Friday, May 7, 2010

UK Election

Well yesterday was the general election in the UK. I must admit, for once it was not the uppermost thing on my brain due the media coverage at home and my interest in voting. I had all but forgotten it was going on. So for those who are not so familiar with British election rules and the different parties , here is a quick (if very simplistic) summary.....

I don’t mind saying that if I had been at home I would have voted Conservative. Labour and Brown are tired and devoid of any ideas, and I can’t see the Liberal Democrats ever being in contention unless.....

...well unless something happens that will favour them over the next few days.

As it stands right now here are the results..... (thanks to the BBC for the graphics!)


Now many people seeing this from other UK countries may immediately think that the Conservatives have won. Actually, it’s not that simple. To be able to immediately form a new Government they must have an outright majority with a minimum of 326 seats. As none of the parties have achieved this, we have what is known as a “Hung Parliament” - calm down ladies, it’s nothing to get excited about!

So, now here’s what happens - best summarised in the graphic below......


For sure there will now be frantic discussions up and down the corridors of power, positioning and posturing, to try and negotiate power. The Constitution means that until anything else is resolved, then Gordon Brown remains the British Prime Minister and has the first shot at forming a Government with the Liberal democrats. The Lib Dems are of course perfectly at liberty to have parallel talks with the Conservatives to see if they can negotiate a better deal. One of the Lib Dems main war cries is on electoral reform. They are not in favour of our current electoral “first past the post” system. They would rather a “Proportional Representation” system used in many other parts of the world, especially in Europe. This system would gives seats in Parliament equal in percentage terms, to the percentage of the vote received. This they argue is a fairer systems and is more representative of the electorate’s wishes. If one were a cynic, one might counter that they are only interested in it because it means then, that they would do better and have more chance of power. The LIb Dems would use this issue as leverage with both competing parties in their negotiations on joining a coalition to form a Government. It is widely believed that Labour would agree to a referendum on the subject to entice the Liberals to join them.

Personally, I think the swing in favour of the Conservatives shows the country’s mood and should give them a mandate to form a government, even a minority one. However, of course they are not in control of this decision making.

Interesting days lay ahead in British politics. In a way I am sorry I am not there to experience it, as it will be an election to go down in British history, but in another sense it is nice to dive into the news about when I want to and not have it rammed down my throat!

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