Incompetence – or straight bias - at the BBC and laziness in the rest of the media has distorted the election results.
Take as an example Janet Daley in the Telegraph today. She quotes figures – derived from the cultural marxists in the BBC – which don’t make sense. (They made so little sense that they ruined my breakfast!)
==She says “In 750 key wards the average Conservative share of the vote increased by just 0.4% of a percentage point” .
++Eh? How can +0.4% give a plus of 900 seats ? It’s clearly rubbish.
==Then she goes on to say that the overall percentage Tory vote just scraped to 40% .
++In the same key wards ? Certainly it wasn’t national because London (11% of the population) did not vote and that’s where the biggest swing to the Tories has been
==Next she avers that “There was little identifiable progress outside the South and the Home Counties” (Same thing)
++ No progress ? Except for Derbyshire, East and North Yorkshire, North Lancashire, Cheshire, Lincolnshire. You don’t win that many seats except by making “progress”.
Some readers may have noticed that I despise the Tory leadership. But that cannot blind me to the naked cooking of the books engaged in by the BBC for whom any Tory progress causes apoplexy. The trouble is that when all the figures are available the hacks on the newspapers will be pursuing some other subject and will not notice and probably will not report it. THAT is the measure of the damage that the disgraceful biased BBC causes.
Dnn Hannan MEP today produces a critique of the reporting and makes these and some other interesting points. (I read this AFTER writing the above) I give his blog today below.
TELEGRAPH BLOGS 7/5/07 (Slightly shortened with added emphases )
The Tories performed better than the BBC lead us to believe
According to the BBC, the Conservative Party, which picked up 898 seats on Thursday, didn’t increase its share of the national vote at all; and Labour, which lost 495 councillors, supposedly saw its percentage of the vote rise by two points.
The Beeb’s figures are not meant to represent the votes actually cast: since large parts of the country didn’t vote at all, such a statistic wouldn’t tell us very much. Rather, they infer the national picture from a number of selected wards.
There are methodological difficulties with any such study, not least because the rise and fall of the parties is measured from last year, whereas it has typically been four years since any given seat was contested. On this occasion, the BBC’s study – which has been uncritically parroted in almost every newspaper – significantly overstated the position of the Lib Dems and Labour, and understated that of the Conservatives and “Others”.
The BBC estimates that, had this been a national vote, the Conservatives would have won 40 per cent, Labour 27 per cent and the Lib Dems 26 per cent. These numbers are skewed by two factors. First, the 2007 local elections excluded London, where there has been a disproportionate swing against Labour and to the Conservatives. Since London returns 74 MPs, 11 per cent of the total, this is no small omission.
Second, the Beeb’s method penalises parties for contesting extra seats. This is most clearly demonstrated with reference to the minority parties: Greens and UKIP. The Greens won 19 new seats, doing especially well in Brighton and Hove. UKIP contested three times as many seats as last time, and attracted a commensurately higher vote.
According to the BBC, both parties saw their share of the vote decline sharply. But this is precisely because they had ventured beyond their heartlands. Although their total vote increased, the average vote per candidate fell, because they were trying their luck in more speculative areas.
Now consider the big parties. A striking feature of this contest was the inability of the two Left-of-Centre parties to field candidates. There is some dispute over precisely how many were in the field but, in rough terms, the Conservatives contested about 10,000 of the 11,000 seats, while Labour and the Lib Dems fought fewer than 7,000 each.
On any normal measure, this is good news for the Tories. It shows that people are willing to don the blue rosette (or, nowadays, the turquoise ribbon) with pride. It means more voters have the opportunity to place their cross by a Conservative name. And, of course, it habituates the electorate: once people get used to voting Tory at local elections, they find it easier to do so at general elections. (This determination to contest seats wherever possible began when Theresa May was chairman; although unremarked at the time, it is proving to be one of her more important legacies).
The way the BBC makes its extrapolation, however, the sheer plenitude of Conservative candidates serves to depreciate their national vote share. As Labour and the Lib Dems retreat to their core areas, conversely, their projected shares rise.
The insomniacs among you might recall that, even as the results were coming in during the small hours of Friday morning, I found the BBC’s estimates dubious. The eventual tally of seats should have led pundits to question the national percentages.
But, of course, this is rarely what happens in politics: because the share-of-vote figures were put out at around 2.00 o’clock on Friday morning, they have contextualised all subsequent commentary, not least in the Sunday papers.
The truth is that the national position is much better for David Cameron, and much worse for Labour, than most analysts think. Of course, anyone who actually knocked on doors during the campaign could have told you that for free.