my in-depth analysis of the u.k. elections

heh. no, not really, but…right…here’s what i’ve got. u.k. electoral map on the left taken from here, via anatoly — genetic ancestry map on the right which appeared in this previous post. [click on image for LARGER view.]:


any patterns that match?

well, obviously, there’s the english vs. scottish divide — the two groups are genetically distinct-ish, and now they’re electorally very distinct. up in scotland, it’s funny that the orkney islanders didn’t follow the lead of most of the rest of scotland — they stuck to the lib dems rather than go with the scottish national party — and they are genetically their own little unique viking group. and they’ve been sticking to liberals or liberal democrats since 1950, thank you very much.

there’s also the english vs. welsh divide — the farther west you go in wales, where the population is more genetically welsh, the less they went for conservatives (like the english in england did). until you get to pembrokeshire, that is, where the population of “little england beyond wales” — which is genetically distinct-ish from the rest of the population in wales (see the upside-down yellow triangles labeled “s. pembrokeshire”) — voted conservative like the rest of the english.

northern ireland? northern ireland is its own story, which i hope you can figure out on your own.

ignoring london (’cause all sorts of people/s have moved to london, from all over the u.k. and the world), i find it very tempting to match the pattern of the labour regions — up in the northeast and northwest and in yorkshire and even southern wales — with the northumbrians, cumbrians, w yorkshire, and s pembrokeshire/welsh border populations on the genetic ancestry map. to be honest, though, the labour regions really match up much better with the former coal-mining/industrial regions of britain (as well as with several large contemporary urban areas, obviously — manchester, liverpool, newcastle, etc.):


this coal-mining-labour pattern is even more pronounced if you look at the election results from 2010 and see the regions of scotland which voted in labour mps back then. the only outlier, really, is anglesey. dunno why they like labour so much. mind you, even though they won in anglesey, labour did get only 31% of the vote there this time ’round. plaid cymru (the welsh nationalist party) got 30%.

so, regional labour party voters = the descendants of miners/industrial workers? the ones that didn’t leave for greener pastures? maybe. and/or this pattern reflects the highland-lowland/tees-exe line divide in britain, and what we’re seeing is a divide between the more manorialized english of the lowlands versus the not-very-manorialized subpopulations of the highlands — and the fact that there was coal in the highland regions is just a coincidence. dunno!

from the bbc, the share of the vote won by the conservatives in each constituency:

uk-electoral-map-2015-conservatives 02

rural areas voted for the conservative party more than urban areas in england. in fact, the spread is fairly even right across the country, just like the even spread of the ethnic english on the genetic ancestry map above. this isn’t the case in either wales or scotland — or northern ireland for that matter. there’s more support for the conservatives in the welsh border regions, where greater numbers of english (including normans, of course) settled. in scotland, there’s greater support for the conservatives in the lowlands rather than in the highlands.


uk-electoral-map-2015-labour 02

again, most support in those former mining/industrial urbanized regions. plus london. (also: this. (~_^) )


uk-electoral-map-2015-ukip 02

a fair amount of support quite evenly spread across england, wales, and even northern ireland. what’d they get? thirteen percent of the vote? less overall support in scotland. and not so much in london, of course. they only got one seat in parliament, though — an mp from clacton — ukip got 44% of the vote there. i dunno anything about clacton-on-sea, so you tell me why there. the party got 30% of the vote in rotherham, which makes plenty of sense. there’s a hotspot of ukip support up there judging by the map. there’s another hotspot to the east there — 34% of the vote went to ukip in the boston & skegness constituency. lot of eastern european immigrants in that area of the country. lot of locales along the thames estuary also with rather high support for ukip. just outside london (where there’s a lot of immigrants).

lib dems:

uk-electoral-map-2015-libdem 02

the orkney islanders, again. and quite a lot of support from the scottish highlanders! that was a surprise to me. and the northern lowlanders. is this some viking trend? and where is that in cumbria? westmorland and lonsdale? i dunno anything about that area of the country, except i hear they got a lot of lakes.



quite a lot of support across the board in scotland. over 40% of the vote almost everywhere (38% in the orkneys & shetland). lower support in some of the border regions toward northumbria.

green party:

uk-electoral-map-2015-green party

generally low support everywhere, but fairly evenly spread (low) support. the people of dál riata aren’t interested, though. (~_^) more support in the south of england? maybe?

plaid cymru:

plaid cymru

again, more support for the welsh national party in the west where people are more welsh — except for in pembrokeshire where they’re not so welsh.

any other patterns?

previously: free cornwall now! and random notes: 07/30/13

(note: comments do not require an email. dunno how the monster raving loony party did….)


  1. You should be in the NYT, HBD-Chick. You should be on too. But honesty is not a route to success in modern biology and I suspect Mr Unz is not a big fan.

    It would also be interesting to see an IQ map of the UK. This constituency probably isn’t a hot-spot:

    General Election 2015: Rotherham

    Labour Sarah Champion 19,860
    UKIP Jane Collins 11,414
    Conservative Sebastian Lowe 4,656

    What does Labour have to do? Sponsor a revival of the Moloch cult? But I bet if Labour tried to ban TV and the lottery they’d be in trouble. People who vote Labour, SNP and Green remind me of this quote by Nietzsche:

    In the doctrine of socialism there is hidden, rather badly, a “will to negate life”; the human beings or races who think up such a doctrine must be bungled. Indeed, I should wish that a few great experiments might prove that in a socialist society life negates itself, cuts off its own roots. The earth is large enough and man still sufficiently unexhausted; hence such a practical instruction and demonstratio ad absurdum would not strike me as undesirable, even if it were gained and paid for with a tremendous expenditure of human lives. (The Will to Power, Book One: European Nihilism, #125, translated by Walter Kaufmann)

    Written in 1885.


  2. What do you know about that one region in Scotland where the Tories won? “Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale”


  3. Dumfries; fortress of the Friesians. Dumfries and it’s neighbour Galloway resisted Bonny Prince Charlie.


  4. Beware one thing: the “first-past-the-post” distorts the election results as measured by seats in parliament.


    There is an even better picture at The Economist.

    On our site I wrote:

    The solid circle shows the how the actual number of votes cast was split. The solid coloured blocks within the solid circle show the number of seats won (there are 650 seats in the UK House of Commons).

    The empty coloured blocks show the number of seats that the party would have won had it been directly proportional to the number of votes cast.

    The solid coloured blocks outside the circle show the extra seats gained due to the first-past-the-post system.

    Both major parties, Labour and Conservative, have many more seats than they have as a percentage of votes cast.

    It is the reverse for the smaller parties, except for the SNP (Scottish National Party). SNP is different because its votes were geographically concentrated, allowing to win extra seats.

    UKIP won about as many votes (12.7%) as SNP (4.7)% and the Liberal Democrats (7.9%) together yet it has only one seat. By contrast, SNP, with only 4.7% of the vote, has 56 seats.

    Even Scotland is not as solid as it seems. They did not get a huge majority of the vote.

    I will attempt to add an image. Not sure how it is done using WP’s crappy comment system (Sorry but I hate it, it is very primitive) I will enter the HTLM from the post.

    Since it does not permit editing it the image load fails, here is link.


  5. Try the same thing for the ’56 election. The Conservatives won the majority of Scottish seats then. You can’t tell me that the genetics has changed radically in two generations.

    By the way, I don’t believe that coalfield map. There surely wasn’t a band of coalfields along the northern side of the Solway Firth; or at least if there was I’ve never heard of it. There was a small coalfield, though, at the northern end of Nithsdale, and I’m not sure it’s shown there. (There’s a wee dot to the east of the Ayrshire field: maybe that’s meant to be an approximate representation of it, though I doubt it.)


  6. I think the coal thing is a correlation with the hajnal line as the coal was mostly in the hilly uplands areas to the north and west of Britain and it’s those hilly uplands that marked the boundary of the hajnal line (roughly).

    The hajnal thing today may be clearer when looking at second places where you see Ukip within the hajnal line and the Liberals in the *non-industrial parts* over the hajnal line.

    (I think there’s an industrial vs rural split layer laid over the top of the genetic layer and it’s the combination of the two that gives the result. The weighting of these two layers has changed over time. In the past the industrial vs rural split was dominant hence mainly a Labour vs Conservative split over the whole territory but over the last 30 years or so the weighting has started to shift towards root genetics.)

    I think the genetic layers may be coming to the surface more now because of a) a reaction to the EU trying to homogenize everyone and b) economic problems.

    If you look at Ukip’s second places specifically it is both hajnal line and weight towards the most heavily Saxon areas along the south and east coast.


  7. @Frau Katze

    “The image load failed. Yet I am sure I have seen people add images to your comments.”

    Sometimes it works and sometimes it goes to spam – dunno why but maybe something to do with the site being linked blocking it?


  8. I think a big part in Orkeny&Shetland voting for Liberals comes from the Crofters’ Holdings (Scotland) Act 1886 (the act was passed during a Liberal gov)


  9. @ hbdchick – “the only outlier, really, is anglesey. dunno why they like labour so much.”

    The port of Holyhead is on Anglesey, which is the largest town on the island and is a major ferry port serving passengers to/from Britain and Ireland. There are large numbers of current and ex- employees of the Port Authority and also the nearby Wylfa Nuclear Power Station who undoubtedly vote Labour. Plus not all inhabitants of Anglesey are actually ‘ethnically Welsh’ or Welsh-speaking; there are many northern English people living there. This is in contrast to the other side of the Menai Straits where Plaid Cymru has strong support among the Welsh-speaking population. In Holyhead I met residents who have a strong Welsh accent but don’t speak the language, and have family origins in Ireland, Northern England, London, and many who are children and grandchildren of WW2 Dutch sailors who were based there during the war and had married local women.


  10. @dearieme – “Try the same thing for the ’56 election. The Conservatives won the majority of Scottish seats then. You can’t tell me that the genetics has changed radically in two generations.”

    well, i don’t think that there are “genes for voting for party x” — but instead genes that predispose one to act (or respond) in certain ways given the circumstances. and if your population has high frequencies of certain genes….


  11. @grey – “I think the coal thing is a correlation with the hajnal line as the coal was mostly in the hilly uplands areas to the north and west of Britain and it’s those hilly uplands that marked the boundary of the hajnal line (roughly).”

    yeah, i like this idea, too. haven’t fully convinced myself of it yet, but i like it! (*^_^*)


  12. “genes that predispose one to act (or respond) in certain ways given the circumstances”: no doubt. The Scots just happen to be blessed with genes for voting Tory (until about 1960), then increasingly Labour, and now not Labour at all. Very like a whale!


  13. Here are the election results for 1955 (not ’56, sorry).,_1955

    There were then 70 Scottish seats. One was Liberal (Orkney and Shetland), 36 Conservative (they would actually have been called Conservative and Unionist, or National Liberal Conservative), and 33 Labour (who would have been called Labour, or Labour and Co-operative).

    There are three distinctive features. (i) Labour held seats where there was heavy industry – coal, steel, shipbuilding, (ii) Labour held seats with large Roman Catholic Irish populations, (iii) The Conservatives held seats almost everywhere else, bar the Outer Isles and Northern Isles.

    So: 33 socialists, and 37 anti-socialists. To try and describe that pattern as “genetic” is entirely fanciful. But it does probably relate to the brief time that the 1945 Labour government’s reforms of the Welfare State had been in place. Once you had a generation that was entirely used to spongeing off the state, voting patterns changed. Such spongeing was naturally likelier to occur in places where the traditional industries were in decline, and to spread out from there. The same pattern shows up in England.


  14. When I was a fresher (which was not recent) I met a chap from a County Durham mining village. He told me that until he arrived at university he’d never met a Tory.

    I remember him listening to a discussion in the Common Room where arguments were batted to and fro with such vigour and speed that his jaw dropped. It’s not good for the intellect, living in a socialist bubble – especially a rather dim-witted socialist bubble.


  15. @dearieme

    To try and describe that pattern as “genetic” is entirely fanciful.

    I think that it shows that people who are genetically close are likely to have similar responses to political events or questions. Additionally, it shows the innate desire to conform to one’s group. I don’t know much about the political permutations in GB but I do know a little about American politics. Fifty years ago 90% of the white people in my state voted Democratic, now 90% vote Republican. And yes, it is genetic.

    It’s not good for the intellect, living in a socialist bubble –

    From a socialist’s point of view, one person’s intellect is not as important as the intellects of the many.


  16. Ukip vote clacton-on-sea, lots of north, east Londoners have retired there over the last 30+ years.


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