The news is awash with stories of not one party will win an over all majority in this years General Election and from that, the guessing game of who will jump into bed with each other and form a government. As someone who has stood in three elections, I can tell you don’t really know how well you have done until they start the count. Then it all becomes clearer.
Saying that, I have been looking at the vote numbers from the 2010 General Election for the six Parliamentary seats in Cornwall. These six Parliamentary seats all are what you call ultra-marginal. In other words at least three candidates has the chance of winning the seat. I knew the numbers were tight, but I did not realise quite how tight they are.
I will start with the Parliamentary seat I reside in, St Ives.
In 2010 this seat was won by Andrew George for the Lib Dems. Andrew won the seat by 1719 votes, a winning margin of 3.7%. (LD hold). Looking at the 2005* election voting percentages, the Lib Dems had 51.8%, Labour 12.5%, Con 27.3% UKIP 4.3%.Previous elections – 1992 Con, 1997/2001/2005/2010 LD.
Camborne and Redruth
In 2010 this seat was won by George Eustice for the Cons. George won this seat by 66 votes, one of, if not the narrowest – in the Country – of margins by 0.2% (Con gain). Looking at the 2005 election voting percentages, the Lib Dems had 35.8%, Labour 28.8%, Con 25.6% UKIP 4.8%. Previous election winners – 1992 Con, 1997/2001 Lab, 2005 LD and 2010 Con.
Truro and Falmouth
In 2010 this seat was won by Sarah Newton for the Cons by 435 votes, a margin of 0.9% (Con gain). The 2005 election voting percentages, the Lib Dems had 41%, Labour 19%, Con 31.7% UKIP 5.8%. Previous election winners 1992/1997/2001/2005 LD, 2005 Con.
St. Austell and Newquay
In 2010 this seat was won by Stephen Gilbert for the Lib Dems by 1312 votes, a margin of 2.8% (LD hold). The 2005 election voting percentages, the Lib Dems had 47.3%, Labour 13.8%, Con 34.8% UKIP 4.1%. Previous election winners 1992/1997/2001/2005/2010 LD
In 2010 this seat was won by Dan Rogerson for the Lib Dems by 2981 votes, a winning margin of 6.4% (LD hold). The 2005 election voting percentages, the Lib Dems had 42.3%, Labour 12.5%, Con 35.4% UKIP 5.8%. Previous election winners 1992/1997/2001/2005/2010 LD
South East Cornwall
In 2010 this seat was won by Sheryll Murray for the Cons by 3220 votes, a winning margin of 6.5% (Con gain). The 2005 election voting percentages, the Lib Dems had 46.8%, Labour 10.5%, Con 35% UKIP 5.1%. Previous election winners 1992 Con, 1997/2001/2005 LD, 2010 Con.
As you can see by the winning margin of between 0.2% and 6.5% these seats are really too close to call. However, looking at the 2005 percentages, there was a huge change in percentages towards the Cons. That of course doesn’t mean this will be replicated at this years election, but it does show Cornwall is a real battle ground for the political parties and could have a direct impact on which party forms the next government. furthermore, it is really going to be interesting to see how the Greens, MK and UKIP have an impact on the election in Cornwall.
The point of this blog post not only to show how close this election is in Cornwall, but to encourage people to take 15 minutes and wander down to the polling station on the 7th May and cast your vote. It is not too much to ask that you, as citizens, spare the 15 minutes to cast your vote at this election. After all you only are asked to do this every five years for a General Election. Furthermore, you have 15 hours in which to vote, as the Polling Stations are open for voting from 7am till 10pm.
I have often heard people say what’s the point in voting or my vote won’t really matter. Well, in Cornwall, in this election, your vote can really matter and if you use it, you can really choose who you think is best to represent you in Parliament.
And if by some chance you have not registered to vote, you still have time, as you can register to vote till the 20th of April! There really is no excuse not to vote.
(*using 2010 electoral boundaries. Data from Cornwall Council and Democratic Audit)