% of Spanish electorate not voting for any candidate vs % of electorate voting for winning party, 1977-2011

No tumbrils for Mariano just yet.

Katharine Ainger’s piece in the Guardian, The Spanish election is a mandate for the indignados is a classic feast of confusion and innumeracy served up for the mad and the stupid who howl outside the doors of their version of the Daily Mail in the hope that working class subsidies for the middle class will be fully restored. This for some reason they refer to as the End of Capitalism.

However, while her claim that the number of abstentions, spoiled ballots, and none-of-the-aboves exceeded of those for the PP is pure bollocks, I thought it would be of mild interest to apply her notion to data for all general elections since 1977 to see if the results correlate with my personal perceptions of democracy-in-danger moments. Here’s what the sheet says:

Hmm. Aznar survived, so I can’t see members of the incoming government feeling their necks to check their heads are still there just yet, particularly given that substantial numbers of people who didn’t vote for them will still sympathise with some of their objectives – CiU voters with reducing public extravagance except their own, PSOE voters who survived Vatican II unscathed with reducing the wastefulness of CiU and their ilk, etc etc.

Interpreting abstentions and none-of-the-aboves is notoriously difficult, which is perhaps why Ainger doesn’t try. One detail which I find immensely amusing, since it surely didn’t figure in the intentions of the generally pig-ignorant voters, is that voting nulo, rather than being a neutral gesture of disdain, actually favours large parties over small parties, due to application of the 3% cut-off. Perhaps they are actually trying to say something like, “I don’t honestly care whether you give me Coke or Pepsi, but don’t come near me with any of that other crap.”

I suppose if had to put on my demagogic black cap and announce an end to something, I’d probably anticipate state culture budgets being returned to taxpayers, allowing them to spend their money on absurd barrel organ music rather than having to watch it spent on their behalf on clichéd folk dancing. But, like Ms Ainger, I have no evidence to support that prediction, although I hope you’ll agree that as a case of wishful thinking it is far superior.

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