Safe seats: today’s Rotten Boroughs

Hugo Swire sent a rather whining letter to the Express and Echo complaining that the Electoral Reform Society had made a mistake and so East Devon is NOT a marginal seat but a safe seat and it is HIS safe seat, so there!

Had he read on further in that post he would have seen them say this about safe seats:

“Safe seats are the 21st Century’s rotten boroughs. The average constituency last changed hands between parties in the 1960s, with some super safe seats having remained firmly in one-party control since the time of Queen Victoria.

The majority of seats can be predicted because of Westminster’s broken First Past the Post electoral system.

As consituencies are small and only elect one MP, rival parties often don’t stand a chance of winning in hundreds of seats across the UK. Even if they have significant support it counts of nothing if they lose. As the loss of safe seats is rare, parties target their resources on a small number of floating voters in marginal seats – meaning they give up on millions of voters across the country

You can find out how much parties spent on your vote here.


4 thoughts on “Safe seats: today’s Rotten Boroughs

  1. When he was Seaton’s MP pre 2010 and we needed his help (which we didn’t get) I asked why he was no longer holding surgeries in the town. I got a House of Commons letterhead communication saying it was too far (12 miles) for his Woodbury employees to travel. I suspect that, as it was just before the boundary changes, he just couldn’t be bothered.


  2. So which is it then? A safe seat or a marginal seat?

    If it is a safe seat then according to the influential Electoral Reform Society, Hugo Swire is the MP of “a rotten borough”!! If you don’t want East Devon to be “a rotten borough” vote for someone else like Claire Wright.

    If he wanted to, he could have left us all thinking that it was a “marginal seat” and been able to yell triumphantly at the end of the election if he won-back the “marginal seat” and prevented those “useless Independent Candidates” who “cannot influence government” from being elected instead – I guess strategy (i.e. thinking through the logic) is not one of his strong points.

    And of course, if it is indeed a safe seat, you can vote for another candidate like Claire Wright confident that this will not result in a non-Tory government.

    On the other hand, if it is really a marginal seat, and he knows it, his letter would seem to be the desperate last act of a desperate man. But of course, any sensible politician would have checked whether using the ERS as a reference for his seat and by inference himself was a good idea – or would the ERS be saying something elsewhere which would end up being a gotcha. Yup – yet another spectacular own-goal by Hugo.

    And if it is a marginal seat, then your vote can really make a difference to what happens in East Devon. Hugo has not done anything significant for East Devon for the past 5 years, instead spending his time jetting around the world as a VERY highly paid Minister of State, wining and dining with other big-wigs and not having the time or inclination to think about how he could help resolve issues here in East Devon – a vote for Hugo is a vote for stagnation, apathy and disdain. On the other hand a vote for Claire is one for someone who demonstrates every week that she is determined to represent her voters and make a difference.

    Poor Hugo – caught through logic between a rock and a hard place yet again. Sometimes you do have to feel sorry for him – though obviously not sorry enough to cast a sympathy vote for him!!!!


    • I do think it is a case of a competent MP, who has for years been convinced that everybody in East Devon loves him.
      That love affair has been some what tarnished because of the fact that he has not in this last 5 years shown the acknowledgement that he cares enough.
      He may be waking up to the fact that his safe seat, is fast becoming a Hot Seat and a little uncomfortable.


    • I have no idea whether he used to be a “competent MP” but if his current attitude of disdain is anything to go by it is difficult (if not impossible) to imagine that he was ever a “competent MP”. Put simply, I just can’t see how someone could change that much – from a caring MP who was genuinely interested in what was happening in his constituency to someone who couldn’t care a jot and has no sympathy whatsoever with the less advantaged and appears complete disconnected with his constituents. Sorry – but that requires a stretch of imagination that I cannot achieve.


Comments are closed.