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post May 6 2010, 12:25 PM
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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!

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post May 9 2010, 05:44 AM
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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).

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Posts in this topic
- Mata   UK Election time!   May 6 2010, 12:25 PM
- - CheeseMoose   I'd say most of the people I know, including m...   May 6 2010, 05:36 PM
- - CarefulMarshmallowHiddenDragon   Yep. Voted lib dem because they have more chance o...   May 6 2010, 05:45 PM
- - Daria   I spoilt my ballot. Whoever you vote for, the gove...   May 6 2010, 08:00 PM
- - Lurker in the Dark   Happy Daria then? Yup, voted LD. There was a queu...   May 6 2010, 08:17 PM
- - Daria   ANARCHIST DARIA IS SO AAAAANGRRRYYYYYY! *stomp...   May 6 2010, 08:51 PM
- - Yannick   A friend of mine posted this on Facebook. I don...   May 6 2010, 09:54 PM
|- - CheeseMoose   QUOTE (Yannick @ May 6 2010, 10:54 PM) A ...   May 7 2010, 02:48 AM
- - syuu   all of my british politic knowledge comes from thi...   May 6 2010, 10:17 PM
- - michael1384   It looks like the Tories might win. This makes Mic...   May 6 2010, 10:23 PM
- - Tarantio   It's the 2004 U.S. election all over again as ...   May 7 2010, 04:18 AM
- - Novander   My voted mattered! I'm quite happy with th...   May 7 2010, 11:06 AM
- - Tarantio   Woo! Nice one, Novy. A friend of mine recently...   May 7 2010, 12:37 PM
- - Mata   Nice one Nov. Well, the Tories got the most votes...   May 7 2010, 12:47 PM
- - CarefulMarshmallowHiddenDragon   I think I would rather have a lib dem-tory coaliti...   May 7 2010, 08:13 PM
- - Snugglebum the Destroyer   What an exciting day! I vote Lib Dem and that...   May 7 2010, 09:45 PM
- - Hobbes   I spent 16 hours yesterday handing out ballot pape...   May 7 2010, 09:58 PM
- - Tarantio   Well, I continued watching the coverage all the wa...   May 8 2010, 10:49 AM
- - Snugglebum the Destroyer   I'd rather have Tory rule tempered with Lib De...   May 8 2010, 11:27 AM
- - gothictheysay   Will you tell the uneducated American what a ...   May 9 2010, 02:08 AM
- - syuu   True - I find it interesting that they have three ...   May 9 2010, 02:14 AM
- - Tarantio   Our system at the moment is a "first past the...   May 9 2010, 05:44 AM
- - Mata   That was a damn good summary of the situation...   May 9 2010, 02:22 PM
- - Daria   I think it's because the televised debates put...   May 9 2010, 04:27 PM
- - CarefulMarshmallowHiddenDragon   Lib dems didn't get more seats than last time ...   May 9 2010, 08:10 PM
- - gothictheysay   Thanks guys! That's very interesting. I...   May 10 2010, 01:21 AM

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