Analysis indicated that reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600 - as the boundary changes would have done - would have hit Labour and the Lib Dems harder than the Conservatives. In fact, the Tories would have been closer to a majority in 2010 (although notably would still have achieved to have gained one), had the election been fought over the proposed new boundaries.
The reason why this is so bad for the Conservative Party is because they will need every seat they can get. The failure of the reform will exacerbate the other four main reasons why the Conservative Party is unlikely to get a majority in 2015 - reasons the media frequently downplays or ignores:
- First, its worth reminding ourselves that David Cameron and the Tory Party failed to win an election in 2010 after 13 years consecutive year of an increasingly unpopular Labour Party in power - the latter led by a very unpopular leader in Gordon Brown.
- Second, Cameron's failure to win a majority in 2010 bodes even worse for 2015, considering no sitting Prime Minister has increased their share of the vote since Harold Wilson's re-election in 1974.
- Third, leadership ratings - an increasingly reliable pointer to election outcomes in modern politics - now show Ed Miliband and David Cameron neck-and-neck, after more than a year of Cameron being ahead on the measure.
- Fourth, the economy is in pretty dire state, especially considering the (now very optimistic-looking) forecasts the OBR were making in 2010 - with manufacturing survey after manufacturing survey after manufacturing survey also showing the 'rebalancing' of the economy is going nowhere. The Tories' original hopes that the history-defying attempts to create economic recovery through austerity and then bring in election-winning tax cuts just before the 2015 election are now a fading dream. It was a gamble, founded on ignorance of history, that has failed - as Nobel-prize winning US economist Paul Krugman never tires of pointing out.