The 2017 general election was a hard fought affair, at least in those seats which had some prospect of changing hands.
This year just 70 of the UK’s 650 parliamentary seats changed colour, one of the lowest numbers on record.
One in four seats hasn’t changed colour since WWII. Thornton Heath is part of Croydon North, the 27th safest seat in the country, writes David Fell.
Ever since its creation in 1997 it has been a safe Labour seat which has got safer in five of the last seven elections.
While Thornton Heath has always been part of a safe seat – it hasn’t always been a red one. For the 20 years up to 1997 Thornton Heath was part of a seat which took in large parts of what today is Croydon Central – and was held by the Tories with a 10,000 vote majority. Since then a combination of boundary and demographic changes have steadily replaced the sea of blue with a red one.
Having been able to vote in the last four general elections, 2017 was by some margin the toughest to spot that there was an election going on. Posters were as thin on the ground as they ever have been in Croydon north and it seemed like the lion’s share of campaigning was going on a mile or so to the south in more marginal Croydon Central.
Over the last decade there’s been a steady rise in the number of safe seats, on both sides of the house. Parties understandably focus their attentions on trying to convert the small number of voters in the handful of seats which decide each election. But this has become self-reinforcing with less opposition campaigning in the growing number of safe seats, which in turn get progressively safer. So unless there’s a move away from first past the post, I won’t be expecting a politician, particularly a Conservative one, to come knocking on my door any time soon!