OTL Election maps resources thread

Discussion in 'Alternate History Maps and Graphics' started by Thande, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. Tayya Rees-Mogg Leftie (?)

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    That system would indeed work well in, say, Blekinge, but in the County of Stockholm with 38 MPs elected it would result in a list of candidates that would make the Australian lists seem tiny - assuming that all the Riksdag parties would contest at least 20 seats except for the two major ones who'd contest them all, it would result in 196 candidates - and that's excluding the minor parties. Essentially, you'd get Australia and 99% of the voters just voting the preference order decided by the parties.

    Speaking of the County of Stockholm, let's head west for the capital of Oregon.

    Wait, what? No, this is not Salem, Oregon - it's the municipality of Salem, located just west of Botkyrka, which it split from in 1981 after being joined with it in the municipal reform of 1971. Unlike its Oregonian counterpart, which name springs from the Semitic words for "peace", the Swedish Salem was originally called Slæm - a dialectal portmanteau of slån (blackthorn) and hem (home/dwelling place) but the name was transformed into Salem sometime during the late Middle Ages, possibly thanks to Biblical inspiration.

    Salem consists of two parts, its namesake and Rönninge, that might be more known than Salem to the average citizen of Stockholm thanks to having a train station trafficked by commuter trains. Salem itself is unfortunately mostly known for the Salem March, a neo-nazi demonstration held annually in the noughties after the murder of a young neo-nazi man in the area which has thankfully disappeared lately - unfortunately to be replaced with increased nazi activity elsewhere.

    Politically, Salem is solidly blue - holding on even in 2002 when the Moderates' poor showing brought down several local governments - though not absurdly so unlike the northeastern upper-class strongholds. The existence of the Rönninge Party is almost pathetically predictable, though it formed as late as for the 2010 elections and is of the populist/NIMBYist variant rather than secessionist. After all, Salem has already seceded once.

    salem2.png
     
  2. Geordie NAME OF OWNER

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    I really need to look at this thread more often. Thande, you've done some absolutely sterling work on London, and Alex, your own efforts are equally appreciated. Plus, this thread is teaching me more about Swedish politics than I thought I'd ever find out! :D

    I'll try to add a bit more insight to Gateshead and North Tyneside later, but I shall add a bit of local knowledge regarding my home borough of South Tyneside now.

    The solid Tory ward - Cleadon and East Boldon - is rather well to do. Most of the wealthiest people in the borough reside here, and the boundary with Boldon Colliery has a fair bit of Gerrymandering involved to keep the Colliery all red, and East all blue. I suspect it's safer for both to guarantee three councillors than gamble on four and only get two. I'm not sure about Hebburn North's Lib Dem flirtation. It may have been a reaction against Labour due to Westminster incumbency, Iraq, et al., but I'm not sure. From my understanding of the Progressives, they are very much a local Tory party, for those who can't vote Tory. Even with Thande's explanation of the right wing Lib Dem, this still sounds weird. After all, they vote Tory in Cleadon, don't they? This is hyper-local identity at work here. A small businessman in Shields, who lives in Cleadon, can vote Tory. The guy who owns the place next door, and lives in an equally nice place in South Shields - Westoe, for instance - will vote progressive. Partly because he may well know the candidate, and partly because "only ponces in Cleadon vote Tory". The fact that the Westoe resident may be more right wing, affluent and conservative doesn't change anything - he can't vote Tory! :rolleyes:

    Fellgate and Hedworth - my home ward - is a mixture. Hedworth Estate was identified as the most deprived estate in the country (possibly outside London) by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation less than ten years ago, and there's at least one other council estate in the ward. Fellgate, on the other hand, is rather well to do. However, I'm not sure that there's that much difference in political outlook within the ward. There was real anger with Labour in the Blair years/early Brown period. Complaints ranging from London-centrism, asylum seekers, Iraq, being taken for granted, bankers, unemployment. Apathy was probably equally damaging, given the turnouts. The above factors let the Independents in, who subsequently went UKIP. The fact that Labour are no longer the government has meant they've captured some of the anti Westminster vote, meaning they're likely to make inroads here once again.
     
  3. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Yeah, the constituencies with more than, say, ten members would have to be split. In fact, I think I'd like to make a map of that now.
     
  4. LancyIain Eternal Typist

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    I will just echo this comment.
     
  5. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    Good to know that about the progressives Geordie.
     
  6. Geordie NAME OF OWNER

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    My father summed them up as "Tories for those who can't vote Tory" when I was about twelve. For about ten years, I thought that was a simplification. It really isn't. :eek:

    The only other possible difference between the areas is that East Boldon and Cleadon were once (pre 1974) a Rural District of County Durham, while everything else that wasn't Jarrow or Shields were Urban Districts. Whether that had any effect, I couldn't say. The two exceptions were County Boroughs, although Jarra' exercised very few of the powers it could have done, leaving the vast majority to the County Council
     
  7. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    As a companion piece to Reading above, I thought I'd do Wokingham, oft mentioned above and Berkshire's other election this year. Labelled ward map here. Some of what Martin talked about in relation to Reading applies to Wokingham so once again thanks to him for some local insight.

    Many of the problems for Reading exist because, unlike Derbyshire for example, Berkshire County Council was fully dissolved and the districts made full Unitary Authorities. As a result, we've got this complicated mashing together of most of the eastern half of Reading, the somewhat significant medieval market town of Wokingham and a chunk of countryside snaking its way north. With about half the wards in total (and over half the ones with three councillors) in Woodley, Earley and the other areas of the Reading urban area, it's immediately apparent why Wokingham is pretty unviable without them (they are apparently a pretty high tax income area for the council as well). The disjointed nature of the borough is reflected in the Parliamentary constituencies. The rest of Reading East is here, along with parts of two other seats, both considered safe for the Conservatives. Wokingham is represented by John Redwood, formerly Secretary of State for Wales in the Major government, and Maidenhead by Theresa May, the Home secretary which should give you some indication of how secure these seats are.

    About the one thing which doesn't feel stitched together here is the politics- the whole area is pretty solidly Conservative supporting, moving to No overall control only between 2000 and 2002. The main opposition here is the Lib Dems, and as in other areas where this is the case the Coalition has had relatively little effect- 2011 was a serious downturn for the Lib Dems, but this seems to have been turned around for 2012. Much of Reading appears to be made up of Lib Dem/Tory marginals, though the Greens have become the main opposition in a handful of seats, and it's interesting to note that Maiden Erleigh- which contains the rest of the University- is a Conservative safe seat, presumably indicating that the main student residential areas are in other wards.
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  8. Martin23230 Flags and Maps and SCIENCE!

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    In case that anyone's interested by what Alex mentioned in the Reading-Wokingham debate, I thought this map might help. It's something I'm understandably a little passionate about.

    rect9268.png

    So, this shows the area of Berkshire surrounding Reading, with the ward boundaries and urban areas shown. In gold is the Reading-Wokingham urban area as defined by the ONS, which is pretty neatly split by the M4 motorway, shown in blue, into "Reading" and "Wokingham" areas. The green area is the Whitenights campus of the University of Reading, which is reasonably central to the urban area. The issue comes with the red lines, which show the boundaries between the unitary authorities. Since Berkshire no longer has a county council these authorities control basically all of local government.

    The problem is, in short, that the Unitary Authority boundaries are horrifically outdated. They are almost entirely based on the old rural and urban districts which were created in the 1890s, meaning most of the borders haven't changed for over 120 years. This isn't exactly uncommon across England, but in this case you can clearly see just how much of the Reading urban area is outside of the Borough of Reading. The border even cuts through the University campus in an incredibly stupid way, a lot of the buildings such as the business school and humanities department are split in half. Again when these were just county subdivisions this wasn't a massive issue, but since the 90s each authority has its own planning policy, transport policy, social services etc...

    For Reading specifically there are roughly 155,000 living within the borough and more than 100,000 people living within the urban area but outside of Reading proper. If you had some sensible boundary reform to create a "Greater Reading" borough it would have a population of around 255,000 - that's about the same as Plymouth and Hull and more than Wolverhampton, Derby or Southampton. It would be by far one of the largest settlements in the South East and all the Home Counties. And yet for some reason not only is over a third of Reading outside its boundaries it's not even a city :mad:.

    The problem, as Alex mentioned, is that the eastern parts of Reading make up nearly half of the population of Wokingham Borough, which means its council is terrified of any expansion of Reading. When articles like this use quotes like imploring residents to "man the barricades", saying Wokingham borough should "arm itself" against any expansion, that Reading is making a "land grab" and that something as simple as a cross-border transport fund is described as a "Trojan horse" for Reading's "expansionist aims", you see the issue. It's not even classic NIMBY-ism, opposing development and the somewhat-reasonable desire to reduce urban sprawl and protect greenfield land: the population is already there. It's just changing a few lines making it a lot easier to coordinate anything from education to transport. My father's family have lived in Earley (part of Reading-in-Wokingham) for generations, and they would welcome uniting with the rest of the town where they work and who's services they use, it's a travesty that the surrounding councils are so set against it.

    Anyway, rant over. I hope you enjoyed this look into Home County local politics!

    rect9268.png
     
  9. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Good God, that rhetoric! If you'll excuse the Monty Python reference, Mr Hilter suddenly doesn't seem so out of place in English local politics.

    To give my perspective on the issue, this sort of thing happens all the time in Sweden too, but the areas left out of the municipal boundaries tend to develop an identity of their own that very much revolves around not being a part of the bigger city. In this case, what surprises me isn't that Wokingham calls to arms against Reading's expansion, it's that the citizens of Eardley and Woodley haven't already been banging this drum for decades.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2014
  10. LancyIain Eternal Typist

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    Don't you just love such inter-council fighting? I'm aware of something vaguely similar in Ipswich. There are plenty of people within the town (which at approximately 180,000 not quite as large as Reading but still quite large) who would like the entire urban area to become a Unitary Authority rather than the current two tier system. Whenever this has come onto the agenda though it has been opposed by Suffolk County Council and all the other councils that stand to lose areas to the new authority. I would be very surprised if there aren't quite a few similar stories up and down the country.
     
  11. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    Tell a lie, there is one other Berkshire council electing this year, but apparently my brain was momentarily refusing to acknowledge 1974. Next up then is Slough. Labelled ward map here.

    Historically in Buckinghamshire, Slough was originally a small hamlet at the point where the Royal road to Windsor met the Great West Road. This of course made it a prime location for transport once the stagecoaches and Great Western Railway came through, which was followed by the establishment of an army motor repair depot which became an industrial estate in 1925. The result was a population explosion, with Slough having the most ethnically diverse population of any locality outside London.

    Politically the Parliamentary seat started off as a Conservative seat, before being taken by Labour in 1997 and held since, while there's also a very small part of the ultra-safe Conservative seat of Windsor in the borough. On the council level, Slough has had some form of local government since the Local Health Board was established in 1863, and since 1946 has swung regularly, though with a significant lean towards Labour. Most recently was after the 2004 rewarding when the whole council was up for election, resulting in a cordon sanitaire being established between a coalition of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Liberal Party, Independents and Local Residents' Associations (which in 2004 also included a Langley Residents' Party). This was steadily whittled away by Labour- including a rather unusual swing towards the party in 2008 which bucked the national trend, possibly as a result of the divided opposition- until they regained control of the council in 2008.

    The entire council is up for reelection following a rewarding again this year, and it may well be one to watch. Since 2009 the council has been undertaking an ambitious and somewhat controversial redevelopment scheme, and while 2004 was obviously affected by other factors whole council elections often produce some interesting results (there tends to be very little in the way of split votes, with the party getting the majority in a ward tending to gain all the seats). The result here could have some interesting effects on the narrative that gets built up till next year.
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  12. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    Slough seems oddly marginal for such a diverse industrial place. Wonder if that's just a stereotype or if it is as deprived as we imagine it and the Home Counties are just working their usual wonders?

    Also, when do all the other councils in Berkshire vote? Is it every two years, or is this just the one electionless year in the four-year cycle for all of those?
     
  13. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    Slough's shifted from manufacturing to IT pretty successfully, so I think it's a combination of both.

    This is the electionless year. Don't ask me why they're set up this way though.
     
  14. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    Heading back over to the South West now for Cheltenham. Labelled ward map here. As a side note this is the area where my maternal grandmother's family is from, though I think she moved about the time of the war so it's not particularly helpful in this case.

    Cheltenham could perhaps be best described as 'Bath without the tourists'. It was a relatively minor market town up until 1716 when the discovery of mineral springs propelled it to the status of a Spa town, which was followed by a royal visit by George III and family in 1788. To this day the main railway station is called Cheltenham Spa as a nod to this.

    The town is also well known for it's superb and extensive collection of regency architecture- most of the town centre in fact- which includes Joseph Pitt's Pittville centred around the Pump Room to the north of the centre. Cementing Cheltenham's status as a fashionable location for the upper classes to visit, horse racing arrived in 1815, also continuing today and having somewhat outlived the spa in terms of tourist interest. Between these, it's probably no surprise that Cheltenham escaped industry until a small amount of high tech stuff arrived on the outskirts in the interwar period, most of which moved during the war to be safe from bombing raids. It's also the location of the Doughnut- the headquarters of GCHQ.

    Politically Cheltenham is a Lib/Con marginal area with a bias towards the Liberal Democrats that only seems to have grown with the coalition. Apart from a small area in Tewkesbury seat, most of the borough is in the eponymous Cheltenham constituency, which the Lib Dems gained from the Conservatives in 1992. The seat was where Douglas Dodds-Parker returned to Parliament after resigning over the Suez Crisis, and earlier had been the seat of Vere Ponsonby who would go on to become Governor General of Canada after inheriting his father's peerage. Despite its rather genteel nature, Cheltenham was also the location in 2000 for the strangest event I've yet come across while doing these, when the sitting MP (Nigel Jones for the Liberal Democrats) was attacked and badly wounded by a constituent during surgery using a samurai sword. Not so lucky was a county councillor (not borough though elected for the Hester's Way area) who ordered help to be called, pulled the assailant off him allowing him to get away, but was mortally wounded in the process.

    The borough council has swung regularly, and is elected biannually by halves. During the 2004-2008 period it was under no overall control with the local Resident's group People Against Bureaucracy as Kingmaker, but with 2008 seeing Lib Dem gains and the last of Labour's seats lost they were able to form a minority government before becoming the largest party in 2010. Interestingly enough the conservatives won the popular vote in 2006 and 2008, but because this was largely expressed in large majorities rather than in taking maginals the Lib Dems won the most seats both times. The PABG does rather well in the north of the borough, and this is currently one of the Lib Dem's few bright spots. Woe betide them then if they lose too many seats here this year.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Utgard96 basically a load of twaddle about freedom

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    He was attacked during surgery? How did the assailant manage to bring a katana into the operating theatre?

    For someone who isn't too closely up to tabs on British politics, what are the general party political trends for this election? Is the tide toward Labour we've seen in 2011 and 2012 continuing, or is the government winning back voters?
     
  16. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    Ah, sorry for the confusion. In British politics the term 'MP's Surgery' is used to mean 'one-on-one conversations with the constituents.

    Polls are currently averaging out at a couple of percentage points in favour of Labour, but whether that'll actually be seen in the results is another matter given Labour's problems with Local Election turnout and the limited possibilities for further gains in many places (anything less than a clean sweep in Slough for example could be interpreted as a decline relative to 2012 for example). In many ways the locals and Euros this year will be a big part of defining the narrative for the countdown to the General Election next year.
     
  17. Dom I'm the sensible one here, plebs Moderator

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    I've actually been using this thread as a resource when talking about politics at work :D
     
  18. Thande Ricky Carlson / David Alameel '20 Donor

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    Just got back from holiday in Northumberland and want to say a big well done for the continued contributions to the thread, both from the mapmakers and those providing local knowledge. I particularly enjoyed Geordie's explanation of the "can't vote Tory under any circumstances" phenomenon, which I have also seen a lot of, and Martin's description of the Reading/Wokingham answer to the Schleswig Question. It was actually quite reminiscent of all those stories from before the Reform Act of how a town was technically represented in Parliament, but the boundaries only covered a small part of what it had now grown up to encompass...

    Anyway, I couldn't quite get away from local government on my holiday because I ended up reading about Northumberland's local government in the paper. There used to be a county council on top of the boroughs, but in 2009 this was changed so the Tyneside conurbation was cut out of the county council and then the county council was turned into a unitary authority, with Berwick's council being abolished and absorbed. I'm not sure if there was any partisan motivation for this but it is true that Berwick-upon-Tweed, much like Alex's Cheltenham above, elected very few Labour councillors whereas the new unitary authority (including Berwick) is now Labour controlled. Anyway, the longstanding Lib Dem MP for Berwick (as the constituency is called, but it also includes a lot of the rural hinterland) Alan Beith is standing down at the next election, and the papers were reporting that one of Labour's councillors for the new unitary authority is going to stand for the parliamentary seat. Labour have only even managed to come second once since 1970 (in their landslide year of 1997) so I doubt he'll get anywhere, but the coalition may have changed the political landscape.

    Haven't done any maps because they're not electing again for a while and it's a bit of a special case, but just thought I would note it.

    Well, that's really the point of all these maps, it's us trying to gain some insight into the trends ahead of this election. My gut instinct is that Labour are going to gain seats but the tide will be less dramatic than 2011 and 2012, for two reasons: one, the economy's getting a bit better, and two, 2010 was already a good local election year for Labour (despite losing the parliamentary election) because they had their bigger general election turnout. That means they're starting from a higher floor this time, whereas in 2011 and 2012 they were facing the battlefield of 2007 and 2008 (respectively) which were both terrible local election years for Labour.

    The elephant in the room is UKIP. They hadn't really started their surge (or developed the organisation to go with it) at the 2012 local election. People have speculated that the euro-election being held contemporaneously might boost the UKIP performance in the local elections, but I really have no idea. People argue so much about where UKIP's votes are coming from (i.e. are they still mainly disaffected Tories to fit the stereotype, or what) so I think really these elections will provide a big clue for that.

    Great, that was in part my intention here.

    I keep forgetting the local elections are so much later this year because of the euro-elections, so before they roll around I think I'll do a couple of interesting North West England councils and then finish off with Yorkshire.
     
  19. Alex Richards A mapper I, from near Dar-bai. Donor

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    Meanwhile I'm finishing of Gloucestershire with another one to watch. Stroud. Labelled ward map here, though I should note that Over Stroud was renamed to Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe from 2010.

    Gloucestershire is a county dominated and shaped by the Severn, and this is quite evident in Stroud where the rather complex western boundary follows the river. Historically too it has been shaped by the river, for it was in the 5 valleys of Stroud that the wool from the sheep farms of the Cotswalds was bought and sold, and later manufactured in the mills of the industrial revolution. Apart from the market towns of Dursley and Cam further South, the district can be split quite neatly into the urban area of Stroud itself, and the rural hinterland.

    As such the area is politically quite marginal. The parliamentary seat of Stroud covering most of the district (save a few bits in the safe Tory seat of The Cotswalds) was won by Labour in the landslide of 1997, but regained on a small majority in 2010, while the council has spent rather more time out of the control of any one party than in it since it was created in 1976. The conservatives had the majority between 2002 and 2011, but since then have been operating a minority government. There's some very interesting trends going on in Stroud at the moment. The extensive no-election seats make things a bit difficult to disentangle, but based on the 2012 results Labour are in a position to gain the three seats they need to retake the council for the first time since 1998. Meanwhile the Lib Dems actually gained in votes in 2012 in their seats relative to 2008, and the town itself appears to have gone almost entirely over to the Green Party- a situation that pre dates even Iraq given that they won most of those wards in 2002. All in all this election may indicate the degree to which Labour are gaining seats from the minor parties.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Thande Ricky Carlson / David Alameel '20 Donor

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    We haven't seen many North West England councils yet, so here is Stockport. Labelled ward map here.

    Stockport is part of Greater Manchester, and formerly had two tiers of government before Margaret Thatcher abolished Greater Manchester County Council in 1986. Stockport is particularly interesting because it is probably the least Labour-leaning part of the conurbation (or at least of the eastern bit). This is surprising at first glance because Stockport fits the usual bill of a northern Labour-voting metropolitan borough: a textile town that grew up in the 18th and 19th centuries and first gained representation after the 1832 Great Reform Act. Stockport became specifically associated with hatmaking and the silk industry. Most of its notable native sons are actors. It was also the site of an infamous plane crash in 1967 which killed 72 people.

    Stockport's atypical politics are largely because it has some very wealthy areas as well as poorer ones in the northwest (bordering similarly wealthy Cheshire doubtless is an indicator) and is almost half green space. The Liberal Democrats built up their strength here over the years, usurping the Conservatives on the parliamentary level (in 2001, unusually, after falling just short in 1997) but have failed to entirely supplant them on the council level, as they have in some other metropolitan boroughs. Labour's support here is too geographically concentrated in the northwest, which hamstrings their ability to try to gain control of the council (they won the popular vote in 2011 and 2012, but were unable to translate this to many more seats). The Lib Dems remain the biggest party on the council, though they have now lost overall control. Labour attempted a decapitation strategy in 2012 by targeting the Lib Dem council leader in Offerton, and narrowly succeeded. Unusually the Lib Dems refused to continue to govern as a minority and flatly ruled out an agreement with the Conservatives, so I believe the council is now governed by the rotating committee system.

    Also, the ward of Heald Green is dominated by the local Ratepayers' Association (although they stand as independent/no description) and the only real question there is which party will come a distant second.

    This is definitely one to watch to gauge how the Lib Dems' support is holding up (or otherwise) in areas that remained loyal in 2011 and 2012.

    (There were no candidate deaths, I just left the symbol on by accident)

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