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The Other Side forums - suitable for mature readers! _ Daily life _ UK Election time!

Posted by: Mata May 6 2010, 12:25 PM

Please don't let the Tories win. Please don't let the Tories win...

It seems like around 90% of the people I know are voting Lib Dems, 9% are going for Labour, and abotu 1% want the Tories back in power to rape and pillage the land. The annoying thing is that I suspect that the Tories are going to win. Poop.

Anyway, I hope all you Brits have voted!

Posted by: CheeseMoose May 6 2010, 05:36 PM

I'd say most of the people I know, including me, vote Labour. But then most of the people I know, including me, live in Manchester, so it's expected. It's quite odd how far the people I know is from a representative sample of the population, but then people in the North haven't forgotten what happened last time the Tories got in.

Posted by: CarefulMarshmallowHiddenDragon May 6 2010, 05:45 PM

Yep. Voted lib dem because they have more chance of winning than labour where I'm at. If only your friends' politics reflected those of the country as a whole, Mata. Sadly most people seem to buy into the "change! change!" bs David Cameron won't shut up about and hold Gordon Brown personally responsible for the recession so the most likely outcomes are a tory win or hung parliament.

What did you guys think of the debates?

Posted by: Daria May 6 2010, 08:00 PM

I spoilt my ballot. Whoever you vote for, the government gets in, nothing will change, it will only be f***ed up in a slightly different way.


Posted by: Lurker in the Dark May 6 2010, 08:17 PM

Happy Daria then?

Yup, voted LD. There was a queue at my polling station and there's a distinct possibility they'll get in round here cause they've shuffled the boundaries. Hanging on for 22:00 and I'll stick the radio on for a bit if I wake up in the night.

Posted by: Daria May 6 2010, 08:51 PM

ANARCHIST DARIA IS SO AAAAANGRRRYYYYYY! *stomps about a city, Godzilla stylee, smashing all that gets in her way*

Posted by: Yannick May 6 2010, 09:54 PM

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. I don't know if it's from this election, because he says it's from the last time he voted.

Posted by: syuu May 6 2010, 10:17 PM

all of my british politic knowledge comes from this passage in bridget jones' diary: the edge of reason:

"Are you alright?" whispered Mark out of the corner of his mouth.
"Yes," I muttered, head down.
"You're..quivering. Come on. What is it?"
Eventually I had to tell him.
"So I vote Tory, what's wrong with that?" he said, staring at me incredulously.
"Shhhh," I whispered, looking nervously round the table.
"What's the problem?"
"It's just.." I began, wishing Shazzer were here, "I mean, if I voted Tory I'd be a social outcast. It would be like turning up at Cafe Rouge on a horse with a pack of beagles in tow, or having dinner parties on shiny tables with side plates."
"Rather like this, you mean?" He laughed.
"Well, yes," I muttered.
"So what do you vote then?"
"Labour, of course," I hissed. "Everybody votes Labour."
"Well, I think that's patently been proved not to be the case, so far," he said. "Why, as a matter of interest?"
"Why do you vote Labour?"
"Well," I paused thoughtfully, "Because voting Labour stands for being left wing."
"Ah," He seemed to think this was somehow hugely amusing. Everybody was listening now.
"And socialist," I added.
"Socialist. I see. Socialist meaning.."
"The workers standing together."
"Well, Blair isn't exactly going to shore up the powers of the unions is he?" He said. "Look what he's saying about Clause 4."
"Well, the Torries are rubbish."
"Rubbish?" he said. "The economy's in better shape now than it has been in seven years."
"No it's not," I said emphatically. "Anyway, they've probably just put it up because an election's coming."
"Put what up?" He said. "Put the economy up?"
"How does Blair's stand on Europe compare to Major's?" Louise joined in.
"Yar. And why hasn't he matched the Tory promise to increase spending on health year by year in real terms?" said Prince Andrew.
Honestly. Off they went again all showing off to each other. Eventually could stand it no longer.
"The point is you are supposed to vote for the principle of the thing, not the itsy-bitsy detail about this percent and that percent. And it is perfectly obvious that Labour stands for the principle of sharing, kindness, gays, single mothers, and Nelson Mandela as opposed to braying, bossy men, having affairs with everyone shag-shag-shagging left right and center and going to the Ritz in Paris then telling off the presenters on the Today program."
There was a cavernous silence round the table.
"Well, I think you've got it in a nutshell there," said Mark, laughing and rubbing my knee. "We can't argue with that."

Posted by: michael1384 May 6 2010, 10:23 PM

It looks like the Tories might win. This makes Michael angry! MICHAEL SMASH! Damn safest Tory seat ever.

Posted by: CheeseMoose May 7 2010, 02:48 AM

QUOTE (Yannick @ May 6 2010, 10:54 PM) *
A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. I don't know if it's from this election, because he says it's from the last time he voted.


That's from the European Parliament elections last year.

Posted by: Tarantio May 7 2010, 04:18 AM

It's the 2004 U.S. election all over again as far as the sinking feeling in my belly is concerned. Except now this affects me directly :/

I didn't get registered in time to vote, would have voted Lib Dem, and would have needed about another 6000 votes to make a difference in my current constituency; I'm not terribly upset that I missed out, but only due to hindsight.

As I type this, the Tories are about 50 seats ahead, which has all happened in the last hour. The coalition that some people are talking about, whilst an intriguing glimmer of hope, will probably only lead to more public disapproval (doubtlessly fuelled by the media) of left wing parties. Perhaps as a nation we're better off being reminded just how incorruptably evil the Tories are every now and then so that we can decisively vote them out next time? Gah...

The other major issue for myself is the complication of living in Scotland; so far we have elected one tory MP. Compare that to 40 Labour, 9 Lib Dems and 6 Scottish National Party, you get the general idea that the tories are NOT popular up here. In addition, we have our devolved parliament as well, currently headed by the Scottish National Party (and with, as far as I'm aware, about the same low proportion of Tories). If, as predicted, this election leaves us with a Conservative government in Westminster, a very large part of extremely important policies (defence, economics, public spending and others) will be determined by a political party that holds less than 2% of the representation of Scotland. Basically, when faced with the Tories, Scotland said an overwhelming "NO!" and because of the much greater percentage of prats English representatives, we're being told "tough luck". For a country of such independent spirit, this could be fairly difficult to swallow, and it's a painful reminder that our devolved government is still a long way away from being enough of a counter to the overwhelming influence of the English vote in our country.

I'm not saying that I don't like being governed by the English; our country as a whole wants something very different to England, however, and I feel fairly justified in pointing out the unfairness inherent in the current system here, especially since the outcry from Westminster when a Scottish constituency's representative became P.M. a few years back, as if all of a sudden we were going to be dictating to them as a people. As far as my own personal view of Westminster governance goes, I disagree with a lot of the policies in place in England, especially in education, defence and immigration; thankfully, the Scottish government has power over the first of these, and our level of funding for education is actually still improving. With the Westminster government deciding how much money goes to the Scottish government each year, however, ultimately our economic future is still in their hands, and you'll forgive me (and the rest of Scotland) for not wanting those hands to be Conservative, as England is dictating to us.

I should probably mention, for context's sake, that I'm not personally interested in an independant Scotland; I believe that the obvious benefits with regards to funding and governance would be heavily offset by the complications arising from all of a sudden having a technically foreign country attached to us. I do, however, want to see an increase in the responsibilities of our devolved parliament, in order for our decisive political preference to have a larger effect on our lives as Scots, as well as Brits.


Posted by: Novander May 7 2010, 11:06 AM

My voted mattered! I'm quite happy with that. My constituency is Norwich South, where Charles Clarke has been Labour MP since the greeks invented democracy. Lib Dem took the seat today with a majority of about 300, so my vote really counted.

I mean, the rest of the country is falling apart with tories stradling a hung parliament and I don't know a lot about politics so I have no idea what that really means, but my vote counted.

Posted by: Tarantio May 7 2010, 12:37 PM

Woo! Nice one, Novy. A friend of mine recently moved to Brighton, and whilst I'm unsure which way he voted, if he did, I know he's excited about their result (as am I).

I've been watching the coverage since last night (hooray for no sleep!), and it's actually becoming really interesting. It looks to be that if Labour try to form a coalition, every single left-wing minority party will be important in achieving that; the welsh parties, the scottish parties, the lib dems and even possibly the single green constituency, depending on how the last few votes fall. Whilst I wouldn't have voted for Labour, they would be my second choice, and with their policies tempered with the Lib Dems, SNP, welsh and irish parties and perhaps even the Green party, a much more widespread left-wing government might be formed with concessions to the more left-wing parties' policies.

I may just be sleep deprived, but this thing is keeping me completely interested throughout...

Oh, and with the Tories having basically said no to a coalition with the lib dems, their chances of forming a majority are very small indeed, and the talk is that even if they form a minority government (which means the other parties can tell them to take a long walk on policies, if they unite against them), it might last a year before another general election may be called for.

I'm, like, 0_0

EDIT: and now Gordon Brown has said that Labour are up for a coalition with the Lib Dems, and that they're willing to concede on finance and political reform. How exciting. I'll shut up now, because I'm not actually saying anything that the BBC aren't anymore...

Posted by: Mata May 7 2010, 12:47 PM

Nice one Nov.

Well, the Tories got the most votes (10m), then Labour (8m), then Lib Dems (6m). The trouble is that some numbers voodoo means that Tories get 300 seats in parliment, Labour 250, and Lib Dems get 50. Despite getting about 1/5 of the votes, the Lib Dems get 1/12 of parlimentary seats. That strikes me as pretty daft.

The plus side is that the Tories don't quite have enough seats in government to have a majority (meaning that they could pass any acts that they want to assuming all of their members of parliment show up and vote in support of something), so they are going to have to try and deal with the other parties. With luck this will lead to a slightly more moderate government doing some sensible things, rather than the usual power crazed stupidity. In practicality it probably means nothing will get done for another five years until we have another election.

Posted by: CarefulMarshmallowHiddenDragon May 7 2010, 08:13 PM

I think I would rather have a lib dem-tory coalition with the condition that there's a referendum on electoral reform. I think it's crazy we still have this ridiculous first past the post system. It's completely unrepresentative and serves no purpose other than to make it easier to count.

Also, as an ex brightonion I'm ashamed that the green party have gotten a seat. It is appalling that a party based entirely around a single scientific issue (the environment) is so unscientific in its policies. They are completely opposed to any form of animal research, without any regard for the potential benefits to medicine. They oppose nuclear power for seemingly no reason at all* besides the fact that it sounds a bit scary and no environmentalist would go for it**. Environmental issues are important because of the impact they have on humans. I don't give an orangutan's whisker what happens to fluffy animals and trees; they basically value this vague notion of "environment" more than the actual people who rely on it.

*They claim it is unsafe and expensive, neither arguments are particularly convincing
**Yes, the lib dems are much the same and I'm a huge hypocrite

Posted by: Snugglebum the Destroyer May 7 2010, 09:45 PM

What an exciting day! I vote Lib Dem and that's what my constituency got. YAY US!

But hung parliament - first in thirty years. Interesting. For any sensible type of order the Lib Dems will need to buddy up with the Torys. How do we feel about that?

Posted by: Hobbes May 7 2010, 09:58 PM

I spent 16 hours yesterday handing out ballot papers and crossing elector's name off lists in my temporary role as a Poll Clerk. Unfortunately, in doing so, I totally forgot about arranging my own vote, and didn't apply for a postal or proxy, so never placed the 'X' myself. Still, I like to think I did my 'bit' for democracy anyway.

Posted by: Tarantio May 8 2010, 10:49 AM

Well, I continued watching the coverage all the way through til the end of the programs just before four pm yesterday. Tara was sleeeepy at the end of it all, but at least he was well informed xD

I really, really hope the Lib Dems tell the Tories to take a running jump with their "deal". Listening to Cameron outline it in his speech yesterday was excruciating. Basically 90% of the Tory party had unofficially said they were completely opposed to any kind of voting reform, and then a couple of hours later Mr Shiny-Face came out and said "actually, we'll 'set up an investigation into it'", leaving out the snigger that would have said "yeah, like anything will come of that!". Then he went on to list the common ground in policy that already existed as being some kind of offer to the Lib Dems (only mentioning on a couple of minor points that there was "room to give ground"). Ugh. Considering there's a real possibility of a centre-left coalition government, with much better deals for the Lib Dems on voting reform on offer from Labour, I'd be extremely disappointed if they sided with the Tories; I can't see them making good on ANY of their promises to the Lib Dems at all, and I certainly can't see voting reform (which Nick Clegg noted as the most important thing to the party for any deal) being in our future if that was the case. Sadly, with talk of cabinet positions for the Lib Dems, and the political pressure the Tories will put on them with the immediate need for economic policy (if we're so desperate for it right now why the hell did the election not come after policy was sorted to fix it?) they may just cave.

Five years of Tory hell at least, by the looks of it sad.gif

Posted by: Snugglebum the Destroyer May 8 2010, 11:27 AM

I'd rather have Tory rule tempered with Lib Dem sensibilities rather than Tory rule absolute. And I have to believe that democracy works else what's the point of all this!

Posted by: gothictheysay May 9 2010, 02:08 AM

Will you tell the uneducated American what a "hung parliament" is? Your system is so much more complicated... @_@

Posted by: syuu May 9 2010, 02:14 AM

True - I find it interesting that they have three plus parties that receive national attention and sway, whereas we have two and both are guilty of f*cking up constantly. One more than the other, but..
I also feel like Torries are less evangelical and hell-bent on religious takeover than republicans.

Posted by: Tarantio May 9 2010, 05:44 AM

Our system at the moment is a "first past the post" system; the country is broken up into constituencies, each one represented by a single MP who is voted into power by the electorate of that constituency. The candidates for these posts usually belong to a political party, though most people are allowed to run for the position and often there are several "independants" in each constituency. Regional parties exist, such as the Scottish National Party, or Plaid Cymru, who only run for seats in a particular area of the U.K. (in those cases, Scotland and Wales, respectively). In each constituency the candidate who accumulates the most valid votes is declared that constituency's MP to represent them in the House of Commons (the elected parliament). When it comes to forming a government, the number of MP's (also referred to as "seats") is taken into account, not the overall number of votes (usually creating a parliament disproportionate to the national voting numbers). The party with the most usually becomes the governing party, but this only holds true if they win a majority vote; a minimum of about half of the seats. This would allow a united party to be able to pass legislation in a manner in which their opponents cannot form enough of a counter to overrule the leading party, resulting (theoretically) in a united, decisive government who are, for all intents and purposes, in charge of the country.

A hung parliament is the result of an election where no party has achieved this majority; as such, were they to form a minority government by trying to rule alone, their opponents could theoretically overrule (by out-voting) every decision they might try to make, resulting in a parliament that has to do deals, make compromises, takes longer to achieve most things or fails outright (several minority governments have stepped down and called for another election or allowed a coalition to take their place in the past due to their own ineffectiveness).

Right now we have a confirmed hung parliament. Although the Tories won the most seats, they were a fair bit short of a majority. Due to them not automatically being allowed into power; Gordon Brown is still technically prime minister; if he cannot form a majority government he'll be forced to resign and allow the tories to try to do so. If they can't, or wont, they'll have the option of forming a minority government, since they got the most votes.

/ Long Boring Bit About What's Happening Here Now /

A bunch of stuff is being discussed at the moment. The lib dems basically hold the swing of power with enough seats to grant or deny the tories their majority (although a coalition of several parties would be needed for labour to gain one). Their leader said that he would honour his words during the campaign, saying that the party with the most seats and most votes should have the first opportunity to form a government; this isn't the rule of the constitution, which states that the current prime minister's party actually has that right, but it's been done as a supposed sign of honour towards the "victors". Gordon Brown came out in support of this, which allowed the tories to bypass his constitutional right, though he's said that if they can't make a deal, he'll be wanting to talk to the lib dems too, presumably to try to form a majority coalition (since he basically laid out his offer to them when he said all this). So, just now, the tories are in talks with the lib dems about what kind of deal they could make, though at this point no one knows for sure what might come of it. A lib dem/tory coalition is unlikely, since the two parties are highly opposed, but neither has it been ruled out. What's more likely is that the lib dems will offer support to the tories for concessions towards their own policies, or even for seats in the cabinet (the heads of various government departments).

If none of that works out and the talks fail, and the lib dems choose to talk to labour about a middle-left coalition, chances are that'll be what happens. Several pieces of that particular puzzle are actually already in place; the SNP and Plaid Cymru have come forward in support of a labour/lib dem/SNP/PC coalition, though I think this would still be a few seats short of a majority (seats that other minor parties might fill, such as labour's Northern Ireland allies, for instance). Also, this coalition would, from the sounds of it, not be headed by Gordon Brown; word is that he would be willing to stand down if that got in the way of such a deal, and also that the lib dems would probably not enter into such a deal if he was to remain PM. Public opinion polls have also suggested that about 2/3 want him out of office as PM as well, so if we do see a mid-left coalition government, it likely wont be headed by Gordon Brown.

But, as I said, no one knows for sure what'll happen. Not a lot of information about the current tory/lib dem talks has been made public, all we know is that they're continuing, so no one has ruled that deal out yet. With the pressure on the economy to form a government quickly to deal with the deficit (and to respond to the current market uncertainty resulting from Greece's predicament and our own political no-mans-land situation), it could be that several days of talks would mean the tory/lib dem deal will go through in some form or another, though the official talk coming from the parties themselves doesn't indicate the same rising panic that the press has been reporting on (which doesn't surprise me, personally).

Sorry for the long-windedness, I've been watching a lot of this since it started and I like to be thorough. Hope the top bit helps answer folks' questions at least. biggrin.gif

P.S. Syuuko: the tories might not seem like the World Dominator types your own Republicans do, but that's only because they've been at the evil game a bit longer. Their form of malice is more internal and local, involving shutting down coal mines and stealing milk from school children. Oh, and deploying special forces units on our own soil (though when I think about it, it wasn't really ours one time, since it was an embassy, though the time in the prison definitely was). The whole "favouring the rich and greedy whilst cutting public spending" thing is common ground for the Tories and the Republicans, though.

P.P.S. Religion rarely comes into British politics, thankfully. There are religious political parties, but they usually get very few votes and no seats. The major parties know not to involve religion per se, but "values" do come up a fair bit as a tamer replacement. I thought Britain had a much lower percentage of Christians than the US, but wikipedia tells me otherwise; we do take our religion a lot less seriously though. Evangelism is probably the bigger difference, we don't get nearly as much of it here as we're led to believe is present across the pond from us. I think it's generally frowned upon for a major party candidate to use religion to promote themselves or their party; it may even be policy in some parties to openly discourage such an act, due to religious diversity and the political correctness surge surrounding it (I haven't researched it properly).

Posted by: Mata May 9 2010, 02:22 PM

That was a damn good summary of the situation!

Yep, a hung parliment couldn't happen in the US because of the two party system over there (offering the political options of right and slightly-less-right). With three parties it's reasonably easy in terms of the mathetmatics for no one party to have enough power to rule unchallenged. In Europe it's very common to have hung parliments and they just get on with it as business as usual but in the UK the Lib Dems haven't been a major political force for many decades (they were last in power 90 years ago). For the first time in the UK we had televised debates between the leaders and that seems to have swung a lot more people towards the Lib Dems than in previous elections. That's either a sign of intelligent and thoughtful reasoning or a sign that really all the politcal parties are speaking an equal amount of tosh and they're as bad as each other - I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Posted by: Daria May 9 2010, 04:27 PM

I think it's because the televised debates put each party on an equal footing- something that hasn't been done recently. It subconsciously gave people the idea that a vote for LibDem wouldn't be wasted and perhaps they should vote Labour, it would be a vote for LibDem.

Posted by: CarefulMarshmallowHiddenDragon May 9 2010, 08:10 PM

Lib dems didn't get more seats than last time though, so the debates didn't change much there. I think the initial rise in popularity they saw after the first debate was largely due to Clegg telling people exactly what they wanted to hear - everything is falling apart and our politicians are doing a terrible job yadeyadeyada - and promising lots of change (real change! new politics! oooh!). Their popularity seemed to decline as the election grew nearer though.

The lib dem vote is also very spread out so they never had a chance of doing anywhere near as well as labour and the conservatives. The scaremongering that a vote for lib dem is a vote for hung parliament wasn't far from the truth imo, and I suspect a lot of lib dem supporters resorted to tactical voting just because it was a close election.

Posted by: gothictheysay May 10 2010, 01:21 AM

Thanks guys! That's very interesting. I'm surprised I didn't learn more about that earlier, especially since I took a Political Parties class that was only *mostly* US-centered. unsure.gif anyway, yes, a third party sounds nice in the US - a real one, at least... but that sounds kind of exciting. Like when we have trouble counting votes. tongue.gif

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