Doing some more work on the GE2019 data set this regional breakdown of the vote was striking to me. Looking at the Conservative voter regionally, the region of England with the highest mean Tory vote across its constituencies was the West Midlands. Imagine predicting that twenty, or even ten years ago, and most people would have given you funny looks. I told someone else who knows the region well, and they just shook their heads and said, “How is that possible?”.
Nearly all the big outliers in the West Midlands are areas of Birmingham which are still strongly Labour but look at the places the Tories took. In Wolverhampton the Tories won two of the three seats, and the third seat (Wolverhampton South East, with a Labour majority of only 1235) also nearly fell to the Tories. It’s a region I have some connections with so it interests me, but the outcome of GE2019 here doesn’t surprise me at all. Many parts of the West Midlands are struggling badly and I still see the region as somewhat left of centre, but it is undoubtedly a relatively culturally conservative place and I imagine Corbyn’s brand of international socialism (which in many ways was quite run of the mill European social democracy) will likely have gone down very badly on the doorstep (particularly with older white voters) in these parts.
Here’s the density distribution of the Labour and Tory votes in the West Midlands. Fairly crushing in first-past-the-post politics.
For comparison, here’s the same density distribution for London. Two completely different countries in many ways.