It won’t happen like this . . . but if it did . . .

ballot boxWith party conferences and frontbench  reshuffles now behind us, political parties are now shifting their attention towards the next set of elections – the last nation-wide contest before the General election – the elections to the European Parliament in May 2014.

The general public, it has to be said, are hardly overwhelmed just yet.   They are fairly indifferent, in any case, to electing their MEPS, with only around one in three people actually voting in European elections.    Though, unlike general elections, where turnout has declined from 76% in 1979 to 65% in 2010, the figures for European polls have actually slightly increased from 32% in 1979 to 34% in 2009.

Even so, interest in choosing European representatives could hardly be described as rampant.     So I largely agree with Yougov’s Antony Wells, when he wrote on the Polling Report website that it was ”largely pointless to poll on secondary (sic) elections like Europe so far in advance.”

But , pointless or not, it didn’t stop a recent Survation poll, published in the Mail on Sunday recently, asking people how they would vote in the Euro elections.

The outcome of the poll showed Labour on 35%, just slightly behind the 37% which the poll gave for general voting intention.   But there the similarity ended,  because UKIP was next on 22%, followed by Conservatives on 21% and the Libdems on 11%.

And now, the fun part – at least for us political anoraks.  By using a website which allows you to make predictions about the number of MEPs each party would get, based on a particular percentage of the votes, I can now announce the result of the European elections 2014.

Labour come first with 30 seats (up 17); UKIP take 17 seats (up 4), Tories are on 13 (down from 26), and Libdems 5 (down from 11), with smaller parties sharing the remaining 8 seats

And when we apply this to the East Midlands, Labour gets three MEPs, the Tories and UKIP one each, and the Libdems none.

Will it happen like this?  Almost certainly not.  There are countless scenarios involving the varying fortunes of all the parties which would bring a wide range of different results.  Political predictions can be fun, though there’s more certainty involved in betting on the horses.

But it does give an indication of why the Tories keep trying to “out-UKIP” UKIP, and why David Cameron is so worried.    It’s not that he’s particularly concerned about losing half his MEPs, rather that he knows that a defeat such as this next May would seriously undermine his chances of winning the General Election a year later.



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