HE’s spent decades poring over thousands of statistics and sharing them with political colleagues ahead of key elections.
And now, in the year that he says a fond farewell to Leeds Civic Hall after 34 years’ service as a councillor, Neil Taggart has put together another edition of Taggart’s Tables.
The comprehensive non-partisan document, which he has published every election year at his own cost since 1983, has earned him comparisons to ‘Statto’ and to Peter Snow, the ‘swingometer’ king of UK TV’s election coverage.
Taggart’s Tables 2014 contains hundreds of facts and figures, based largely on results from the last Leeds council election in 2012 and statistics-based predictions for this year, which he uses to guess patterns in voting. It also lays out different scenarios depending on swings to and from the major parties, and examines the potential impact of smaller and growing parties.
So, the key question is, could control of Leeds City Council change this year after today’s crucial vote?
According to Mr Taggart, it is impossible for any party - apart from the already ruling Labour group - to take majority control this year.
Labour currently holds 63 of the 99 total seats. If the Conservatives won all 33 seats being contested today, they would have a total of 45, five short of the total 50 needed for a majority. Equally, if the Lib Dems won all 33 seats, they would have 39 in total, not enough for a majority.
Speaking of his fascination with numbers, Mr Taggart said: “I was an election agent for many years and it’s grown out of that. It was just an interest but became a labour of love really.
“When I first did it, we didn’t have the internet so we had to duplicate them, put stamps on and send them out. People had a vague idea of who they thought would win, so I thought, let’s put it in facts and figures.”
Contact Neil Taggart via @TigerTaggart or find him on Facebook for a copy of the document.