2017 General Election Diary Day 20: One month and counting

That’s the local elections out of the way, we’ve all had a nice weekend break of following the French election (and for those wondering where the British En Marche! is, try my post on the problems of creating a new centre party) which means there’s now nothing in the way between now and June 8th. Yes, it’s time to get your head down and head directly for the general election, and wonder if we’ll be praying for a brick wall to get in the way of that head-on running between now and then.

Before you suffer a major head trauma, though, don’t forget that I launched my election prediction competition today. No prizes, and it needs skills in geography as much as it does guessing voting behaviour, but hopefully enough of you will find it worthwhile enough to make it a worthwhile competition.

Let’s talk about electoral pacts. And before you all scream and say ‘no, not again’, this is about Northern Ireland, where the lack of pacts does mean some more seats might be in play for interesting results. The DUP and UUP have stood down in, respectively, Fermanagh & South Tyrone and North Belfast, but there’s no deal in East and South Belfast which makes it more likely that SDLP will hold South Belfast, while the Alliance Party’s chance of winning in East Belfast will be helped if there are both DUP and UUP candidates there. Everything in Northern Ireland is happening in the shadow of the Assembly election earlier this year (and the prospect of another later this year) and it will be interesting to see how much voters attribute praise and blame to the different parties for their role in the deadlock over that.

I know people with more knowledge of Northern Ireland and its politics do read this blog occasionally, so feel free to correct me on any points I make. However, I would say that it is interesting to look at the Northern Irish press during the election campaign as it’s a very good way of getting both a look at an election where the issues are very different, and a different perspective on what’s going on here in the larger of the British Isles from people semi-detached from that campaign.

Only time for a short post today, but let’s not forget Election Leaflet Of The Day, which is loved by some, all, or none of you. There are still a bunch of council election leaflets going up on there, which I assume is people loading stuff up there late. At least I hope so, or some candidates really need to have a word with their delivery teams if they’re not getting literature out until after the election has happened. And this time, we get to see one of the party leaders in action with a letter from Labour’s candidate for Islington North, a certain Mr Jeremy Corbyn. It may be a particularly historic document as perhaps the first time his constituency campaigning has been totally in line and on message with Labour’s national campaign.

This time next month, it’ll be all over bar the Dimbleby. Look forward to that, if nothing else.

Tripoints: A General Election prediction competition

I took the weekend off from blogging, but the regular general election diary posts will resume later today. However, while I was out yesterday an idea struck me for a prediction contest for a difference.

There are plenty of people out there asking for your election predictions in terms of how many seats different parties will win etc, but none that I’m aware of asking you to predict what this will mean to the electoral geography of the country. So that’s what I want this contest to consider.

The Three Shire Stone (from Wikipedia)
Back in December, prompted by a thought about the Copeland by-election, I catalogued all the three-party constituency tripoints in the UK. These are the points where three constituencies meet, and each of those three constituencies are represented by a different party. At the time I wrote that, a point near Grizedale Tarn below Fairfield was where Labour Copeland, Tory Penrith & The Border and Liberal Democrat Westmorland & Lonsdale all met, though the Tory win in the by-election means that is no longer a three-party tripoint, but the Three Shire Stone near Wrynose Pass now is.

So here’s the challenge: name 10 places that will be three-party tripoints after the election. The winner will be the person who gets the most correct, and if there’s a tie between entries then the person who identified the most new tripoints (ones that didn’t exist when Parliament was dissolved and so aren’t mentioned in this post) will be the winner. You only need to name the three constituencies, not who’ll win them, and you can guess at any time up until polls close at 10pm on June 8th. The prize will merely be pride at winning one of the most obscure political prediction contests, unless someone generous out there wants to volunteer something better. Post your answer in the comments, then sit back and pay close attention to the electoral map as it fills in to see how well you’ve done.

If you want to check out where the boundaries are, and which constituencies share tripoints, then the OS’s Election Maps has the official boundaries and the BBC’s 2015 election site has a decent map of who won which seat.