same as my knowledge of English seats, but I'd love to know where Alex Salmond thinks his target of 20 is to come from. I just can't see it. Indeed, I think they will lose a couple of seats to the Tories, which are then compensated by 2 gains from Labour.
I have done a spreadsheet containing predictions for each seat, but at this stage I am not going to list each seat's prediction on here. I might do that nearer the election, although to be honest I don't want to upset a number of friends of mine who are Tory candidates by publicly predicting they might not make it!
* Apologies for not predicting anything for Northern Ireland. I do not know enough to predict anything meaningful.