Two men who have collected ward election results for 30 years have done more than most to illuminate British democracy – Guardian Editorial 1st May 2013
For some men it’s rolling stock, for others batting averages, but two gents from Plymouth are surely unique in having made a 30-year fetish out of ward election results. Today is Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher’s hour in the sun – as shire England chooses new councils, they clamber out of their scholarly cupboard and hold broadcasters’ hands, explaining to the nation what to make of a muddling mosaic of local votes, staged in a different places each year. The duo’s meticulous year-round tracking of ward by-elections is easy to mock, but it is the only way in which the polls that so obsess Westminster can be checked against real votes. By faithfully mapping wards for so long, they can interpret what boundary changes mean for national elections too, a mix of art and science in which they have a distinguished record. Trainspotters? Perhaps, but Rallings and Thrasher have done more than most to illuminate British democracy…see original article here.