Labour set for worst share of vote since 1918: why isn’t that a big story?

Iain Dale quite rightly has queried why the prospect of Labour finishing third in the popular share of the vote isn’t a big story being talked about in the media.

But actually Iain is too kind to Labour.

Because the voting abyss Labour is teetering on the edge of is more than simply coming third. More than simply doing worse than Michael Foot. It’s on the verge of its worst share of the vote since 1918.

In 1983 Labour scored 28.3% and in 1918 it was 22.2%. (Both of these are figures for Great Britain, i.e. excluding Northern Ireland, as that’s the basis on which polling figures are also calculated.) Today’s polls have put Labour on an average of 27.4% or, if you exclude the rogue looking MORI poll, 26.8%.

Add in the fact that the polls have traditionally over-stated Labour’s share of the vote (even if by 2005 that error had come down to quite a small figure) and it’s safe to say that Gordon Brown is hovering somewhere between Michael Foot and William Adamson, Labour’s leader in 1918.

An ironic footnote about William Adamson, who led Labour 1917-21: he was born and brought up in Fife – where Gordon Brown also was brought up and lives.

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