I think I just completed a course in British Politics 101 in a 24-hour period.
I should see if UNT could give me credit for this.
Jon Stewart. Oh, some breaking news from Steven Colbert (the only GOOD thing to come out of Charleston, SC).
If you don't have cable or satellite, this was probably the only coverage you saw of the election here in the US.
So… You want to know more?
The correspondent for BBC Americas said, "And Americans think cricket is complicated…"
Oops…. Wrong election. And wrong country.
Again…. Wrong election.
And STILL, wrong country.
The United KINGDOM General Election from LAST NIGHT?!
Who's running this thing?!
There we go!
TOTAL VOTES: 29.7 million
SWING: 5% from Labour to Conservative
Complete Breakdown of the Parties
The Geographical map on the BBC is misleading. It shows that the Conservatives dominated the election. It is best to click on Proportional to better see the urban areas and get a more accurate understanding of the election to see where the Lab/Con split was. It appears that Labour did well in urban areas while the Conservatives did well in rural areas. fivethirtyeight.com (which probably was sixfifty.com for a brief period over the last few days) talks of a north/south split when it comes to analyzing this election.
Oh, and if you want to see how well far right wing parties (in terms of European politics) do in the UK, the BNP FAILED yet again to get a seat in Parliament. Whew! (Comedian takes on the BNP)
If you noticed, I wrote down 649/650 seats reported. One seat in the constituency of Thirsk and Malton will be voted on three weeks AFTER the election due to the death of a candidate.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Here is what happened late last night and this morning (or here in the US: yesterday afternoon, into the evening, and late at night….).
Immediately after the polls closed at 10 PM (London), the BBC/ Fox Sky/ITV News Exit Poll was displayed on Big Ben. The Exit Poll projected a "Hung Parliament" with the Conservatives led by David Cameron expected to win 307 seats, short by 19 needed for an absolute majority. Gordon Brown's Labour party came in second with 255 seats. The most shocking in the Exit Poll was the Liberal-Dems, projected in some opinion polls to make substantial gains due to the rise of Nick Clegg. The Exit Poll projected the Lib-Dems to have 59 seats in the new Parliament, a projected loss of 3 seats from the 2005 UK General Election.
There were reports of voters in line being turned away from voting at EXACTLY 10 PM when the polls closed. BBC's David Dimbleby, when hearing of this story, said, and I quote: "This is Third World politics."
Welcome to the American election system.
Labour took an early lead in the evening, but in Gordon Brown's constituency victory speech (if any party leader was going to continue their service in Parliament, they have to win their seat) at his count in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath, the events of the evening began to dawn on him.
Meanwhile, David Cameron delivered what could be analyzed as a victory speech for the Conservatives at his constituency count in Witney.
If you are wondering which party the guy with the white suit and hat with the oversized bright yellow ribbon belongs to, he is a member of the Monster Raving Loony Party. Unlike the BNP, they're more of a "we're just here for grins and giggles" group. The American equivalency would be Stephen Colbert's Presidential run during the early part of the 2008 primaries.
Nick Clegg retained his seat in Parliament in the Sheffield Hallam constituency, but lamented on the Liberal Democrats failure to meet the high expectations set after the FIRST EVER TELEVISIED joint live studio audience debate between the main candidates (If you have an hour and a half to waste, entire debate).
I was impressed with the BBC's Election Coverage. Especially in the moments when they utilized green screen technology to explain what was going on. Do a compare and comparison. (Election Night in America, 2008: NBC, BBC)
On May 7, 2010 at 9:41 AM history was made in the United Kingdom.
The last time that an election resulted in a Hung Parliament was February 1974 (scroll to the bottom).
Why does that result look SO familiar?
Bender’s Big Score explains what happened during the 2000 election (watch the first 35 seconds).
Heath: The Conservatives received the MOST votes from the citizens of the United Kingdom during the recent general election. Therefore, the citizens have chosen the Conservatives as the MOST popular party in the United Kingdom.
Wilson: Ah… BULLOCKS!! SLAG OFF, YEH LIMEY WANKAH!!
Speaker of the Commons: OR-DAH! OR-DAH!
(NOTE: Not actual quotations, but HORRIBLE impersonations)
SO, WHAT HAPPENS?
If Brown or Cameron desire to reside at 10 Downing Street, they are going to have to form a coalition government with Clegg's Lib-Dems in order to get above the magic number of 326.
The only possible way for Gordon Brown to remain Prime Minister is to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats PLUS some other minor parties that are similar to Labour.
For David Cameron, it is simple: begin talks with the kingmaker, Nick Clegg.
If that does not make sense, remember in the US Senate it is listed as 59-41 Democrats. Technically, it is 57 Democrats, 41 Republicans, and 2 Independents. The two independents (Joe Lieberman of CT and Bernie Sanders of VT) caucus with the Democrats.
I highly doubted that the Liberal Dems would form a coalition with Labour due to Gordon Brown's popularity is downright toxic in part due to the economy and his comment on the campaign trail about a voter (play the video). As the returns were coming in, I posted as a Facebook status that a Con-Liberal Dem coalition was more likely than a Labour-Liberal Dem coalition. Someone thought I was crazy suggesting that because it would be similar to the Democrats and Republicans forming a coalition in this country. My rationalization was three things:
1. According to Occam's razor: The Math.
2. Such a coalition would not be because both parties are similar. If you want to assign a name for this Conservative-Liberal Dem coalition, I'd call it the "Send Mr. Brown an order to vacate the premises of 10 Downing Street ASAP" Party. Besides, more voters voted for the Conservatives AND the Liberal Dems than they did Labour. A Labour-Lib Dem alliance, even though garnered more popular votes than the Conservatives, would be seen as illegitimate by the electorate. Which brings me to point number three...
3. This statement by Nick Clegg as he returned to his party's HQ in London (story)
Both Brown (story) and Cameron (story) spoke at their headquarters trying to garner support from the Liberal Dems. The ball is clearly in Nick Clegg's court.
Clegg could either form a coalition with the Conservatives (very likely) or tell both parties to "piss off." If that happens, Cameron could govern the country in the minority, meaning that his party has the most seats BUT not the absolute majority. Coalitions would be formed in order to pass the day-to-day stuff.
The last time that happened…. You guessed it: 1974. Eight months later, an election was held resulting in an outright Labour victory both in the number of seats AND popular vote.
Again…. This looks familiar.
Now, the monarchy, in this case Queen Elizabeth II, can intervene if necessary. Usually it is advised that the queen stays out and let the politicians sort it out. I doubt that she will step in, but she will monitor the situation closely.
WHAT THE @#%&!? ??!!! EXPLAIN?!
Remember the 2006 Texas Gubernatorial Election? (Nod your head yes)
All right, let's say the Parliament of Texas has 100 seats. In order to govern in Austin, a party needs 51 seats.
Republicans led by Rick Perry won 39 seats. Democrats led by Chris Bell won 30 seats. Independents led by Carole Keeton Strayhorn won 18 seats. The Kinky Party led by Richard "Kinky" Friedman won 12 seats. James Werner will be the lone Libertarian in this FICTICIOUS parliament scenario.
Now because the Republicans were the majority party going into the election with 58 seats, Rick Perry maintained his position as Prime Minister (I hate to give our governor MORE delusions of grandeur, but bear with me through this EXAMPLE). Since NO party reached that magic number of 51, he gets the first chance to form a government. He could form a coalition with his party PLUS other parties in order to reach 51. The same could be said for the Democrats, if "Prime Minister" Perry is unable to form a government. He could also govern in the minority (Governor 39%).
All I can say is keep following the BBC for more developments.
Who Am I?
- I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.
All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.