Some political theories are easier to test than others. My theory linking geology to voting patterns can be seen to work fairly well by comparing a geological map of Britain with a political map. The broad sweeps of chalk land correspond very closely to the Conservative heartlands of rural England, Labour has its historical strengths in the coalfields and the Liberal Democrats have a near-monopoly on the granite uplands around the Celtic fringes of the country.
Paddy Ashdown has a theory that among potential defectors, it is the ‘toffs’ who will take the plunge and change parties. I put this theory to the test and have managed to prove statistically that Paddy Ashdown is correct. Richer, better-educated politicians are indeed more likely to defect than their colleagues.
Paddy also has another theory, which is much harder to test. He calls this Jack Russell Protocol. It says that Jack Russell owners tend to vote Liberal Democrat. He added weight to his argument by quoting an example from when he was canvassing for the 1983 election and he spotted a man with a dog which was half Jack Russell and half dachshund. The man said that he had ‘half-decided to vote Liberal’. I am tempted by this idea, as my parents had a Jack Russell and voted Liberal.
There is no dog map or detailed survey of Jack Russell ownership, so this theory is going to be harder to prove than the others. The (not at all scientific) anecdotal evidence so far suggest that Jack Russell owners are often Lib Dem supporters, sometimes Conservatives, but rarely Labour, Ukip or Green.