Who did worst in the General Election of 2010? Did the Christians do worse than the Loonies? Did the Communists outdo the Libertarians? And did the banking crisis spur any of the seven socialist parties to any shred of electoral success?
Here, for your pleasure, is the internet’s only guide to the success and (more commonly) failure of the lunatic fringe.
To someone with earnest self-belief elections can seem a doddle. “Come on,” prospective parliamentary candidates say to themselves, possibly from their vantage point on a bar stool. “How hard can it be?”
The answer, as 128 parties and 334 independent candidates discovered on the morning of May 7, turns out to be “very hard indeed”. Tricky as it is to pick the winner in the 2010 General Election, it is almost as tough to pick the loser, because there are so many of them.
The worst performing individual was Godfrey Spickernell, who came rock bottom with 17 votes in Chelsea & Fulham (24,077 short of victory). Undeniably rubbish though his tally is, he should not be overly ashamed. Although his one-man Blue Green Party is technically the worst performing party in Britain, he is really just an independent with the imagination to think up a name for his cause.
The worst multi-candidate party was The Magna Carta Party, whose radical tax-reducing policies attracted an average of 36.7 voters for each of the three candidates. All came bottom in their constituencies, with Jack Pope-De-Locksley doing especially badly with 26 votes in Hackney North & Stoke Newington. They did better than four single-candidate parties, but their diabolical score is remarkable given that their effort to form an alliance suggests that they had some sort of electoral strategy.
The Communist League is the worst-performing party to have stood with the same name at a previous General Election. (It is possible that this is not the same Communist League that stood in 2005, however. The party does seem to have a history of splitting.) The two-person League achieved 79 votes per candidate in 2010 – slightly worse than Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality, whose four candidates garnered 79.3 votes apiece.
The largest of the Communists, the six-candidate Communist Party of Britain, took a paltry 157.8 votes each, but they did at least beat the Libertarians, whose two official candidates took 91 votes each (although two Libertarian-endorsed independents helped bring up the average to 336.5 votes).
Having the word “Communist” in one’s party name was arguably the biggest albatross of the election, although the word “Workers” also guaranteed a lost deposit. The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (an alliance of one candidate) did especially badly with 75 votes. The seven candidates of the apostrophe-shy Workers Revolutionary Party did little better with an average 105.4 votes, less than four votes behind Anti-capitalists – Workers Power (a party whose website has the temerity to suggest that the Tories don’t have a mandate).
Socialists were convinced that the banking crisis meant their time had come, and collectively managed to field 84 candidates between them. How many of them recovered their deposits?
The worst of the seven was Socialist Equality, a party of two, which got an average of 85 votes, and actually damaged the cause in Manchester Central by standing against both Socialist Labour and the Workers Revolutionary Party. The Socialist Party of Great Britain had a great name for a party of one, but still lost its deposit with a derisory 143 votes in Vauxhall.
What of Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour? They did at least beat the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. Scargill’s 23 candidates all broke into triple figures and averaged 313 votes, but 16 of them still came last in their seats. The largest of the Socialists was the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which lost £19,000 on deposits for its 38 candidates in return for 323 votes apiece.
The worst party with candidates in double figures was the Christian Party, who were fed to the lions with just 262.3 votes per candidate. Their tally of 71 candidates made them the eighth largest party – ahead of the SNP or Plaid Cymru – but they had a worse average than the Official Monster Raving Loony Party (278.1 votes for each of their 27 candidates). They were last even among the Christian parties, having been beaten by the two-person Christian Movement for Great Britain (299 votes each) and the 16-strong Christian People’s Alliance (372.4 votes each).
Most fringe parties claim that the electoral system is biased against them, and that their popularity is not reflected in the results. It is true to an extent. I was unable to register my support for the Pirate Party despite my sympathy for their policies on the length of copyright terms because I wished to vote for a mainstream party. However, when your party polls fewer votes on average than the Loonies then you must begin to question whether your cause is genuinely popular, or if you are confusing broad-based support with the enthusiasm of a small bunch of zealots.
I will finish off with a table, but before that, I should give a special mention to the Virtue Currency Cognitive Appraisal Party (whose name was too wacky to garner more than 84 votes in Skipton & Ripon) and to the Liberal Party, whose four candidates got an average of 1,340.8 votes, almost certainly because of voter confusion with the Liberal Democrats. In Liverpool & West Derby Stephen Radford polled 3,327 votes – more than the Tory candidate.
Table of parties with more than one candidate, ranked by average votes per constituency.
|Magna Carta Party, The||110||3||36.7|
|Scrap Members Allowances||119||2||59.5|
|Citizens for Undead Rights and Equality||317||4||79.3|
|Independents Federation UK||247||3||82.3|
|Your Right to Democracy Party Ltd||269||3||89.7|
|Workers Revolutionary Party||738||7||105.4|
|Scottish Jacobite Party||290||2||145.0|
|Communist Party of Britain||947||6||157.8|
|Equal Parenting Alliance||319||2||159.5|
|Animal Protection Party||675||4||168.8|
|Justice and Anti-Corruption Party||427||2||213.5|
|Alliance for Green Socialism||1,581||6||263.5|
|Official Monster Raving Loony Party||7,510||27||278.1|
|Christian Movement for Great Britain||598||2||299.0|
|Scottish Socialist Party||3,157||10||315.7|
|Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition||12,275||38||323.0|
|Best of a Bad Bunch||674||2||337.0|
|Christian People’s Alliance||5,959||16||372.4|
|Social Democratic Party||1,551||2||775.5|
|UK Independence Party||917,832||558||1,644.9|
|British National Party||563,743||338||1,667.9|
|Traditional Unionist Voice||26,300||10||2,630.0|
|Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force||102,361||17||6,021.2|
|Social Deomcratic and Labour Party||110,970||18||6,165.0|
|Scottish Nationalist Party||491,386||59||8,328.6|
|Democratic Unionist Party||168,216||16||10,513.5|