Talk:United Kingdom general election, 2005/Archive 1

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This is the archive of issues raised and discussed in the past on the talk page Talk:United Kingdom general election, 2005.


Just wanted a quick sanity check of one of the facts on this page. The article currently says "Mr Blair spent the morning of the 4th attending Vespers at Westminster Cathedral", but I was under the impression that Vespers was an early evening service and that the Vespers service he went to (which was in remembrance of Pope John Paul II) was at 16:30 on the 4th April. Does anyone else have any evidence one way or the other?

This BBC News article says The [vespers] service began about 1630 BST so it looks like you're correct. Thryduulf 16:39, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Timing of the election

For a previous debate over the deletion of this article see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/UK general election, 2005.

Where did the info for this come from? The 2001 election was on 7 June. I thought that meant parliament had to be prorogued by 7 June 2006 (may be 1 day out here), and after that there's a general election campaign that could last up to 6 weeks. Which gives a final date of 18 July 2006. What's the reference doing to the "Constitution of the UK", which isn't written. The electoral rules are in the Representation of the People Acts and Election Acts aren't they? And what about all this reference to an "early election" not having occurred since 1974? Only John Major's 1992-1997 administration went the full term since, although Callaghan got close before he lost the vote of confidence. jguk 07:36, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I assume that when they say "early election" it's against a four-year baseline - ie, holding an election after three years is "early", but after four is just normal. (It's an inaccurate usage, technically speaking, but it's one I certainly hear often enough). The constitutional reference... it is accurate to say that we have constitutional documents (the Act(s) of Union, say), and we have constitutional conventions (that the monarch will ask the leader of the largest party to form a new government after an election), but that we don't have any which have a bearing on when elections should be held. (There is a constitutional requirement for elections to the Commons, by law and long practice, but no requirement other than a maximum period between elections - and that's common practice only). It is a bit oddly worded in places... Shimgray 15:37, 6 Dec 2004
Actually, AIUI it is written in law, in the Septennial Act, as amended by the Parliament Act 1911.
FWIW, I think the date of the 18th of July is technically speculative, but the independent reports of numerous journalists based on private briefings.
James F. (talk) 01:32, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The actual elections don't have to be called until 3 years after Parliament is dissolved I believe, under the Triennial Act. - Chrism 21:01, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)

Legalise Cannabis Alliance

If we're going to include the Legalise Cannabis Alliance into the list of parties competing for the election in the first paragraph then it's only fair that the likes of RESPECT, the ProLife Party and the BNP are included too, since they've managed to accrue many more votes in elections than the LCA ever have.

Seriously, once the election is called and the contesting parties known for definite, then maybe a List of parties contesting the UK general election, 2005 page would be a good idea to include all the fringe & minority parties without over-cluttering this article. Qwghlm 12:44, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps those who edit this page could come to a Gentlemen's agreement that only parties contesting more than two thirds (or four fifths, or one half - any figure that shows a commitment) of seats regionally should be listed on this page? As Qwghlm suggests others only being listed on the list page as suggesting (which for the moment should be List of parties contesting the UK general election, 2005/06 until Tony bloody gets his arse in gear and calls the election!) --Neo 16:43, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Hmm - the problem is that some parties are targetting resources and ommitting them for not trying everywhere would make the list look strange. Can we use the method above but with the alternative criteria that if a party holds seats at Westminster, Stormont, Cardiff Bay or Holyrood they can be listed on the page? Timrollpickering 17:10, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
What about Strasbourg as well? I'm no UKIP fan but they should be included too (imho). Qwghlm 17:23, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)
In addition, perhaps it should also be parties that have actually won seats through elections, and not through defections. Qwghlm 17:28, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)
If we include Strasbourg then it sounds good - the two methods would give lists which are almost the same anyway. --Neo 18:13, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I haven't quite followed what we've agreed, but I hope this solution is acceptable to all concerned. --Neo 19:14, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Looks OK, I added UKIP and the Greens, given their significant share of the vote demonstrated by their representation in the assemblies and EP; it was more or less agreed above this was the best indicator of significance (I hope). Qwghlm 21:23, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)

Any parties apart from those now listed in the article's second paragraph which may qualify for television and radio broadcasts? I know this to be an ambition of the Legalise Cannabis Allance. The threshhold seems to be 100 candidates. Laurel Bush 17:03, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC).

Endorse what Laurel Bush says. The threshold for a party broadcast is a reasonably objective one. The rule is you get a broadcast if you have candidates in more than 15% of the seats in any given nation. Throughout Great Britain that would be 95; fair enough to make an exception for Scotland and Wales-only parties. Dbiv 23:17, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Health Concern: party or independent?

Is there likely to be more than one Health Concern candidate? Or will the name be more a discription of an independent? Laurel Bush 10:40, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC).

For Westminster the candidate is essentialy an independent, although according to the article the party has representation at a local-council level. I'm not even sure if the party is going to run again, but it seems likely as they were represented at 2004 local elections.
Is there any distinction drawn legaly between an independent and a party candidate? --Neo 16:18, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Yes - under the register of parties legislation or similar, only the nominee of a registered party may use a party description on the ballot paper. There is confusion as a lot of tiny parties are little more than a solitary candidate using a label for the election but the distinction is now clear in law. Timrollpickering 17:33, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I guess the above means in practice that an independent can not use the name of a registered party without nomination from that party, but may still use the name of an unregistered party. Also, I believe registration procedures became necessary to create party lists for Scottish and European Elections. Lists of parties do not appear as such on general election ballot papers. Laurel Bush 12:49, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC).
I suspect not. In Northern Ireland it's certainly no longer possible to stand as "independent Unionist" (previously a common label) and at the last election a lot of local government candidates (the rules are the same) had to run as independents because they didn't register their party name in time.
The registration was, I think, mainly driven by the series of prominent elections when spoiler candidates ran on labels such as "Literal Democrat", "Liberal Democrat Top Choice For Parliament", "New Labour", "Conversative Party" and so on. There were more and more calls to introduce a register. Also calls for monitoring of party finances needed a register of parties. Timrollpickering 12:59, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Does anyone have any confidence that Health Concern will actually field a canndidate or candidates? Has the party itself declared any intention to contest a seat or seats in the next general election? Does it really qualify for a mention in the article's second paragraph? Laurel Bush 12:57, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC).

The latest I've seen is that Dr Taylor is standing but there seems to be some uncertainty on this. Timrollpickering 13:01, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Party Number of MPs Adjustment
Labour 403 −10
Conservative 165 −1
Liberal Democrat 51 −1
Ulster Unionist 6
Democratic Unionist 5
Plaid Cymru 4
Scottish National 4 −1
Sinn Féin 4
Social Democratic and Labour 3
Health Concern 1

maybe the tables should be colourized?

Party Party Leader Seats Popular Vote
Before After % Change # %
Labour Tony Blair 408
Conservative Michael Howard 162
Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy 55
Total 659 659 100.0
Party Party Leader # of
Seats Popular Vote
Before1 After % Change # % % Change
  Labour Tony Blair   408          
  Conservative Michael Howard   162          
  Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy   55          
Total   659 658     100%  

or Perhaps we could put table similar to the Canadian elections

  • I don't like the whole row being coloured, it could lead to some nasty clashes. How about a spot of colour on the ends of the rows, like the BBC did for the 2001 election? [1] Qwghlm 00:29, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

How's this? User:MS123

It might work better if the colors are more subtle:

Party Number of MPs Adjustment
Labour 403 −10
Conservative 165 −1
Liberal Democrat 51 −1
Ulster Unionist 6
Democratic Unionist 5
Plaid Cymru 4
Scottish National 4 −1
Sinn Féin 4
Social Democratic and Labour 3
Health Concern 1

thames 14:45, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

My vote would go for the brighter, primary colours... especailly as these are the colours the paries them selves use! The dots of colour at one end of the row seems to me to work well. Iain 14:48, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

With colours at the end

Something like this was what I had in mind:

Party Party Leader # of
Seats Popular Vote
Before After % Change # % % Change
  Labour Tony Blair   408          
  Conservative Michael Howard   162          
  Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy   55          
  Democratic Unionist Ian Paisley   7          
  Scottish National Alex Salmond   6          
  Ulster Unionist David Trimble   6          
  Plaid Cymru Dafydd Iwan   4          
  Sinn Féin Gerry Adams   4          
  SDLP Mark Durkan   3          
Total     659 646     100.0  

Any thoughts? Qwghlm 15:39, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

I've added in the colours, the same as is used on the BBC website for the 2001 election. Talrias | talk 17:33, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
This version looks the best to me. Thryduulf 18:27, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I've filled in some of the other parties. There are some gaps because I don't know alot about british politics. If someone one can check my work, we can post it on the page. User:MS123

If no one objects, I will post this table later this day April 6. So please offer any changes that you feel should be there before I do. User:MS123

I've reinstated the borders (the CSS was badly formatted) and added in the DUP & PC leaders. Qwghlm 20:16, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)
Also changed the DUP and SNP colours to fit in with the BBC's 2001 colours (which seem more accurate). Qwghlm 20:21, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)
hmmm... there apears to be an inconsistancy between this table (which has now been inserted at the top of the article) and the "current composition of the Commons" tables (at the bottom of the article) initerms of seat numbers etc. Is this intentional (for example, does the table at the top attempt to show what the positon was from the '97 general election includeing bounday changes)? if so, this needs to be clearly explained... Iain 08:11, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I've updated the table and added the footnotes. Do you mean the 2001 election, by the way (rather than the 97 one)? Talrias (t | e | c) 10:58, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
errr... yeah, I did... And the bottom table shows "probabale current composition if the cahnges had been made at the last election.... which just shows that I didnt read the article very well the first time rouand! Iain 11:36, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I really think we should use the adjusted figures only in this table, else its confusing and straightforward comparisons cannot be made. Qwghlm 12:55, Apr 7, 2005 (UTC)

"Dirty tricks"

The release of the Howard Flight story was timed to coincide with a revelation that a Labour cabinet minister had offered promotion to a female Labour MP in return for sex, a story which was only reported on the inside pages.

Have removed this, as it's nonsense; the story about Fiona Jones' allegations [2] was reported on March 27 in The Sun and Daily Record and was never front page news in the first place; the Flight story broke three days before in the Times, on March 24. [3]. Qwghlm 23:03, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

Actually I haven't removed it, I just tried to but someone had beaten me to it... Qwghlm 23:03, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

Dirty Tricks? Michael Howard compared to Shylock?

About the reference to the "Michael-Howard-as-Hypnotist" Labour camapaign poster. I think that the complaint was that the advert set him up to look like a "Fagin-like" figure, rather than Shylock - perhaps it's the wording of the article makes a comparison seem rather explicit when it was seen merely as an implication by the media/tories?

I certainly don't mean this in a pro-Labour sense, just wondering about the context, is all. It might seem that, to anybody reading who has not been following the election that Labour compared Howard directly to Shylock.

Any thoughts on a modification to the pharasing of this?

Have had a go, you're welcome to change it if you can do better. Dbiv 23:33, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think the connection was drawn with both Shylock and Fagin with this poster, but different sections of the press obviously reported it differently.


what is the dissolution of parliament? Does the current parliament have to be completely dismantled be for the election? What does that entail? Why do they do that? We don't dissolve Congress over here in the US before elections. I think this article should explain what that means, it sounds quite drastic.

The dissolution of Parliament means that it dissolves in the same way as a meeting dissolves when it finishes and the participants go home. Obviously the physical buildings stay there. The US situation is different in that the election of a new Congress takes place during the course of its predecessor. Dbiv 18:36, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The Parliament needs to be dissolved because it's not fixed-term, unlike the US Congress. Slac speak up! 21:10, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Page titling

The redirects to this page are many, varied, and really a mess. I'm cleaning up what there is at the moment, since it falls over on redirects-to-redirects, but it'd seem best to pick one page title and stop moving it around. We have a format already - see Wikipedia:Naming conventions#Elections and United Kingdom general elections - is there any objection to latching onto UK general election, 2005 and keeping that? The current title is nicer (and runs better as a link), but the shorter one fits the convention. Shimgray 20:57, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Personally I dislike using commas in article titles; wouldn't "United Kingdom general election year" be bettter?
James F. (talk) 21:07, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Whatever the decision we should make this article fit in with the other articles on general elections. Personally although I don't like commas or the abbreviation 'UK' in the article titles, it seems too much work to change all of them and the redirects to fit with the format 'United Kingdom general election of <x>'. Dbiv 21:24, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'm more than happy to carry out the grunt work, if it's needed. There are only 50 or so of them.
James F. (talk) 21:39, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I think we should follow convention for this. It seems better to keep everything consistent and follow the format, and if there are objects to the format, use the talk page for it, rather than having some election pages in one format, and some in another. I agree with Shimgray in moving it back to the previous title (though I think we should let this one stand for a day or so to get other people's opinions). Talrias (t | e | c) 21:43, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'd stick with convention as well and go back to the old title of UK general election, 2005. Qwghlm 23:13, Apr 10, 2005 (UTC)

A quick summary of the convention, by the way, is that it is "(Country) (Election), (Year)" - so Canada has, say, Canadian federal election, 2004. It can be a possessive name, so "British" rather than "UK" - Elections by country, which has a very long list of links, gives me examples of both. (Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala; but Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish) I think the possessive form is better - it sounds more correct, and less stilted, and there really isn't any risk of ambiguity. The only problem I see with the "British" form is that some might object for the pre-1922 elections, which still included Ireland. I'm happy with UK or British - the latter does seem more likely to be the one linked to in an article, though both are reasonably artificial. Shimgray 22:00, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I prefer UK general election, 2005. Anyway, isn't the use of 'British' controversial for not including NI within it (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)? Talrias (t | e | c) 22:08, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
There is that, I suppose. Thinking about it, my objection was rooted in that "UK election" looked grammatically shaky - but when you think about it, the abbreviation is also the correct form. (IE, "UK election" is equivalent to both "Britain election" and "British election"). So, yeah, UK general election, 2005 looks like the better solution.
Plus, of course, it means we have to do the fewest changes ;-). If there's no major objections by tomorrow evening I'll shift it over and fix the redirects. The comma is a bit ugly, but it's in all the other election pages everywhere... Shimgray 22:17, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
"British" is generally used to refer to the United Kingdom, not Great Britain. But "UK" is just ugly. "United Kingdom" is better.
James F. (talk) 22:45, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Ok, I wasn't sure. I still prefer "UK" or "United Kingdom" to "British". Talrias (t | e | c) 22:51, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It has to be 'UK' or 'United Kingdom', and not 'British', as the article covers Northern Ireland as well. It's even more important because Northern Ireland has a different political system and is not really part of the British election. Dbiv 23:00, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)
This was the point I was trying to make, unsurprisingly someone else said it better. :) Talrias (t | e | c) 00:48, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It may well have been. It's also wrong. To quote myself (awful manners, I know, but you don't seem to have read what I wrote the first time ;-)):
"British" is generally used to refer to the United Kingdom, not Great Britain.
Thus "British" means "of or related to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". How is it, exactly, that you think not that this "covers Northern Ireland"?
James F. (talk) 11:56, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
No, I did read it. I was just saying that Dbiv said much the same thing as me, except in a clearer way. Talrias (t | e | c) 12:43, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Although 'British' is used sloppily as an adjective to refer to the United Kingdom, strictly it means 'relating to Britain', and the island of Ireland is not Britain nor a part of Britain. If Northern Ireland happens to have adopted British practice then it's acceptable to refer to Northern Ireland as British, but if it hasn't, then it is wrong. In the same way, Ulster is used sloppily to refer to Northern Ireland, but is in fact inaccurate because of the three Ulster counties which are in the Republic. It is usual Wikipedia policy to be strictly accurate about these things, and indeed it infringes NPOV if we aren't. Dbiv 13:35, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I also note on [[British]] it says (paraphrasing) "many NIers do not consider themselves British". If it's going to be anything, it should be United Kingdom general election, 2005, or UK general election, 2005. On this note, I see it's British House of Commons (there's probably discussion on that, I'll read it later). Talrias (t | e | c) 14:00, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The page has been moved back to UK general election, 2005 by MM2K (talk · contribs). Any idea why? Should this move be reverted? (I haven't time at the moment to check) Thryduulf 08:59, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Leave it. Either change all pages on UK elections to "United Kingdom general election, (year)" or none. Let's stop ignoring conventions. Timrollpickering 10:50, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I agree, we should change them all. Did you think we were talking of this page only?
James F. (talk) 11:56, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Apologies about moving the page; I wasn't able to access this page for some reason, so was unaware about discussions regarding the title of the article. The title didn't look right for Wikipedia when I saw it, so I thought it was something maliecous, and changed it back. FWIW, I agree with Timrollpickering, that if change is needed to the titles, it should be to all the general election pages, and in the format "United Kingdom general election, (year)".
MM2K 15:17, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
...not to mention all the other pages on elections the world over. Personally I don't see what the fuss is about, the current title is reasonably short, to the point and perfectly describes the event without POV or possible confusion. Fussing over a comma or whether it should be "United Kingdom" is really quite pointless, the article itself is far much more important than the minutiae of the title. Qwghlm 16:28, Apr 11, 2005 (UTC)
So we're all agreed, then, we should move the lot to "United Kingdom general election, year"?
I'll get on with it in a day or so unless someone objects.
James F. (talk) 16:31, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Tossing in my couple of cents, the article itself is the important thing - it's just that I saw it coming up on the recent changes as "moved" on a regular basis this last week, and it was beginning to foul up the redirects (and get confusing). It'll only become a more and more trafficked page, so sorting them out now seemed sensible... Thanks to all for the move, and hopefully this'll be stable now :-) Shimgray 16:42, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Sorry - I also moved the page title yesterday without realising there was a big discussion going on. My only two pennies here are that the title of the page should be highlighted in bold in the opening title as per wikipedia standards (that was the reason for my moving it). Other than that I don't care what the title and agree that teh article content is far more important! ChrisUK 16:39, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here, about the title highlighted in bold. Could you clarify? Thanks! Talrias (t | e | c) 17:59, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I meant to say that the page title should be in bold in the first sentence of the first paragraph, just like most other pages in wikipedia (i'm sure that is a standard documented somewhere but I don't have a reference to hand). Just check any page and you'll see what I mean. ChrisUK 20:18, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Have a look at U.S. presidential election, 2004 - the page title isn't exactly the wording of the bolded section in the opening paragraph. Talrias (t | e | c) 20:34, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I think there's no point in trying to crowbar the title into the text just so you can put it in bold - if it doesn't fit in nice flowing English, then don't worry about it, just leave it unbolded in whatever form reads best in the opening paragraph. sjorford →•← 08:41, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

United Kingdom general election, year

OK, well, I've moved it (from "UK general election, 2005" to "United Kingdom general election, 2005"), and updated all (or at least, almost all - note that the links table seems a little corrupted, so "what links here" lies in places) of the links. What does everyone think? Should I continue, and do the rest of the UK general elections, or should I revert my changes?

James F. (talk) 21:11, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I say to continue - United Kingdom is better than UK imho. I'll help you do some of the grunt work if you want. Thryduulf 21:23, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I've done the 1832 and 1835 elections, and updated links I've found to earlier post act of union ones as well (none of them have articles). Thryduulf 21:56, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I've now done 2005, 2001, 1997, 1992, 1987, 1983, and 1979.
James F. (talk) 16:03, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)
... and now back to 1900.
James F. (talk) 19:44, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)
... and now all of them, back to 1837 when our records begin.
James F. (talk) 21:08, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Campaign Trail and pre-election day events

Between User:ChrisUK and User:Talrias we have knocked together a related page Pre-election day events of the United Kingdom general election, 2005 to put all the stuff in related to the major campaign events. I suggest that as the campaign progresses, the pre-election day page is kept up to date with the details and a summary of the most important things is kept under the section Campaign Trail on this page. That way things can be re-arranged cleanly later after the election is held and it is in the past. Thoughts? ChrisUK 22:39, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I like this idea! I can't take any credit for it since it was all you. I just dusted up behind you. Talrias (t | e | c) 22:44, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think that the pre-election page could also act as an archive for the opinion poll section on this page as the campaign progresses. This opinion poll section would be deleted from this page once the result is known (and opinions therefore irrelevant) and moved to a permanent home in the pre-election page ChrisUK 23:03, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)


First, is there a source for this information? (or is it just a list of seats, ranked by the margin the Conservatives lost them by?) Second, it could do with shortening, perhaps to the seats the party has specifically targeted, or those that hold significance as a barometer of the national mood. Thirdly, the Lib Dems could do with similar inclusion. Qwghlm 15:45, Feb 19, 2005 (UTC)

I've edited the list - as there was no official list of targets I could find, I've edited it to be the 20 seats with the narrowest losing margin for each of the big three parties from the last election. Comments welcome. Qwghlm 12:53, Mar 12, 2005 (UTC)
See the bar on the right hand side of [4]. Notice that some of the seats are generally considered very safe indeed - e.g. Islington South & Finsbury, where lots of voters have voted for Chris Smith despite, rather than because he is a Labour MP; he's now retiring, and there was just a 12 vote gap between the Labour and Lib-Dem vote in the GLA elections last year, so it's considered a relatively high target.
James F. (talk) 11:56, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The Evening Standard did print a list a month or so back which purported to be the official Labour 'key seat' list. Dbiv 12:00, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)

For latest discussion on targets see section below. ChrisUK 17:02, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)


Can someone either explain the 100% or, if wrong, fix it, in the follwoing para: "In order for either the Conservatives or the Liberal Democrats to form a government (gain more than 50% of the seats available in the House of Commons) they need to take votes from Labour - even a 100% swing from one party to the other would result in Labour holding 323 seats, to the other party's 300 (1 short of a Labour majority)." -- SGBailey 16:02, 2005 Apr 5 (UTC)

I wrote this, and by it I meant that if one party takes all votes the other took in 2001, then neither will win etc... I apologise if I have got the terminology wrong (i.e. quoting swings as a percentage of the party vote rather than as a percentage of the total vote). --Neo 18:40, Apr 5, 2005 (UTC)

I don't know if anyone else finds this confusing in the article - particularly given that it sits following a paragraph which claims that a 9.5% swing to the Conservatives would lead to a Conservative majority. I appreciate that we're talking about the difference between a national uniform swing and some other measure of swing... but given that the rest of the article refers to national uniform swing, without an explanation this reference to a 100% swing not leading to an overall majority seems confusing. - MykReeve 10:09, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The point is that swing is only really relevant if it is between Labour and Conservative. I think the article should not refer to a 'swing between Conservative and Liberal Democrat' because there really is no such concept. Dbiv 12:01, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I revised this a couple of minutes ago to remove any reference to a swing. The real point of the paragraph is that if any party wishes to form a government then they MUST take votes from Labour. Swings between the Conservatives and Lib Dems do affect results, if not on a national scale then in poor rural constituencies certainly. The BBC even has a Lib Dem - Conservative Swing-o-meter. --Neo 12:52, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)

"Free and fair"

The whole section on election fairness seems outrageously biased to me. I didn't edit it because the specifics aren't something I'm familiar with, but surely many of those comments can be attributed?

I think the controversy over election advertising could well be moved from a separate section to the discussion of gerrymandering.

(And what's the problem with postal voting? It's an inbuilt feature of Australian elections, and not a word has been breathed about its corruptibility). Slac speak up! 21:06, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The postal voting issue is because in the past week it has been found that there was widespread fraud of the postal voting system in at least two (or was it three?) wards in Birmingham during the 2004 local elections. see this news article Thryduulf 22:03, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I've had the same impression about this section being very biased. Wouter Lievens 22:09, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Several sections of the article do seem to have been written by a srong Conservative supporter. I don't think there's anything in there worthy of deletion, but it probably needs a few more points of view. Willhsmit 22:42, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I've just changed it and I would welcome anyone else having a look at my go. It certainly did not seem to be NPOV to me. In particular the remark (now removed) that "The constituencies boundaries have been determined with reference to a Labour party recommendation. They are skewed firmly in the Government's favour" is factually wrong. The present boundaries are those set by the Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the 4th Periodical Review (1995) which is impartial and in any case reported under a Conservative government, and the 5th Periodical Review (2004) in Scotland. The government did intervene to change the law in Scotland: but only to cut the number of MPs, which has hurt Labour. I really don't know where the author of that section got his information. Dbiv 23:09, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
As a totally neutral observer from the other side of the world, with absolutely no preference for who wins the UK election, I still think that this section displays bias. How about a few more "it is alleged" or "such and such said"? wilful


There are numerous inaccuracies claimed by the user Jguk, who has written this section.

The constituencies boundaries have been determined with reference to a Labour party recommendation. The last major boundary review for England & Wales was concluded in 1995 (when there was a Conservative government), for Scotland 2003, by the Boundary Commissions and we still use those today. It was not a decision enforced nationwide by any single party, although each decision for each cluster of constituencies can be lobbied by the public on a case-by-case basis, the decisions are made by the Boundary Commissions.

They are skewed firmly in the Government's favour. POV. Implies there has been deliberate attempt to set the boundaries in this way.

The effect of the current boundaries means that, if Labour and the Conservatives are tied in the popular vote, Labour would win a comfortable majority of 60 seats. Simplistic and inaccurate. Assumes (like all 'swing' analyses) that swings will be uniform in every seat and purely from Labour to Conservative. Does not consider the effect of third parties, nor of the possibility of tactical voting, a practice which was certainly used effectively against some Conservative candidates in 1997 and 2001, and may well be used against Labour this time round.

Labour will have a majority in the House of Commons provided they do not lose to the Tories by more than 3%. They will be the largest party in the Commons as long as they do not lose by more than 6% of the popular vote. The Tories will only have a majority in the Commons if they defeat the Government by more than 10% of the popular vote. [5] See above. The source quoted does not back up any of these claims; Andrew Marr's article notes current boundaries favour Labour due to population movements. This entire section claims there has been deliberate gerrymandering by the residing Labour government when there is absolutely no evidence of this. Qwghlm 08:50, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Qwghlm, that was exactly what I was going to say! I hope Jguk comes to talk to debate this before putting the section back in. Dbiv 08:57, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I don't support this section as it was written, however surely some mention should be made to the disparity between Labour and Conservative seat sizes; IIRC the average Labour MP has an electorate of around 55000, and the average Conservative one of around 65000. However I don't think this was due to concious Gerrymandering. --Neo 22:38, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)
Having just done a very quick run-through the stats from 2001... the average Labour seat had an electorate of 65,737. The average for the Conservatives was electorate 71,990. But that's including Scotland, where the seats were all smaller than those in England & Wales last time round and have now been corrected. For England & Wales only, the figures are: Labour 67,311, Conservative 72,106. But then seat size is not the only factor in whether a seat is fairly drawn or not, it's more complicated than that. Qwghlm 23:23, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)
After a bit of searching I have found the figures of average electorate size by winning party:
The total electorate was 44,401,238 of whom 26,366,992 voted - a turnout of 59.38%
The average electorate size was 67,377. In Conservative won seats the average was 72,117, Labour 65,746, LibDem 68,024, Plaid Cymru 47,494, and SNP 59,343.
source: [6] (note that this is a secondary source, with figures from several other sources all of which are cited on the page. Thryduulf 23:28, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Opinion Polls

I'm wondering where we are getting the 'Implied Labour majority' figures from. For Lab/Con/LD/Oth of 35/34/22/9 on April 4 we have ~60; for the same numbers on April 5 we have ~28. Could we agree to use the forecasts from ? --Cavrdg 15:52, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I imagine they are from the poll results. Talrias (t | e | c) 16:11, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I've updated the last four polls to use the electoralcalculus numbers. The projection for the last poll (Telegraph / Yougov 36/36/20/8) is even higher at 52 in the newspaper --Cavrdg 10:35, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I disagree with using the figures from a website not related to the opinion poll. The opinion poll was conducted and gave all the data in the table, including the implied majority figures.
I can see both sides. The newspaper writer may have more details of the poll. OTOH, it looks odd if similar polls are giving very different projected results. What I can't see is the source for the projected majorities originally used. The newspaper article for the Telegraph/ICM poll [7] talks of 114 rather the 94 originally used or the 110 from electoralcalculus. --Cavrdg 13:16, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'd be willing to add a footnote explaining the predicted majority column if we agreed to restore the numbers from the opinion polls themselves. Talrias (t | e | c) 13:19, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
We should include an explanation but I've yet to see a source (ideally a URL) for the original numbers. Both the Telegraph pages I've linked above give different numbers. The pollsters' reports Yougov PDF, MORI and ICM don't give any at all as far as I can see.--Cavrdg 15:20, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps we'd be better off removing them entirely then. The way it is currently looks as though the implied majority comes from the poll data, whereas we're getting them from a completely different website. Might as well remove them. Talrias (t | e | c) 15:29, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The probabale result based upon the raw percentages is usefull information, and I would like to see it included. Perhaps we can agree a policy on this? e.g. to use the numbers reported in the reports if they are included, and the electoralcalculus numbers if not... and to clearly explain that this is what has been done and that the numbers may not be directly compareable (which, as they are from different polls useing different methods, could also be said about the raw percentages as well!). Iain 15:39, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)
That sounds OK to me, perhaps combined with a rework of the Composition of the House of Commons section to give some examples from the models. There's already a link to electoralcalculus in the links section and we could add one for the BBC calculator too. I'm not sure about the bit that says 8% - 9.5%: Hung parliament (Conservative minority government). That assumes the Tories could find someone to work with them. Apart from the various Northern Ireland Unionists, I don't think anyone would.

The opinion polls need updating, I would do it but I don't how to use the table. The BBC website has ones for today and the last 3 or so days. --Ebz 09:27, 23 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Betting exchanges

How about some links to the betting exchange and ? The opinion polls are all well and good, but betfair and igsport and good because you can see where people put are putting their money as to the accuracy and effect of the opinion polls. IG sport is currently giving Labour a majority of 67 seats. And betfair is giving the Conservatives about 9% change of winning.

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate vs Member of Parliament

Following the dissolution yesterday, there are officially no Members of Parliament in the UK any more; only prospective parliamentary candidates. Is it worthwhile reflecting this on individual MPs/PPCs pages? Deadlock 13:24, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Certainly, for ones that are retiring at this election but it doesn't seem worth the effort for ones that are likely to be re-elected. It's common to talk of someone being an MP from, say, 1987 to 2001, even though, strictly speaking, there would have been gaps for the elections in 1992 and 1997. At what point do they stop being PPCs and become candidates? Dissolution? Close of nominations?
Actually, since the change in the law there has been no need for people intending to contest an election to describe themselves as 'prospective candidates'. They can declare that they are candidates and not start their election expenses. Dbiv 13:59, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Rather than the individual MPs pages, I'd have thought a note on the general article about Members of Parliament would be best (unless you want to edit 659 pages by hand as I think this would be a very difficult task to define for a bot Thryduulf 14:01, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Copyright status of manifestos

Does anyone know if party manifestos are public domain? I want to put them on Wikisource for reference from here and Wikinews. I notice the BBC and Guardian (and surely others) are hosting copies. Joe D (t) 23:58, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I very much doubt the parties are worried about people hosting them without permission. The more eyeballs the better, I imagine. It's probably still copyrighted (public domain means anyone can edit it - they probably don't want that). Talrias (t | e | c) 00:04, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
As far as I know a party manifesto is by definition out of copyright. They are routinely reprinted in the Times Guide to the House of Commons and F. W. S. Craig published a collection of all party manifestos since 1900 (Iain Dale has done the same more recently) without giving any copyright warning. Talrias is right to say that the parties would like more people to host their manifestos. Dbiv 08:21, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Election court

In this edit by Dbiv, my addition that the Election Court in Birmingham was the "first convened for a century" was removed as a "factual inaccuracy". However, Private Eye has printed this claim at least three times to my memory, without retraction, clarification, or correction, the latest of which is in today's issue. What is the basis for it not being the first for a century - that is, please give a published reference that disproves Private Eye's claims (lest we be accused of violating Wikipedia:No original research). James F. (talk) 16:13, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It's blatantly untrue that it was the first Election Court in a century. An election petition has to be tried in an election court - see section 123 (1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 for Parliamentary elections and section 130 (1) for local government elections. There was a petition after the 2001 general election in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and one after the 1997 election in Winchester (which voided the election). There are petitions all the time in local elections. The fact that Private Eye may have said it makes me say "so what?" - Private Eye, much though I love it, is hardly the source to quote if you want strict factual accuracy. In fact if you look at Mark Oaten you see it stated there that "his election was later declared void by the Election Court".
What I suspect the originator of this claim might have meant to say (it was in the press before it was in Private Eye) was that this was the first election court dealing with an allegation of direct electoral fraud for a century, with the comparison being the Worcester petition of the 1906 general election. But there have been other petitions dealing with electoral fraud in local elections. Dbiv 20:27, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)
So, "first Election Court convened to deal with direct electoral fraud in a national-election for a century"?
James F. (talk) 21:11, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)
No, because it isn't a national election. In any case the qualifications to the claim would have to be explained. I don't see why Wikipedia should pander to the press having stated something inaccurate. The Birmingham case is only tangentially relevant to the general election in terms of the effect it has on campaigning and the minor changes the Electoral Commission is urging to the way postal ballot applications are supposed to be handled. I think the article as it stands includes all relevant information known to this date. Dbiv 21:20, 15 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Respect MP

The Respect website does claim Galloway as a Respect MP (see here). So I would think there's no problem in the table. Dbiv 12:46, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the source. Could you possily mention this on the list of parties contesting the United Kingdom general election, 2005 talk page where there was a debate on this topic. --Neo 13:21, Apr 17, 2005 (UTC)

Targets again

The targets section derives from the tables on pages 110-140 of the 'Media Guide to the New Scottish Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies' (Local Government Chronicle Elections Centre, Plymouth, 2004). Dbiv 23:33, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Perhaps you could add this in as a reference? Talrias (t | e | c) 12:38, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. Done. Dbiv 13:42, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm afraid I can't really see this point. Are you saying that the scotiish westminster media guide publishes target seats for each party? If so, that should be clear in the text above the table. Instead it seems to be someones opinion of what those targets are likely to be based on 2001. In which case it is not encylopedic and should be moved to wiki news or something. I still stick by the idea that this section should be deleted from this page until the parties themselves publish some tables about their own targets. ChrisUK 16:59, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I've just noticed that there was a similar discussion on targets in feb this year (see above) and I think that most of what was written then still holds. I vote for deleting this section. ChrisUK 17:04, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It depends what you mean by 'target seats'. The book publishes the list of the seats where each party failed to win in 2001 by the narrowest margins. As no party would 'target' a seat where it had failed by 20,000 to be elected, this is an unofficial target list. It is not the actual list of 'key seats' which the parties have agreed to prioritise for national election support, but those lists are not available. It does give an idea of the seats where the election is expected to be particularly close, which is what it purports to be. Dbiv 18:45, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
... although Islington South & Finsbury, won by Labour last time 'round by 20% (!) is a LibDem target seat, so there are exceptions to everything.
James F. (talk) 18:56, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I still think this is a table based on one persons opinion of what the targets are - as the article states there are no official targets yet. So it really doesn't have any value in an encyclopedia, and it is difficult to see how it could be considered NPOV. Anyway, it will be deleted in a few weeks anyway after the election results are known so who really cares anyway?!! ChrisUK 21:18, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Tables again

Most of the colours for the parties in the two tables are just showing up as black at the moment. 01:07, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think you were experiencing an Internet Explorer bug in terms of demanding rgb sextets instead of triplets. I've fixed them. -The Tom 03:35, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Defection of Brian Sedgemore

How to deal with Brian Sedgemore's defection from Labour to the LDs? Change "number of MPs at Dissolution" to "number of only-just-recently-former-MPs three weeks after Dissolution"? Ignore it? James F. (talk) 22:30, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Either (a) ignore it, or (b) put it in a footnote. Can't alter the figures as dissolution has already happened. Dbiv 22:48, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I agree. Keeping the figures at dissolution is much better as these are verifiable. I've already got confused with how many people have been switching parties recently. I wouldn't even bother with a footnote - the detail on his page is ample. Talrias (t | e | c) 22:52, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)