Nice little article by Julian Glover in the Guardian yesterday outlining the 2 occasions since 1945 when the party with the most votes has not secured the most seats in the UK general election.
This could quite easily happen on May 6th. The current system is heavily biased against the Tories - playing with the Guardian swingometer, a uniform swing of as much as 4.5% from Labour to Conservative would still leave Labour as the largest party. That would equate to Labour on 31% with the Tories on about 38%.
Seven points down and still coming out on top in numbers of seats? That's an insane electoral system for sure. It makes George W Bush's US election steal of 2000 look positively innocent.
Moreoever, Labour could be three percentage points behind the Tories and still win an overall majority - just about.
Suppose that Labour does win despite being well down in the popular vote. What will the Tories do? They could just grin and bear it - wait for Labour to implode in office, like John Major's Tories did in 1992. But it's just possible that some of these Tory guys and gals won't take it lying down.
Yes, kids, we could be faced with armed uprisings on the streets for the first time in recent (mainland) UK history. We're familiar with stuff like this from Northern Ireland. But what about if it was North London?
The sad fact is: a Conservative, or other disaffected right winger, taking up arms in the event of a Labour "victory" would HAVE A POINT. Even though I'd personally prefer a Labour govt to a Tory govt, it can't be right to have a majority government by a party that gets millions of votes LESS than another party. It's ludicrous. So by all means, if you're a pissed off Tory voter - maybe check out your weapons stash.
In short, armed uprisings by disaffected Conservatives might be one way - albeit a messy one - of getting a change in the f***ing daft electoral system (although of course Cameron has pledged to keep it with only minor changes). I will be monitoring right-wing blogs (discreetly) throughout the campaign for evidence of militia group activity and will report back from time to time.
A much better way of getting change in the electoral system would be to vote tactically to ensure that Labour does NOT get an overall majority but can reach a majority with Liberal Democrat support. As long as Clegg does not cock it up like David Steel did in 1977 and go into coalition with Labour WITHOUT demanding proportional representation as a precondition, we CAN get real electoral reform in this country.
Alternatively, could a Lib Dem/ Conservative coalition introduce PR? In theory yes, but Cameron would have to eat so much humble pie that it seems unlikely. Having said that, the guy is so desperate that anything is possible. I'd be very surprised, though.
Keep it real and keep a watch out for stray grenades on May 7th if it is a Labour victory - or near victory. You are being watched.