Oooh, I have just been looking at old elections stats - had completely forgotten the impact of the SDP in the mid 80s elections, before tactical voting was even thought of. SDP and Labour combined still had a smaller percentage of the vote than the Tories but I wonder how many seats were lost to the left by the split vote?
1979: C 43.9%, 339 seats; L 36.9%, 269 seats; Lib 13.8%, 11 seats (turnout 76%)
1983: C 46.0%, 362 seats; L 26.7%, 148 seats; SDP 12%, 3 seats; Lib 14.3%, 10 seats (turnout 72.7%)
1987: C 46.2%, 358 seats; L 29.5%, 155 seats; SDP 10.2%, 3 seats; Lib 13.6%, 7 seats (turnout 75.3%)
1992: C 45.5%, 319 seats; L 33.9%, 195 seats; LD 19.2%, 10 seats (turnout 77.7%)
1997: C 33.7%, 165 seats; L 43.5%, 328 seats; LD 18%, 34 seats (turnout 71.5%)
2001: C 35.2%, 165 seats; L 41.4%, 323 seats; LD 19.4%, 40 seats (turnout 59.1%)
2005: C 32.3%, 197 seats; L 35.2%, 356 seats; LD 22%, 62 seats (turnout 61.3%)
Cam, there have always been more votes against the Govt than for it (since 1979 at least, I didn't look back any further) and the ones who can't be bothered shouldn't be reckoned in.
And TB stated quite clearly in the last couple of weeks that he intended to stay for most of the next Parliament - so nobody who was paying attention would be expecting GB to pop up as PM in a couple of months.
<<He has said to confidants: 'I have not just gone through four weeks of hell to bugger off in a few months' time.'
"His allies say that by declaring he would serve a full term, it gave him a mandate to do just that. Blair will dispute the headline that it was Brown wot won it. He will ask whether Blair also has something to do with the fact that Labour is now embarking on an unprecedented third stretch in power.">>