Labour’s Super Six: Sadik Al-Hassan, Yvonne Atkinson, Clare Moody, Andrew Adonis, Neil Guild and Jayne Kirkham
Nominations have now closed for candidates to take part in the European Parliament elections.
Labour stands an excellent chance of making significant progress, and it is possible that Cornwall's Jayne Kirkham, number three on Labour's list, might also get elected.
In the South West region, the last time these elections were fought in 2014, the UK Independence Party came top of the poll with 32% of the vote. Under the D’Hondt system of proportional representation used for Euro elections in England, Scotland and Wales – a regional list decided by political parties – this gave UKIP two seats.
The Conservatives were second with 29% of the vote, and also got two seats. Labour got only 14%, and one seat, and the Green Party just pipped the Liberal Democrats by 11.1% to 10.7%
The turnout in 2014 was 37%, which meant that about 1.5 million trekked to the polling station and cast their votes.
So much for 2014. Since then, we have had two general elections, the leaders of all the main parties have changed and we have had a referendum on our membership of the European Union. Things have changed.
In January of this year, the Houses of Commons library published a research paper which for the first time offered a detailed analysis of the most recent general election in 2017.
In the South West region, the Conservatives could hardly have done better. They won 47 out of 55 Parliamentary constituencies. They took 51.4% of all the votes.
Labour was second, taking seven seats and 29.1% of the votes. The Liberal Democrats got only one seat at 14.9% of the vote. The Greens got 2.3%. UKIP all but disappeared, with zero seats and only 1.1% of the vote.
The 2017 general election result was generally interpreted as evidence that the former UKIP vote had gone back to both its Conservative and, to a lesser extent Labour and Liberal Democrat, homes. The average general election turnout across the south west was around 72%.
Now this is where, if you are prepared to imagine an uneven 2019 Euro election turnout across the political parties, it starts to get interesting.
In 2017, Jeremy Corbyn’s new, mass-membership party, promoting the most radical manifesto for more than 40 years, persuaded 875,000 people to vote Labour in the South West. That’s 875,000 real people, not an opinion pollster’s projection.
In Cornwall, for the first time ever, Labour finished second in four out of six constituencies – ahead of the Liberal Democrats.
If those 875,000 people vote Labour again on 23rd May, but if the Euro election turnout remains at only 37% (or less) Labour is likely to take more than 58% of the vote. This would give Labour three of the six South West seats. And if Labour were to take three seats in the South West, who knows what might happen across the rest of the country.
Remember, the only leap of imagination required here is that Labour voters actually turn out. Labour can win the Euro elections on its own. There is no need for any electoral pact or agreement with the Liberal Democrats, or Greens, or with the new Change UK party – but it would certainly help if supporters of those parties loan their vote to Labour on 23rd May.