Scattered Thoughts On The British Election

My thoughts are scattered because I spent way too much time, and stayed up way too late, watching the BBC’s coverage first on C-Span and then via video stream on the interwebs:

  • The UK pundits were half right: they expected a “hung Parliament” and that’s happened. But they were convinced that the Liberal Democrats would break through to regain major party status: that balloon was popped. Or given the word hung, is that pricked?
  • The Tories won the most seats and most votes but their leader David Cameron wasn’t able to convince enough voters that they were no longer the nasty party. The Tory troglodytes are already restless at the failure of their leader to close the deal.
  • The pundits were convinced that Labour’s vote would collapse and that they’d finish third. Their vote declined by 6 points but they managed to dodge the third party bullet. Why? Gordon Brown stopped trying to make inane small talk with voters and did what he does best: feed raw meat to the Labour faithful. Brown has no small talk but is actually a pretty good speaker to a partisan crowd. The Labour slogan should have been some variation on this: A Tough Man For Tough Times. Instead, they tried to sell Gordon as Mr. Micawber when he’s really Bill Sikes…
  • The Lib Dems had delusions of grandeur after Nick Clegg’s success in the first debate so they aimed too high and lost their focus on picking off “marginal” seats. Those are seats where the other parties had small majorities in 2005 and appeared to be ripe for the picking. Instead, the Lib Dems barely increased their percentage of the vote and actually lost seats. Cleggmania was a mirage.
  • The BBC’s main presenter (anchor) David Dimbleby is an iron man at the age of 71. While younger reporters and commenters looked exhausted, Dimbleby looked fresh as a daisy after having been on the air for some 16 hours. In contrast, I looked pretty peekid when I had to unexpectedly go into work today. Yikes. I resembled a raccoon with a bad case of insomnia…
  • The best part of the evening was when Cabinet member Ed Balls survived what he dubbed a Tory attempt to “castrate the Labour party.” The Tories actually called it “decapitation” but given Ed’s name it’s more apt.
  • Speaking of Balls, he’s likely to be one of the candidates to succeed Gordon Brown as Labour leader when the election dust settles. The Brownite versus Blairite split will continue for a second generation, however, with Balls for the former and Foreign Secretary David Miliband for the latter. But Balls’ survival precludes a more Shakepearean struggle for the leadership between Brownite energy secretary, Ed Miliband and his Blairite brother. Holy sibling rivalry averted, Batman. Instead it will be Balls to the wall or something like that.
  • Now that the Tories are 20 seats short of a majority, Gordon Brown remains Prime Minister whilst the Tories and Lib Dems negotiate some sort of a coaltiony type deal. I expect Cameron to take Clegg to the cleaners because the Conservatives are ruthless fuckers hungry for power after 13 years out of office and the Lib Dems are hopeless goo-goos. Ruthless trumps hopeless any day. Of course, the progressive wing of Clegg’s party may well stage an Athenian style riot if they cut a deal with the Tories. Whatever hapens it won’t be dull.

I hope this rambling and discursive post made some sense to y’all. I’m too frakking tired to hyperlink but when in doubt readthe Guardian for the best coverage of British politics. As for me, to quote Ray Davies, “I’m scattered here, I’m scattered there, bits of me scattered everywhere.”

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6 thoughts on “Scattered Thoughts On The British Election

  1. Few things in life fill me with more silly joy than the rise of Ed Balls.

  2. Well, in all fairness getting 4 percent less of the vote shouldn’t really result in a party getting 1/6th the number of votes. The UK is just apparently not actually a Democracy. Good thing we broke from those people a while ago. Say what you will about our system, at no point will the Republicans ever get 30% of the vote and only 10 seats in congress.

  3. I agree that the UK needs PR. In 1983, the Liberal/SDP alliance got 25.4% of the vote and won only 22 seats. They *should* have won more this time but still only 80ish. The Conservatives will never go along with PR. Never. They may pretend to study it but Cameron would lose his caucus if they implemented it.

  4. why do the news put reporters on streets? where random people is the background can fuck with them? funny one on rising h the other day.

  5. Out of 30,000,000 votes cast, the Tories garnered 10,000,000 or one-third. Two-thirds of Brits voted against them. So why should Tories rule?

  6. Very good question, Mike. That’s why they’ll never go for Proportional Rep. Labour seems ready to change its position because it would seem to lead to a permanent center-left government. That’s why the Tories will not accept it. Even Mrs. Thatcher Tories never got more than 43% of the popular vote.

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