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May 5, 2010 11:15 PM   Subscribe

Polls open in the UK General Election. This has been one of the closest election campaigns in decades, with all three major parties polling within a few points of each other.

In some ways, this was David Cameron's (leader of the Conservative party) election to lose; polling up to 15 points higher than Labour last year, his lead has dropped as low as 5 points ahead in some polls just before polling. Taking full advantage of his equal billing in the TV debates, Nick Clegg has raised the profile of the Liberal Democrats from a relatively small third party to getting equal or higher polling results than Labour. While many counted Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Labour party out of the running a few months ago, he has managed to keep his embattled government within a few points of the Conservatives, and may still end up holding the balance of power in a coalition government.

With the pre-election polls so close and Labour ministers advocating tactical voting to stop the Conservatives getting an outright majority, the first hung paliament since 1974 is a distinct possibility. Will we see a Tory minority government governing with the help of the Unionist parties from Northern Ireland? Will Labour form a pact with the Liberals over election reform? Given the current system may result in the Liberals getting 30% of the vote but only 15% of the seats, and Labour might come third in votes but get the most MPs, election reform may well be a hot topic in the weeks ahead. The election results will be decided today but the outcome may well take longer.

And remember, non-postal voting Britishers - polling booths are open from 7AM to 10PM today. Go vote.
posted by ArkhanJG (591 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm just going to assume that the outcome will be an unexpected Tory landslide so as to avoid future crushing disappointment.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 11:25 PM on May 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Where's the Plaid Cymru tag? :p
posted by Abiezer at 11:26 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Don't vote - it just encourages them.
posted by Phanx at 11:28 PM on May 5, 2010


Opinion polls are banned for today until the real polls close. UK Polling Report has the final opinion polls and the predictions.

I put each poll result into the BBC's Uniform Swing Seat Calculator and got this table. It takes 326 seats to make a majority.

On the Conservatives' best poll Angus Reid, they have 312 seats and a Lib-Lab pact would have only 309, which basically gives the Cons either a minority governent or coalition if they feel like it.

On the Conservatives' worst poll, TNS, they're only 3 seats behind Labour. A Lib-Con pact would have 358 seats, a Lib-Lab pact 361: either would be possible.

However, neither polls nor uniform swing calculations are all that reliable. We don't know if the pollsters can really correct for the Shy Tory Effect. So, it looks fairly open, though the Conservatives look like they have the advantage so far.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:29 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


And what prescient political genius was this calling a hung parliament on here last November? MeMail for racing tips over the coming flat season.
posted by Abiezer at 11:29 PM on May 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Sun's front cover today is the most absurd thing I've ever seen.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 11:30 PM on May 5, 2010 [18 favorites]


On the Shy Tory effect, I believe that is accounted for by the major pollsters now, plus in my view there's now a bit of a Shy Labouur effect with them being the sitting crap government. Add to that the usual slight swing back t the government just before polling and I'm really hoping to enjoy watching a crestfallen Cameron in a few hours' time. For I am an bitter man.
posted by Abiezer at 11:31 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Sun's front cover today is the most absurd thing I've ever seen.

Oh lord... That's simultaneously vile, sad and hilarious!
posted by Crane Shot at 11:34 PM on May 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


I just noticed that in the UK Labor identifies with red and the Conservatives identify with blue. That seemed weird to me at first, but then again the fact that the right wing in this country identifies with red has always seemed weird to me too.
posted by joedan at 11:35 PM on May 5, 2010


An enjoyable sidelight has been the farcical shenanigans at the BNP's website, with miffed web master Simon Bennett spilling the beans on how it really is all just a cash cow for loony Jim Dowson and Nick Griffin.
posted by Abiezer at 11:36 PM on May 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Where's the Plaid Cymru tag? :p

Indeed. Whoops.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:46 PM on May 5, 2010


From what I read, there's not much danger of the BNP taking either of their main target Westminster seats, and more importantly they should also fall short of a majority on Barking council - one of their candidates had a bit of free and frank discussion with some concerned local voters in traditionally winning BNP style, which should help get the non-racist vote out.
Greens look set to possibly take Brighton Pavillion - one to watch.
posted by Abiezer at 11:53 PM on May 5, 2010


I wish them well... but why is the Banque Nationale de Paris [BNP] running in this election?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:54 PM on May 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Two probably really obvious Uninformed American questions that have been bothering me about the English governmental system:

1) In the case of a hung parliament, who gets the Prime Minister job? Is it the plurality party? What if the two smaller parties form a coalition (to become one larger temporary party, right?) after the elections take place?

2) What is the impact of the popular vote in this electoral system? None at all? Does it only matter at a district level, and then it's like the US Electoral College when it comes to the PM?
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 12:05 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I right in assuming that "hung parliament" is the British version of what we Canadians call a minority government? Which really isn't such a bad thing, what with the governing party being forced to actually seek some kind of consensus. "Hung parliament" just sounds so... dire.
posted by Crane Shot at 12:09 AM on May 6, 2010


My prediction is that the Tories will win close to 326 seats, thus allowing them to govern with the help of the Ulster Unionists. Our best chance for electoral reform in many years is gone.
posted by salmacis at 12:21 AM on May 6, 2010


I don't think there is a precedent for Prime Ministers in a coalition in the UK, in NZ we usually have the Prime Minister as the leader of the biggest party, with the deputy being from the next biggest - or the next biggest can agree to vote for important laws and stay out of the government in exchange for some policy gains. It is all down to negotiation.

The UK uses FPP, they have individual electorates (roughly equal sizes) with a member from each in Parliament. The percentage vote does nothing - it is all down to individual electorates, so the polling needs to guess how much the national shift changes each electorate which can vary widely. It is kind of like the electoral college for the US president. The Lib Dems are underrepresented as they don't win electorates - they are trying to get a more proportional system and will likely get one if they form part of the new government (we in NZ use MMP )
posted by scodger at 12:21 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


For those unused to Parliamentary systems:

A "hung" Parliament is just what happens when, after the votes are counted, no party has 50%+1 of the seats. If there's no outright majority, everybody negotiates to try to come to some arrangement in which a Party with a minority of seats is supported by enough others to get a "working" majority or a Coalition. Once there's an agreement, for instance for a minority Government, the Parliament isn't hung anymore.

2) What is the impact of the popular vote in this electoral system? None at all?

None. It's whichever Party wins a majority of seats. It's not common, but not unheard of, for Governments to get a majority of seats with a minority of the overall vote. [on preview it's as sodger says)
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:28 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anybody can become Prime Minister who can persuade the Queen that he (in this case they are all 'he') can command sufficient support in the House to pass legislation. The overall distribution of the popular vote has no official impact, though in this election, fairly uniquely it might become a factor in the horse-trading between parties after the election.
posted by communicator at 12:31 AM on May 6, 2010


My prediction is that the Tories will win close to 326 seats, thus allowing them to govern with the help of the Ulster Unionists. Our best chance for electoral reform in many years is gone.

That's basically how the Guardian is calling it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:35 AM on May 6, 2010


This John Cleese presentation from many moons ago went a long way toward explaining representational voting & election reform in the UK to this clueless Yank.
posted by biddeford at 12:41 AM on May 6, 2010 [9 favorites]


Am I right in assuming that "hung parliament" is the British version of what we Canadians call a minority government?

Close.

Minority government would mean Party A has the most seats of all the parties, but less than 50% of the seats.

Hung parliament would mean Party A and Party B have the same number of seats, with the possible fun of Party C wanting to do some deals with one of them. And I agree, Crane Shot. hung parliaments are fine by me. We've just ended up with one here in Tasmania. 10 Labour MPs, 10 Liberal MPs, 5 Green MPs, and two of the Greens have been made ministers. Jolly good fun.
posted by Jimbob at 12:45 AM on May 6, 2010


Minority government would mean Party A has the most seats of all the parties, but less than 50% of the seats
That's not quite true, Jimbob. A minority Party still has to be able to support its legislation on the floor, as communicator said, and convince the Queen (or viceregent in our case) to appoint its members as Government, with a Cabinet. Just because the executive is formed by members of Parliament doesn't mean they're the same thing.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 12:50 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the UK, a hung parliament simply means that no party has an overall majority.

I am extremely nervous about the outcome of today, as it's beginning to look like the tories might be able to claim enough seats to make a coalition with the Unionist parties. This would be the worst possible outcome, as it would basically result in Cameron being held hostage by the Unionists as well as his own loony right wing. I shudder to think of what might result from that scenario.
posted by Jakey at 12:54 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


None of this matters. The future of the UK is in the hands of Windsor Executive Solutions.
posted by homunculus at 12:57 AM on May 6, 2010


This Brian Barder article explains the Hung Parliament rules pretty well.

The previous Prime Minister keeps his job until he either resigns or loses a vote of confidence.

Usually, if another party gets a majority, he resigns straight away rather than wait to be voted out.

In a hung parliament, he holds on while the parties try to arrange a coalition. If other parties arrange a majority coalition, he'll resign or get voted out. If he's in the winning coalition, he may remain as Prime Minister.

If nobody can arrange a coalition with a majority, eventually the Queen asks one party, usually the largest, to form a minority government.

There is speculation that since Gordon Brown is personally unpopular, in a Lib-Lab coalition the Liberal Democrats would insist he steps down and another senior Labour MP takes his place. However this is difficult to arrange given Labour party and constitutional rules.

If Brown flatly refuses to step down as PM, it's pretty hard to get rid of him. If he resigns, the rest of the government goes with him and Labour loses the incumbent privilege. He doesn't have a single obvious replacement candidate, though David Miliband and Harriet Harman get bandied around, and it's not clear what Labour party body chooses his replacement. You might end up with a messy internal power struggle between the National Executive Committee, the Parliamentary Labour Party and the party as a whole if they want different people.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:10 AM on May 6, 2010


No not the Tories oh god no I can't bear it.
posted by Summer at 1:29 AM on May 6, 2010 [20 favorites]


It's not common, but not unheard of, for Governments to get a majority of seats with a minority of the overall vote.

Indeed. This reached its nadir in New Zealand with some Muldoon era National Party govenments commanding about a third of the vote but enjoying an absolut parliamentary majority.
posted by rodgerd at 1:32 AM on May 6, 2010


The Independent has an article outlining eight possible post-election scenarios.
posted by Jakey at 1:32 AM on May 6, 2010


I wish them well... but why is the Banque Nationale de Paris [BNP] running in this election?

uncanny hengeman, you were probably joking, but just in case: it's not the Banque Nationale de Paris, it's the British National Party. I would link to their site, but I wouldn't want to inflict that on anyone...

Also, the Sun cover is one of the weirdest things ever.
posted by badmoonrising at 1:38 AM on May 6, 2010


I never imagined The Sun's front page would make me smile and laugh today. I was thinking more in terms of apoplectic rage.
posted by vbfg at 1:48 AM on May 6, 2010


Meanwhile, the Daily Mail is taking its usual moderate approach and promising death by fire.
posted by eykal at 1:57 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here we go then. I hope everyone has voted/will vote.

There's a couple of weird things I've noticed. Firstly, Brits seem quite reticent to say who they're voting for. Get onto twitter. There's none of the American "I Voted For Obama" stuff. It's more like "I voted for the party I believe in the most."

Secondly, for the first time ever I think every single major-party leader cares deeply. This is not to say that the Tory heart is still as black as ever, but Clegg, Brown and Cameron all seem like decent sorts.
posted by seanyboy at 2:02 AM on May 6, 2010


Incidentally, I got an interesting insight into the workings of the modern hustings yesterday. Gordon Brown came to give a speech at Bradford University. It was likely his final set piece speech as Prime Minister. It was given in a large public space and though his visit wasn't advertised to staff and students, the majority seemed to have found out and turned up to hear him speak. I only found out because one of the higher ups incredibly decided he may want to use our internet connection and could we create him an account on our systems just in case. What password would YOU set for an unpopular PM the day before a general election?

So there we all were in this large open space. It's a multi story open space, with staff lined up on balconies surrounding the area. The floor space was covered in staff and students. There were several thousand people were there. There were a few muted boos for him but at the end of the day, these are public sector workers in Bradford. If there's a natural audience for a Labour PM anywhere...

At one end is a raised platform, one storey up in the air, on which he gave his speech. The speech was about Tory future cuts to public services and Labour's past record. The public sector workers watching him were cheering his every word. Was he speaking to them? No. He was speaking to the invited audience of about 30 that were on the platform with him.

It's no wonder Labour have had a poor campaign if they'd put as much planning into their events as that. Even as a TV event it made no sense. On TV he looked like he was giving a set piece speech in a cafe with a few party apparatchiks either side of him.
posted by vbfg at 2:02 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


The problem is that people still believe that the LibDems can't win -- and yet, in polls where the question is "If all parties had an equal shot at winning, how would you vote," LibDem comes out way ahead.

So, it looks like the UK is going to wear the noseplugs -- and vote in a Tory government.

If you'd all just honestly vote what you feel this time, you might be pleasantly surprised.
posted by eriko at 2:04 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Summer, yeah I'm going to stay up to watch the results come in as usual, but if it becomes apparent the Tories are going to win I'm just going to go to bed early in a state of depression.
posted by salmacis at 2:04 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


http://imgur.com/R6uRD.jpg
posted by vbfg at 2:05 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


No not the Tories oh god no I can't bear it.

The Stop Dave tactical voting advice site - use your vote wisely to stick one up him and Gideon 'George' Osborne.
posted by Abiezer at 2:06 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


eriko, all the parties don't have an equal shot at winning, because of the way party support is distributed across different electorates. Share of the popular vote has NO impact on the composition of Parliament. This is why proportional representation is so important.

Meanwhile, it's good sense not to vote LibDem in an electorate where they're not in the running. Voting what you feel might result in the party you hate most winning power.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:08 AM on May 6, 2010


I heard that Cameron isn't going to buckingham Palace to seek appointment, but is instead heading to Rupert Muroch's Fortress of Poisoned Political Discourse in Dis for the crowning.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 2:09 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


As to a hung parliament: Yes, Gordon Brown stays on, with his government, until he resigns or the House refuses to back his government.** Despite Cameron's whinging, he gets first try to form a coalition. As to the nonsense that he's not an elected Prime Minister, my answer is "Neither are any of the others, other than elected in their own constituencies." The Prime Minister is not a directly elected office in Westminster Governments.

In reality, that will almost certainly not happen, given the number of seats that Labour is going to lose. Clegg has been very clear that if Labour polls third in total votes, he and the LibDems would not form a coalition with a Brown government.

Assuming that fails, then basically, the first party leader who can show that they have the backing of the majority of the house can petition the Queen to be requested to form a government. If no majority occurs, then you get into the sticky wicket of a minority government -- it works the same, someone gets tapped by her Maj to form a government, but they're on tenterhooks the entire time, they know that if the other parties vote in lockstep, they're out.

Now, a minority government that is quickly felled by a no confidence vote would not automatically force a new election. The crown could invite someone else to try to form a government. It would only be if nobody could stand with a functional government that we'd be looking at a July election, with the Brown government continuing in the caretake role until that election had passed.

The win, for the UK, would have been a LabLib coalition with reform of the electoral system as the keynote in the Queen's Speech.

Fucking noseplugs.

** See Edward Heath, Prime Minister from 1970-1974. No party won a majority of the house, as the head of the sitting Government, Heath was allowed to attempt to form a coalition government. He tried to form a coalition with the Liberal party, failed, and resigned, allowing Harold Wilson to form a minority government. Wilson called an election again in three months, which gave him a very thin majority.
posted by eriko at 2:28 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Abiezer - I did not vote according to the Stop Dave advice, but I am confident that the Republic of Camberwell and Peckham will never, ever be Tory.
posted by Summer at 2:30 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having run the emotional gamut this week, I'm already pre-emptively at Kübler-Ross Stage 4: Depression. I can't see any other outcome than the progressive vote being split across Labour and LibDem, and the Tories winning outright. Depressing, especially now that I have two small children.

Columnist for The Independent Johann Hari has been written some pretty impassioned stuff about what's in store for us under Cameron, and his column today is no different.
posted by bokeh at 2:30 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Britain to make horrifyingly ill-informed choice.

I'm not watching the election coverage until much later tonight. Since I'm not a citizen, I can't vote, and it's going to take all my strength to not just start punching people when it all goes tits up.

Hell, I want to punch that jerk down the street who has a BNP and UKIP flyer in his front window. God knows what I'll do if the Tories get in...free punches all around, I think. Once the Tories sell off the NHS, it'll be the only vaguely-resembling free healthcare people will get. And once they sell off the BBC and get rid of OfCom, it's not like the news will cover my free punching scheme, so I'll be able to get away with it for a bit longer.

Vote Tory and receive a free punch!

(as an aside, is it wrong for me to vaguely hope that Ed Balls does eventually become PM just so I can spend every news hour laughing hysterically at "Prime Minister Balls"?)
posted by Katemonkey at 2:31 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh God, only 10:40 on election day and I already feel doomed.

Personally, I'm hoping for a hanged parliament.
posted by Grangousier at 2:39 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Michael Portillo on going through a Portillo Moment
posted by vbfg at 2:43 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is why proportional representation is so important.

Meanwhile, it's good sense not to vote LibDem in an electorate where they're not in the running. Voting what you feel might result in the party you hate most winning power.


This is why you want preferential (aka instant runoff) voting, not PR.
posted by pompomtom at 2:45 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is why you want preferential (aka instant runoff) voting, not PR.

Well to be fair, you can have both. Preferential voting in multi-member electorates.
posted by Jimbob at 2:52 AM on May 6, 2010


vbfg that article is great. I love the phrase "My name is now synonymous with eating a bucketload of shit in public", particularly coming from Portillo. Be good to see him do it literally though.

Here's the original Portillo moment. I expect that a more satisfying political moment will be a long time coming. I remember it clearly - I cheered so much I spilled my Jamesons.
posted by handee at 2:52 AM on May 6, 2010


Nigel Farage, former leader of UKIP (the get-out-of-the-EU-now party that came joint 2nd in the european elections), has been injured in a plane crash. The pilot was also injured; neither set of injuries are reported to be life-threatening.

Reportedly the UKIP banner trailing behind the plane got caught up round the tail and/or engine and caused the crash just after take off.

Farage is contesting the seat of the (recently ex) Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:57 AM on May 6, 2010


Lots of crap going on down here in Tower Hamlets; not only were there the "usual" allegations of postal fraud, we're also seeing some sitting councillors hit with allegations of electoral malpractice.

We knew there was going to be postal fraud. Several members of the residents association I'm spokesperson for received multiple ballots in unknown names. These were reported to The Met and the Electoral Commission, and one idiot who showed up at a members home to "collect" the unsigned, unknown ballots was dumb enough to leave a mobile number to coordinate a pickup. Hopefully The Met acted on that information and pinched him.

All the parties seem very jittery down here. We're getting lots of request to staff the telling slots, through to 10PM this evening.

While I have my private views regarding what party would most help us here in Tower Hamlets, as Spokesperson I'm officially agnostic and have, in fact, worked to some extent with all parties that asked for help (except the BNP).

Respect was the most focused and executed the best over a period of some six months; impressive performance. Conservatives were very well funded and seemed capable of bringing lots of folks into canvassing, but didn't do much in our area until the last two weeks. Labour was pretty much unseen and when they showed up on our estate were openly ridiculed - they seemed to have this sense of entitlement to our votes that I found, given the complete mess they've made of our situation (estate sold to an RSL who is now busily engaged in class war) completely arrogant and out of touch. Greens we saw once, just briefly but they presented well at a local husting. The Pirate Party made a single appearance but aren't being taken seriously.

Interesting to have been inside of a UK election, even if its been more than a tad tawdry.
posted by Mutant at 3:00 AM on May 6, 2010


From Katemonkey's link, I'll admit this made me laugh:

Meanwhile, in what is expected to be tightest election result in years, the Queen has warned Gordon Brown that if he turns up 9am tomorrow morning expecting to be made prime minister, a Grenadier Gaurdsman will take him down like a sack of carrots.
posted by garius at 3:04 AM on May 6, 2010


A handy guide if you're undecided or it's your first election.
posted by MessageInABottle at 3:14 AM on May 6, 2010


Well to be fair, you can have both. Preferential voting in multi-member electorates.

Quite, but preferential voting for the lower house would avoid the tendency toward a proliferation of single-issue parties that PR would encourage (or in other words: you can have a viable third party without handing seats to the BNP).
posted by pompomtom at 3:28 AM on May 6, 2010


I've had something like a dozen random people on trains/public/internet implore me out of the blue not to vote Conservative today (note: this is not to imply that I am - I honestly have no idea why so many are piping up. Even grabbing breakfast from a WHSmiths led to the cashier turning to me and going 'god don't let them in') because how dare they hope to get in everything will explode the country will be doomed aaaaaaaaa.

I don't begrudge anyone their vote - as far as I'm concerned they're free as they like to vote for Clegg, Cameron, or Mandelson* - but the argument of 'current society will be doomed' does seem a little rich when I look back at how deeply Britain seems to have changed for the worse in the last 13 years, especially with an eye towards the choking mass of administration/management that's squatting on top of our public services causing any number of problems in operational ability. I am all kinds of up for that facet of society being in danger of collapse.

If I'm honest, I'm still not exactly sure which way to vote. Arguably I identify as Lib Dem, but a sane one that realises many of their policies are just kind of pulled out of thin air without much thought as to how to enact them. Time to re-read manifestos at work, I guess - I'd been meaning to anyway as at least one party has been found editing their manifesto on the quiet.

* I'm allowed one cheap shot.
posted by stelas at 3:31 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I dunno if he's ever done this before, but Nate Silver at 538 has his own predictions. Conservatives and Labor gains, Liberal Dems lose.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:39 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you happen to be in Northern Ireland, vote for the Social Democratic and Labour Party and vindicate my work over the last six months.
posted by knapah at 3:46 AM on May 6, 2010


Even if it seems like a receding possibility at this point, I'd love to see a more representative electoral system take the place of this archaic first past the post nonsense. I can't be the only person tempted to move to another constituency just so I can vote for the party I most support without the risk of letting in the party I most fear.

I'd love to be an idealist and bump up the national share of the vote for my party of choice, but the stakes are too high – I have to settle for the lesser of two evils and vote defensively. It hardly makes me feel great about democracy.
posted by him at 3:50 AM on May 6, 2010


Nate Silver at 538 has his own predictions. Conservatives and Labor gains, Liberal Dems lose.

I think those gains and losses are relative to his last predictions. Relative to the 2005 result the Lib Dems and Conservatives gain, Labour loses.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:55 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I voted this morning, in a polling station so deserted I stood around looking hopeless for a couple of minutes before someone directed me to the underwhelmed-looking lady behind the garden furniture. I would love to believe that we won't the Tories forming the next government, but I'm resigned to that being the case, and planning volunteer work for disadvantaged youth after Cameron inevitably kicks social services in the teeth.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:04 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


To quote a pommy friend o' mine who is clearly no fan of Brown, "I think we could learn a bit from how the Polish elections were called".
posted by polyglot at 4:04 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, still trying to wrap my head around how the election system in the UK works, which is difficult because it seems that every time it's discussed, the real core of how it works is elided. So, let me ask, is it the case that the MP districts are set via geographic boundaries that do not change regardless of population shifts, thus allowing a plurality based voting system in a range of districts with widely variant numbers of voters to essentially disenfranchise voters from high population districts whose votes are thereby worth less?
posted by ursus_comiter at 4:30 AM on May 6, 2010


BTW, stelas, you don't vote for Mandelson - he is already Baron Mandelson, of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and of Hartlepool in the County of Durham. So there.

posted by MessageInABottle at 4:32 AM on May 6, 2010


...is it the case that the MP districts are set via geographic boundaries that do not change regardless of population shifts...

The boundaries are set by independent Boundary Commissions which redraw them every few years to keep the constituencies roughly equal in population.

They're not as gerrymandered as in the US. However since they were last set, there has been population movement out of the inner cities, where Labour is strong, towards the suburbs, where the Conservatives are strong. Therefore the Conservatives are at a disadvantage at the moment, since their constituencies have larger average populations but still only one MP.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:36 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ursus, the constituency boundaries change. In fact, there are many new constituencies in this election. My old constituency was Bradford North. This has now been swallowed by the entirely new constituency of Bradford East. The idea is that all the constitutencies are broadly similar in terms of population and the changes are made to reflect population shifts.

There's more detail here:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/geography/westminster.asp
posted by vbfg at 4:37 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparanty there is a candidate in Chingford and Woodford Green, Iain Duncan Smith's seat, who calls himself None of the Above. "Above" is alphabetically first in the list of candidates, so all of the above are listed below Mr Above.
posted by vbfg at 4:41 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thought that was Terry Marsh in South Basildon and East Thurrock, vbfg? Or is there another one? Terry's a top bloke - great fighter in his day and came out publicly for anti-fascism back during the last surge of the far right.
posted by Abiezer at 4:45 AM on May 6, 2010


Forget about the polls, I've got an awful feeling this is going to be a gargantuan Tory landslide. I have a clear image of Cameron partying with champagne and grinning like a smug gibbon and poor old GB hanging himself.
posted by rubber duck at 4:45 AM on May 6, 2010


BTW, stelas, you don't vote for Mandelson - he is already Baron Mandelson, of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and of Hartlepool in the County of Durham. So there.

Oh, fine. Though I'm still convinced that his entry to any room requires, at the very least, a dramatic atonal evil vizier chord.

Ursus: Most of the disenfranchisement doesn't necessarily come from high population districts so much as those districts that are historically safe territory. Majority is the only thing that counts; in that respect if you're a Lib Dem voter living in a traditionally Labour area, your vote is extremely likely to be rendered useless because the moment Labour get a majority, well, it's their seat. A common gripe about the First Past The Post system is that a large number of votes are simply rendered null and void in this way - Voter Power Index lays a lot of this out well by region.
posted by stelas at 4:51 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


My tip - place a bet on the fairly likely result that you really don't want Majority). That way, if things don't go your way, at least your winnings are a small consolation prize. So, if Dave gets in, well, I'm not delighted but at least I collect £100 from the bookies.
posted by rhymer at 4:53 AM on May 6, 2010


Interesting bid for the Viz reader vote from this Tory poster.
posted by Abiezer at 4:54 AM on May 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sorry, that "because the moment Labour get a majority" is terrible wording. Your vote is extremely likely in that situation to be rendered useless because, whichever party wins a seat, all votes against that party no longer affect anything at all; that seat belongs to that party, done.
posted by stelas at 4:55 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


This election is depressing the hell out of me. I can't vote since I'm one of those dirty immigrants that Cameron keeps talking about how he's going to get "tough" on, and it just breaks my heart that the Tories are going to cut every single thing I love about the UK - strong public services, a multi-cultural society strengthened by highly skilled immigration, and a liberal taxation system. Sure, it's not perfect here but it's about to get a whole lot less perfect.

I wish I had something positive to say.
posted by ukdanae at 4:58 AM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


What I don't understand is how the conservatives are able to run on a change platform. How can they plausibly say that they would not have gotten into Iraq or stopped the financial meltdown? And their response to the crisis has been pure Hooverite nonsense. Do they ever get called out on this?
posted by afu at 5:01 AM on May 6, 2010


All of you whimpering about the great swinging axe of Tory spending cuts are deluding yourselves. It's delusional because whatever party wins, even if that is Labour, there will have to be massive cuts and increases in tax.

This is too bad, I rather like adequately funded public services myself but to pretend that the reason there will be spending cuts is because of some nefarious arch-conservative agenda is a load of bollocks.

On the other hand, if you hate the Tories you can look forward to seeing them opposition forever after the next general election. People aren't going to like what has to happen over the next five years, I can assure you.
posted by atrazine at 5:03 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


For reference, the elderly gent in front of me at the ballot box physically held his nose as he vocally dithered for a few seconds over whether he should put his vote in or not - he seemed genuinely distressed at whatever choice he made on his paper. It's a fairly tight liberal/conservative fight down here in rural north dorset, with a sitting Tory MP that was classed as one of the least value for money by the ToryTelegraph, with one of the lowest voting records in this parliament; and that's saying something.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:04 AM on May 6, 2010


Here's footage of BNP candidate Bob Bailey sailing into an Asian man who spat at him.
posted by biffa at 5:05 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


atrazine, we know there are going to have to be big cuts after the election. I just don't trust the Tories not to place an excessive burden on that section of the population which can least afford it.
posted by salmacis at 5:06 AM on May 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


All of you whimpering about the great swinging axe of Tory spending cuts are deluding yourselves. It's delusional because whatever party wins, even if that is Labour, there will have to be massive cuts and increases in tax.
Not at all - everyone knows this. It's a question of when, where and how those cuts are made and things like keeping or phasing out the minimum wage. No-one's under any illusions about the Labour Party past or present.
posted by Abiezer at 5:07 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is too bad, I rather like adequately funded public services myself but to pretend that the reason there will be spending cuts is because of some nefarious arch-conservative agenda is a load of bollocks.

Two points. Firstly, where the axe will fall will vary by party, big let offs for the country's richest on inheritance tax vs. increases in council tax vs. cuts in disability allowance vs. cuts to the NHS vs. taking the cap off student fees? the decisions will not be the same.

Secondly, why reward the party which so badly positioned the country on the economy? Protecting an overpriced housing market, removing regulation for the financial sector to allow them to risk the whole economy? Thanks Gordon. And lets not forget his efforts to increase income tax for the poorest people in the country.
posted by biffa at 5:11 AM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I find most difficult to swallow about the prospect of a Tory government is that all the stuff I find terrifying about them seems to be what they're most proud of. It's not like tax cuts for the rich or slashing public sector pay are dirty secrets of the Conservative campaign – they're not exactly trying to sneak this stuff in quietly.

There are actually billboards at the end of my road with big pictures of Cameron's face which carry slogans like "Let's cut benefits for those who refuse work." Cut benefits in the midst of a recession? Sure, why not. "Let's have national civic service for under 16s." Bring back national service? That's a policy you were proud enough of to put on billboards?

At least if they were keeping the crazy right-wing stuff under the radar and running on pure hot air and faux anti-incumbent outrage, I could tell myself that we were duped. As it is, a blue majority will be a mandate for pure old-fashioned Tory government.
posted by him at 5:12 AM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Majority is the only thing that counts; in that respect if you're a Lib Dem voter living in a traditionally Labour area, your vote is extremely likely to be rendered useless because the moment Labour get a majority, well, it's their seat.
To be a bit pedantic, they don't even need a majority, just a plurality, which thanks to the three-plus party system leads to seats where a candidate gets in with two thirds of people voting against them. this causes particular trouble, for example, for the anti-Tory crowd, who would be happy with Labour or Lib Dem but have to all vote for the same one in each constituency in some kind of electoral Prisoner's Dilemma. In short, first past the post can piss right off.
posted by eykal at 5:16 AM on May 6, 2010


All of you whimpering about the great swinging axe of Tory spending cuts are deluding yourselves. It's delusional because whatever party wins, even if that is Labour, there will have to be massive cuts and increases in tax...

On the other hand, if you hate the Tories you can look forward to seeing them opposition forever after the next general election. People aren't going to like what has to happen over the next five years, I can assure you.


Those things are related. The Tories have a political incentive to bring the spending cuts and tax rises as far forward as possible, cutting very heavily very early, so they can lay the blame on the previous government.

But yes, either way there's going to be a lot of economic pain after the election, and many people don't realise it:
50% of people do not believe there is a need to cut spending on public services in order to pay off the national debt...only 24% believe that public spending cuts are necessary.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:17 AM on May 6, 2010


"Let's have national civic service for under 16s."
They've pushed on with that policy, it seems :D
posted by Abiezer at 5:18 AM on May 6, 2010


Abiezer: They've pushed on with that policy, it seems :D

Oh yeah, not *under* 16s. Of course. Well, it seems like I need to work on my reading-and-remembering-contents-of-billboards-that-make-me-feel-sick skills.
posted by him at 5:22 AM on May 6, 2010


How to vote: Lie back and think of England.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:31 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Been following Billy Bragg on Facebook - he's been writing extensively about the election, posting videos, etc. Fascinating dude.
posted by jbickers at 5:31 AM on May 6, 2010


Whatever the outcome, I expect street riots and burning banks. Time to follow Byron's great example and help the Greeks out.
posted by klue at 5:36 AM on May 6, 2010


eykal: Yes, sorry, my bad. I corrected one but not the other.

vs. cuts to the NHS

I'm a little confused - I thought a cornerstone of the Tories' fiscal policy was 'slash public spending except NHS which we'll increase every year'. But everyone is saying that equates to 'IT WILL DIE IN FLAMES'.
posted by stelas at 5:48 AM on May 6, 2010


Hung parliament: the numbers game
posted by vbfg at 5:50 AM on May 6, 2010


I thought a cornerstone of the Tories' fiscal policy was 'slash public spending except NHS which we'll increase every year'

Yet experience teaches us that the cornerstone of actual Tory policy is 'Fuck the NHS, tax cuts for our friends'.
posted by biffa at 5:51 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's a rather nice realtime map at Tweetminster showing where people have voted. It's scanning the #ukvote hashtag on Twitter and looking for postcodes to plot votes as they come in. Quite exciting really, watching democracy happen second-by-second.
posted by ZsigE at 5:53 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


ach..who do I vote for. I thought I'd decided.
posted by Not Supplied at 5:54 AM on May 6, 2010


The Sun's front cover today is the most absurd thing I've ever seen.

Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama? As far as I'm concerned, Obama is just a moderate Tory (who dabbles in mass murder of Afghan and Pakistani civilians).
posted by dontjumplarry at 5:55 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


While true, I'd at least put some credence in extremely accountable (or at least, quantifiably accountable) claims made in manifestos. It's something that can easily be kept track of and pointed at if they screw up, and whichever party gets in is surely going to have a very hard time keeping itself there for a second term as it is without inviting that same kind of 'you didn't do this' damage.

Voting solely on experience isn't going to get the country anywhere beyond stuck in a loop.
posted by stelas at 5:58 AM on May 6, 2010


Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama?

Yes.
posted by smoke at 5:59 AM on May 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama?

In a general, finger in the air sensing of where the two broadly stand then it probably isn't so absurd. Yet, despite this, it is one of the most absurd things I've ever seen.
posted by vbfg at 6:00 AM on May 6, 2010


Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama

A lurch to the right, compared to a shuffle to the left? Yeah, absurd.

If just consider colours, though, it could make sense.
posted by pompomtom at 6:03 AM on May 6, 2010


If we...
posted by pompomtom at 6:04 AM on May 6, 2010


Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama?

His policies may not be so very far away. But as an incredibly posh white boy, descended from King William IV, educated at the exclusive £28,851 / $47,000 per year school Eton like 18 previous Prime Ministers, then Oxford University like 25 previous Prime Ministers, his election wouldn't say quite so much about how democratically open our public offices are.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:15 AM on May 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


Voting solely on experience isn't going to get the country anywhere beyond stuck in a loop.

I disagree, ignoring experience and opting for a party that regularly says it will do A then always does B is getting stuck in a loop. Avoiding getting stuck in a loop is finding someone else to vote for, this year the best bet for that seems to be the Lib Dems.
posted by biffa at 6:17 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama?

In that case I'll happily do a swap.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 6:19 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


General impression seems to be a higher than usual turn out, which is usually worse news for the Tories. Here's hoping.
posted by Abiezer at 6:36 AM on May 6, 2010


I was under the impression that the conservatives were basically center left democrats.
posted by Allan Gordon at 6:38 AM on May 6, 2010


Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama?

Yes.
Cameron is in favour of single payer healthcare.
posted by atrazine at 6:49 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think it's more accurate to say that Cameron is in a country where it would be political suicide to be anything other.
posted by vbfg at 6:53 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


AllanGordon,

oh yes! Here you can see the wannabe PM (second from left, standing) and Chancellor (first left) in their carefree younger days, just ordinary centreleft democrats like most students.
No doubt after the pics were taken they just rolled up their sleeves and volunteered for some homeless shelter (Big Society and all)
/snort/
Sorry, I'm dreading this already.
posted by MessageInABottle at 6:54 AM on May 6, 2010


Not to mention the mayor of London, seated front right. A fine looking body of men... god help us all
posted by hardcode at 7:03 AM on May 6, 2010


Yes, Harcode, indeed.
I am writing this with a fine view of Hammersmith bridge, in the council of H&F (Hammermith and Fulham)...and I still shudder at the article of Johann Hari yesterday....
posted by MessageInABottle at 7:10 AM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just to increase the dread, consider the face of "compassionate conservatism" in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Fingers crossed...
posted by lucien_reeve at 7:11 AM on May 6, 2010


For my friends in the UK, with sympathy. UB40's "If It Happens Again, I'm Leaving."

Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama?

If it isn't absurd to compare Cameron with Obama, then it isn't absurd to compare Brown or Clegg to him either. At that point the comparison starts to lose some of its rhetorical charge.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:11 AM on May 6, 2010


Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama?

Yes, in every possible way.
posted by blucevalo at 7:18 AM on May 6, 2010


I just noticed that in the UK Labor identifies with red and the Conservatives identify with blue. That seemed weird to me at first, but then again the fact that the right wing in this country identifies with red has always seemed weird to me too.

This is the second time I'm seen MeFites wondering about this is the last few days. This Wikipedia article explainsthe red/blue thing in the US - it's mostly a pretty recent development.
posted by naoko at 7:23 AM on May 6, 2010


Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama?
Not really, you're just comparing apples and oranges. Let's see.
One is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family (Rosaceae). The other is the fruit of the citrus Citrus ×​sinensis tree, a hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and tangerine (Citrus reticulata). But of course, if you want to compare, go compare (!)

No, not at all, my pleasure, glad to be of help.

Sorry, I can't even begin to explain how the comparison would not remotely make sense.
posted by MessageInABottle at 7:29 AM on May 6, 2010


MessageInABottle, I'm sat in my ivory tower in Canary Wharf looking out over Poplar and Stratford... I don't know who should be more scared, those in the Wharf or those I can see from here.
posted by hardcode at 7:31 AM on May 6, 2010


I'd say those in the Wharf will manage (and no, I am not implying that they are all multi-millionaire bankers ) - it's the people in the tower blocks you see if you look north, just past W India Dock Road, whose hopes will be crushed if No. 10 becomes a kind of f%$ing Eton class reunion.
(BTW, I've worked and lived in canary Wharf there and I remember seeing the families from the rest of Tower Hamlets going to the Wharf shopping centre on weekends and looking at the prices of things they knew they could never afford...)
I am middle class and I may even benefit from the help-the-rich agenda of the Tories but it's a sad indictment of the way Labour has mismanaged its time in power that the country is considering voting these elitist ultra-rich guys in. It's the most vulnerable who will suffer.
Bitter? Who, me?
posted by MessageInABottle at 7:42 AM on May 6, 2010


I disagree, ignoring experience and opting for a party that regularly says it will do A then always does B is getting stuck in a loop.

Well, yes, I'm not saying you should ignore experience entirely. But I actively don't see any point in ignoring manifestos entirely, either. Besides the fact that the world comes in more shades than black and white, these are quantative policies on written record from a party that was last in power 13 years ago.

That's a fair amount of time for a party to change (Labour was on the left back then, for instance...) and dismissing a manifesto entirely with a wave of a hand and an 'oh, them' just seems silly - especially when after waves of closures and administrative screwups and red tape and the intentional hiring and funding of more management and bureaucratic staff than nurses or doctors combined - not to mention disastrous vicious-circle funding systems, where hospitals that needed cash and support the most couldn't meet targets to get any - it seems like the only way you could do worse to the NHS than New Labour would be to shut it down and kick it's puppy a few times in the bargain. I'm far more worried about the damage Labour could cause it in another term, than the mystical floating 'well they might do' of the Conservatives.
posted by stelas at 8:47 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


stelas: I'm far more worried about the damage Labour could cause it in another term, than the mystical floating 'well they might do' of the Conservatives.

I kind of get where you're coming from, in the sense that parties can change* but – and forgive me if this sounds patronising, because I mean it in all honesty – I'm not sure how old you are, and if you remember quite how bad the previous Tory government was for the majority of the population.

Any sort of "well they might do" by the Tories is not so much "might do" as "already have done previously, and have stated they will do again" – their manifesto says as much. And what they've done previously was pretty ruinous, all in (to put it mildly).

And as for Labour being capable of more damage than the Tories, should they get lucky, I'll just repeat something I wrote on MeFi a couple of years back, when the Tories won the Crewe and Nantwich by-election:
In short: none of the things that people hate about what new Labour have done in the last decade are going to get any better under a Tory government. Because the things people hate about this government are the things that the Tories would never have dreamed of getting away with doing, even when Thatcher was at the height of her popularity.

It's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.




*And between '79 and '97 Labour did change, but I'd argue, old socialist that I am, that they changed in all the wrong ways.
posted by Len at 9:25 AM on May 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


First of all, it's quite weird seeing British voters getting scared about a hung Parliament; in India, we've had them since 1989. We now get 'decisive mandates' with the biggest party getting 150-odd seats in a 545-seat Parliament. Britain, presumably is a lot
more homogenous than this. :)

Second, the weirdest thing I learnt about these elections was that non-British Commonwealth citizens legally resident in Britain have a right to vote and can stand in elections too. That's an interesting contrast to all that anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Third, there was this NYTimes article on how anti-immgration (British-Asian-heavy) Bradford was; the target now is East Europeans. Puts the whole bigot gaffe episode in an interesting perspective.

Fourth, as much as I wish it weren't so, Im calling this for the Tories. Not a hung, it'll be Tories with a slim majority. The Libs and Labour might have had a chance if they had an electoral pact or something; with First Past The Post, absolute vote-shares don't matter, performance in marginal constituencies will. The Libs have had a bit of a swing with the TV debates, but it won't be enough to translate this into something meaningful for them; they'll end up eating into Labour's vote-share, and end up handing the marginal constituencies to the Tories. The actual overall swing for the Tories will be something small, say 1.5% or something, but it'll translate into a decent-ish lead.

Let's see how wrong this will be in 12 hours. :)

Now, if you're like me and place yourself somewhere next to Labour and Libs in the political spectrum, my prognosis might sound like an easy case for Proportional Representation; effectively, I'm saying that the _least_ popular ideology, one that's potentially supported by only one-third of the electorate, will end up getting the most seats.

Here, however, is the counter-argument; PR makes sense only if you see yourself voting _parties_ and not individuals. I see parties and ideologies as something fleeting; ideas should require churn, party cadres are among the seediest and most corrupt political parties out there. As a voter, I'd rather elect _individuals_; I'd want to be represented by people whose judgement I trust and who shares values that I believe in. What party cadre s/he belongs to is a secondary concern; the final buck must stop with my representative, not his leader. That's why PR is bad, even though in realpolitik terms, First Past The Post might generate an undesirable outcome tomorrow.
posted by the cydonian at 9:59 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


What can you NOT do in a polling station?
posted by homunculus at 10:13 AM on May 6, 2010


Third, there was this NYTimes article on how anti-immgration (British-Asian-heavy) Bradford was; the target now is East Europeans. Puts the whole bigot gaffe episode in an interesting perspective.

Bradford has a lot of eastern Europeans for much the same reasons it gained a lot of Indian and Pakistani immigrants in the 60s and 70s - cheap housing. The house I bought cost 24,000 in 2004. It is now worth 30,000. For the same house pretty much anywhere in London that wouldn't cover a 10% deposit.

Of course the reason the houses are so cheap is there is very little work, local education standards are relatively poor amongst both white and Asian kids and the ones who do do well generally leave. Ten miles to the east is Leeds, which didn't entirely miss out on the party this country has apparantly had this last decade or so. You don't have to travel far to find better prospects, but it does cost money to do so.

This a city made almost entirely of low wage jobs, and competition is already fierce. I could never condone voting along race lines, but I understand entirely why immigration disporportionally scares people of all hues in places like Bradford, Rochdale and so on compared to more affluent places. It would be the same if it was the good people of Lancashire fleeing some natural disaster (such as being surrounded by Lancashire) and needing to be accomodated nearby.
posted by vbfg at 10:48 AM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


...it's also why I have gone ape at people from London trying to argue that northerners are inherently more racist than people from 'cosmopolitan' London due to BNP election results, and why I'm amused that all the BNP's focus is on Barking & Dagenham. Of course race is a factor, but...
posted by vbfg at 10:51 AM on May 6, 2010


The fear of a hung parliament comes from a combination of the fact that it is an unusual outcome in a UK election and that the term between elections is limited to five years, but not fixed. This makes a hung parliament inherently unstable, as any of the major parties will try to force another election the minute they feel it's likely that they could could elected with an overall majority. It would make it difficult to implement any long term policies without immediate payback or popularity, and it seems clear that short term thinking is not going to get us out of the hole that we're in.
On the other hand, it may be that a hung parliament would result in everyone behaving like adults and government by consensus, especially on the big-ticket items, but the cynic in me can't see it.
posted by Jakey at 10:54 AM on May 6, 2010


Step outside Posh Boy
posted by lalochezia at 11:03 AM on May 6, 2010


the final buck must stop with my representative, not his leader. That's why PR is bad

Single transferrable vote
posted by kersplunk at 11:12 AM on May 6, 2010


Jakey: On the other hand, it may be that a hung parliament would result in everyone behaving like adults and government by consensus, especially on the big-ticket items, but the cynic in me can't see it.

I'm betting that your Tories end up governing a lot like ours have, i.e. push through a lot of their agenda by making everything a confidence vote. That way the opposition gets blamed for triggering an election, which presumably earns them the wrath of a campaign-weary electorate. And if the LibDems and Labour try to form a governing coalition, the Tories can accuse them of overturning the results of an election a few weeks later in order to form a coalition that nobody voted for.
posted by hangashore at 11:36 AM on May 6, 2010


When the alternative is Gordon still in Number 10 tomorrow evening I think there'll be a high turnout and only time will tell who is "first". Some would vote Bin Laden rather than Labour right now.

My only prediction is that Pickford's* will be calling at Downing Street early Friday.

hardcode (now home in York)

* a removals firm for those non-UK
posted by hardcode at 12:26 PM on May 6, 2010


I don't even get to vote for the party I'd like to as the Greens didn't bother putting a candidate forward here, disappointingly.
posted by dng at 12:41 PM on May 6, 2010


yes, the UK situation seems eerily like the Canadian political experience circa 5 years ago. I hope you like endless election fever. Although (from my vantage point way over here) it seems that Dave Cameron is better at image-building than Stephen Harper, with his cold robotic eyes. So maybe he'll pull out a slim majority, if not this time 'round. On the other hand if Labour manage not to select a series of bumbling, incompetent party leaders maybe they will make it back to power quicker than the Liberal Party of Canada.

I have always maintained that the only thing stopping an NDP breakthrough is Jack Layton's mustache. Ugh.
posted by tivalasvegas at 12:44 PM on May 6, 2010


BTW, stelas, you don't vote for Mandelson - he is already Baron Mandelson, of Foy in the County of Herefordshire Mordor.

Slight correction for accuracy, there.

Salmacis' prediction of a Tory government propped up by the Ulster Unionists is something of a nightmare scenario. Cameron's already lined up Northern Ireland and the north-east of England as targets for cuts because of their reliance on public sector jobs (because all the heavy industries which provided tens of thousands of jobs in those regions disappeared under the Tories last time), and if he's reliant on politically rimming the Unionists in order to stay in power I guess that means the north-east is doubly screwed.
posted by reynir at 1:11 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


According to the Guardian's live blog early exit polls are suggesting that the tories have received 37-39% of the vote. Eep!
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:17 PM on May 6, 2010


According to the Guardian's live blog early exit polls are suggesting that the tories have received 37-39% of the vote. Eep!

Oh god. Still, based on some random Twitter rumour. If I keep saying that over and over I might believe it.

Is it really so absurd to compare Cameron with Obama?

Well, Cameron wasn't born in America, and...

Sorry.
posted by reynir at 1:20 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Twitter panic I hear, YCTaB - no exit polls out yet plus Tories famously do more of there voting in the day (preponderance of retired persons and the idle rich in the vote etc.) Stiff upper lip (turning to stiff drink if I'm wrong)
posted by Abiezer at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2010


Eek - a there-their error so dismaying is the rumour.
posted by Abiezer at 1:21 PM on May 6, 2010


* a removals firm for those non-UK

A moving company for those that don't speak UK.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:26 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, according to the Guardian's live blog Cameron's been chopping logs for two hours only a day after charging up and down the country all night...oooh he's all man, isn't he?

I am feeling Voter's Remorse after not voting for Labour in Greenwich and Woolwich - what if we're all wrong and the seat's not as safe as all that, and what if the Tories get in here? I'd never forgive myself.
posted by calico at 1:30 PM on May 6, 2010


And remember, non-postal voting Britishers

When all is said and done I expect there'll be plenty of voting Britishers gone postal.
posted by hangashore at 1:33 PM on May 6, 2010


Cameron's been chopping logs for two hours
That's actually a euphemism for 'shitting bricks'.
posted by Abiezer at 1:44 PM on May 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Cameron's been chopping logs for two hours."

That's actually a euphemism for 'shitting bricks'.

I thought the euphemism was 'dropping a log in the bog'?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:51 PM on May 6, 2010


BBC exit poll:

Conservatives: 307 seats

Labour: 255

Lib Dems: 59

Others: 29
posted by reynir at 2:01 PM on May 6, 2010


Exit poll says Tories on 307 seats, Labour 255, Libs 59 Others 29. Hung parliament it may well be!
posted by Abiezer at 2:01 PM on May 6, 2010


*shakes fist a reynir* - and that's a drop in seats for the Lib Dems despite the hype. If it is wrong and the Lib Dems are much higher, that will mostly mean even fewer Tories. Splendid.
posted by Abiezer at 2:03 PM on May 6, 2010


Still looks like Cameron will end up as PM though. Which is not good.
posted by MrMustard at 2:04 PM on May 6, 2010


59 seats for the Lib Dems? Jesus, that's lower that I would hope.

This bit of the TV coverage is great, as essentially nothing happens now for over an hour.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 2:05 PM on May 6, 2010


The emphasis is that this exit poll projects as uniform behaviour nationwide, which isn't how the fight takes place on the ground, and I reckon tactical voting and local loyalties will mean it's substantially varying from that - but happily, I reckon either way the Tories will be lower than that.
posted by Abiezer at 2:08 PM on May 6, 2010


They're still queuing halfway down the street here. First time I've voted in this constituency, but I've never seen queues like this in any of the past 3 elections.
posted by anagrama at 2:10 PM on May 6, 2010


BBC's graphics put together by The Day Today team, from the look of it. I wish they'd stop this, and just have an old school giant cardboard arrow that pivots badly on a chart.

If that exit poll is right, be interesting to see how much of the popular vote the Lib Dems got - it might have gone up, even as the number of seats go down. Appalling.
posted by reynir at 2:11 PM on May 6, 2010


Damn those exit polls! But no-one canvassed us leaving Hackney South...do they only target voters for the non-safe seats?
posted by freya_lamb at 2:15 PM on May 6, 2010


Still wouldn't back against an overall Tory majority. Tories don't like to admit to being Tories when polled. It's almost as if they're ashamed of it or something.
posted by MrMustard at 2:15 PM on May 6, 2010


It's hard to see the Lib Dems actually losing seats even if a lot of it was hype, so although the exit polls were spot on last time out there will be a bit of flexibility in this I expect, due to the added complexities of a genuinely three-way fight. Just got to make sure there's no workable Tory majority and the right falls on Cameron like the bloodthirsty zombies they are.
posted by Abiezer at 2:17 PM on May 6, 2010


Seven reasons to be wary of the exit poll tonight.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 2:19 PM on May 6, 2010


Extrapolating exit poll raw percentages & plugging them into house swingometer, Fivethirtyeight.com projects a 15-seat Conservative majority: Con 341 / Lab 219 / LD 62.
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:22 PM on May 6, 2010


Mandleson: "The constitutional conventions are very clear. You know the rules. The rules are if it's a hung parliament it's not the party with the largest number of seats that has the first go. It's the sitting government."
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:29 PM on May 6, 2010


http://blogs.ft.com/westminster/2010/05/seven-reasons-to-be-wary-of-the-exit-poll-tonight/
posted by vbfg at 2:32 PM on May 6, 2010


Extrapolating exit poll raw percentages & plugging them into house swingometer, Fivethirtyeight.com projects a 15-seat Conservative majority: Con 341 / Lab 219 / LD 62.
His model's all over the shop AFAICT though - not sure he's grasped the constituency nature of these contests in our first-past-the-post system - it's the marginals that move things. He himself advises caution and you shouldn't extract percentages from exit polls because they're calculated on a seat-by-seat basis. Another due at 11pm local time apparently that will be firmer,
posted by Abiezer at 2:32 PM on May 6, 2010


There's some clear LibDem sweet-talking going on from all the Labour talking heads, with "electoral reform being a must". It's going to be interesting - I'll be surprised if there's a clear winner by whatever ridiculous hour I fall into bed...
posted by anagrama at 2:35 PM on May 6, 2010


Some cheeky bond analyst on the BBC coverage claiming that the City is looking for stability - cheers, you casino gamblers, you've certainly done your bit for that.
posted by Abiezer at 2:36 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Reports that the Tories were preparing to push against the constitutional precedents in the event of a hung parliament appear to be coming true. Already every Tory on the TV has said that Brown has lost his legitimacy and the country has turned to Cameron. Mandy is certainly giving the Lib Dems the come-on. There might be a silver lining in this yet - no Tory government and electoral reform.
posted by Jakey at 2:39 PM on May 6, 2010


All the Labour talking heads are pushing the PR line hard. Slightly embarassed for them.
posted by vbfg at 2:41 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hah, Alan Johnson talking about political disenfrachisement from the first past the post system, and how people don't get their view represented fairly. Talk about a Damascus conversion now they've (probably) lost their big house majority.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:41 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


In fairness to Johnson, he's actually been one of the ones always very vocally pro-PR. Mandelson is obviously a different story. He'd go for pottery shard lots if it meant lovely, lovely power.
posted by Abiezer at 2:47 PM on May 6, 2010


Number of reports of people being turned away at 10pm without voting, after having queued for ages. Police having to be called in some cases to disperse angry would-be voters.
posted by reynir at 2:47 PM on May 6, 2010


Huh, they reckon a 2% Tory swing in Lib/Tory seats, which would explain the low number of liberal seats overall, and a small labour swing in wales and scotland, where the liberals hoped to take seats.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:47 PM on May 6, 2010


Woohoo! First result is in! Labour retakes their super-safe seat in Sunderland (with a 12% swing against them).
posted by jonesor at 2:57 PM on May 6, 2010


So it's 1-0 to Labour - best tactic is to pack the box for the next 90 minutes and keep hoofing it long. Or is that not how it works?
posted by Abiezer at 2:57 PM on May 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


I can't believe that people in line at the polling station at 10pm can't vote. In the US, everyone in line at closing time still gets to cast a ballot. I never thought that US election law was actually more progressive than the UK's in any way.
posted by thewittyname at 2:59 PM on May 6, 2010


If 538's back-projections to vote percentage are correct, the exit poll gives Conservatives 38.5%, Labour 29.3%, LibDems 23.3%

The 2005 election resulted in Con 32.3%, Lab 35.3%, Lib Dem 22.1%.

So if so, after all the fuss the Lib Dems breakthrough only amounted to a single percentage point.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:02 PM on May 6, 2010


First result was my constituency last time, until they redrew the boundaries. Depressing to see there's over a thousand people living around who voted BNP, excellent to see that it was only a thousand (in an area they've pushed hard over recent years), and the independent candidate got just about double their vote.
posted by reynir at 3:02 PM on May 6, 2010


The law is pretty strict; no more ballots issued after 10pm. With fairly small wards, and a long voting period it's generally not an issue - I can't remember an election where there were still queues even close to 10pm. But yes, it does seem pretty unfair.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:03 PM on May 6, 2010


thewittyname: I can't believe that people in line at the polling station at 10pm can't vote.

If the tories get in I kind of expect people to kick off about that in a big way. This election is making very clear that electoral reform is needed, and there's no way the tories would stand for that.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:07 PM on May 6, 2010


This knob of a professor on the BBC wants to take the swing in a safe Labour seat with a lower than average turnout as the basis of a national prediction. I think not, prof.
posted by Abiezer at 3:07 PM on May 6, 2010


We don't have the gap between election and the new executive coming to power that you have in the US, thewittyname. The convention and the hope is to have the new mob, whoever they may be, in place by Friday morning.
posted by littleredspiders at 3:08 PM on May 6, 2010


I can't believe that people in line at the polling station at 10pm can't vote. In the US, everyone in line at closing time still gets to cast a ballot.

My flatmate just got home from voting - here, everyone in the queue at 10pm was taken inside and the doors shut behind them.
posted by anagrama at 3:09 PM on May 6, 2010


This knob of a professor on the BBC wants to take the swing in a safe Labour seat with a lower than average turnout as the basis of a national prediction. I think not, prof.

Yeah, I was thinking what an idiot...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:10 PM on May 6, 2010


Yeah, I was thinking what an idiot...
Plus there was an independent who took about 7% mostly from Labour.
posted by Abiezer at 3:12 PM on May 6, 2010


It'd be hard not to go postal if you had a few drinks taken and were on this BBC party boat on the Thames with these various dim celebs.
posted by Abiezer at 3:16 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Plus there was an independent who took about 7% mostly from Labour.

I think the Lid Dem vote got totally squeezed. Be much more interesting to see what happens in a more marginal constituency.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:16 PM on May 6, 2010


Extrapolating from results so far, I have it as 650 for Labour.
posted by reynir at 3:17 PM on May 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


Here's that revised exit poll I mentioned (that firms up at 11):
#
BREAKING NEWS

The BBC/Sky/ITV News exit poll has been revised. The outcome remains the same - hung parliament, Tories the largest party - but the figures are now: Conservatives 305, Labour 255, Lib Dems 61 and others 29.
posted by Abiezer at 3:24 PM on May 6, 2010


Quote from BBC have your say: "1 person handing out ballot papers for Manchester Withington. I'm disgusted! We live round the corner from the polling station. We went at 1800 - it was too busy we went back an hour later - still big queues. We went back at 2100 but still couldn't vote. I estimate 200 were turned away. In 2005 there were more polling stations open."
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:26 PM on May 6, 2010


I think that's two saved deposits for the BNP now :(
posted by Abiezer at 3:27 PM on May 6, 2010


BBC mention a 'sit-in' at a polling station when people can't vote...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:28 PM on May 6, 2010


SAVE OUR TITS
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:30 PM on May 6, 2010


The BNP always do fairly well in Sunderland, depressingly enough.
posted by anagrama at 3:33 PM on May 6, 2010


Following on from reynir's perceptive methodology above, I know predict that the UK will lead the world by being the first nation since the Amazons to be entirely governed by women.
posted by Abiezer at 3:34 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Third Labour woman in, and the gynecocracy gets nearer. BBC's doom and gloom bout the swing wrong, and highlighting that each seat has its peculiarities I reckon.
posted by Abiezer at 3:43 PM on May 6, 2010


That was a much reduced Tory swing in a more marginal seat... still it looks like we will be ruled entirely by Geordie women...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:45 PM on May 6, 2010


So I take it that there are no 'partial results' announced per riding, i.e. the first vote count you hear for a constituency is the official one, with all polls reporting. I'd been wondering why we weren't hearing anything about the early popular vote totals, or what parties were leading in which ridings. Of course, our system can lead to comical situations where a candidate can declare victory a little too early in the evening.
posted by hangashore at 3:46 PM on May 6, 2010


I'm glad at least that the first of the Tory maybes went against them. I think it may be a long night, and excruciating too if I have to see much more of Andrew Neil's party barge.
posted by calico at 3:48 PM on May 6, 2010


The BBC's cgi gets more mental... but unfortunately there's nothing to beat this yet (as a friend reminded me)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:51 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


That was the world's most boring description of a plane crash.
posted by vbfg at 3:53 PM on May 6, 2010


Abiezer:
New Zealand is the only country in the world in which all the highest offices in the land have been occupied simultaneously by women: (Queen) Elizabeth II, (Governor-General) Dame Silvia Cartwright, (Prime Minister) Helen Clark, (Speaker of the House of Representatives) Margaret Wilson and (Chief Justice) Dame Sian Elias were all in office between March 2005 and August 2006.
So I'd say the UK is too late on that front.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:54 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Polish plane, you know. God has a sense of humour.
posted by Abiezer at 3:54 PM on May 6, 2010


You progressive Kiwi bastards! Next you'll be telling me you've declared a nuclear-free zone or something crazy.
posted by Abiezer at 3:56 PM on May 6, 2010


Something to bear in mind for those still queuing to vote post the 10pm cut-off; given the reporting moratorium ends then, and anyone with a smartphone could get that exit polling data - and potentially alter their vote in tactical response. I can definitely see legal challenges either way though if there's a tight vote with people either allowed or denied voting post 10pm. One polling officer blamed students turning up late without polling cards which slowed ID checks prior to issuing ballot papers. But also reports of not enough ballot papers!

Bit of a balls up, frankly.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:56 PM on May 6, 2010


God has a sense of humour.

And even him, in his infinite wisdom, hates UKIP
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:56 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sky sources: voters turned away at Ranmoor polling station are refusing to let ballot box out of building. Police there
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:57 PM on May 6, 2010


anyone with a smartphone could get that exit polling data - and potentially alter their vote in tactical response.

Are exit polls really that accurate and important? Certainly, they've predicted a hung parliament that hasn't eventuated in the past. I don't see any reason for people to be more honest in what they tell the exit poll people after the election than the phone poll people before the election.

Anyway, with all these people queuing late because they had to come and vote after work - always makes me wonder why the UK and the US insist on holding polls on weekdays.
posted by Jimbob at 4:03 PM on May 6, 2010


That was a much reduced Tory swing in a more marginal seat... still it looks like we will be ruled entirely by Geordie women...

Ahem. Using that G-word would be fighting talk in Sunderland...
posted by reynir at 4:06 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


it seems like the only way you could do worse to the NHS than New Labour would be to shut it down and kick it's puppy a few times in the bargain

This holds up until you look at the evidence, ie that the tories dicked over the NHS hugely and that Labour made efforts, albeit with stupid forays into PFI, to shore it up.
posted by biffa at 4:08 PM on May 6, 2010


Ahem. Using that G-word would be fighting talk in Sunderland...

Quickest way to wind up a Mackem...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:10 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Argh, Christ - Starkey Schama and Amis on the party barge. Simon, you're too good for this.
posted by calico at 4:14 PM on May 6, 2010


The best thing about the 'celeb boat' is spotting who is the most pissed...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:15 PM on May 6, 2010


Joan Collins is the new Bob Monkhouse?
posted by i_cola at 4:16 PM on May 6, 2010


Though Joan Collins really touched on the key issues at stake :D
posted by Abiezer at 4:16 PM on May 6, 2010


Whip-round to pay a London-based MeFite to head down to the Thames, hole the celeb punt under the water then call the lifeboat?
posted by Abiezer at 4:18 PM on May 6, 2010


Our Joan appears to have transformed into Maggie T
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:18 PM on May 6, 2010


I quite liked Armando Ianucci suppressing a chuckle while Joan told us about how important the Family is.
posted by calico at 4:18 PM on May 6, 2010


They abolished Facebook!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:25 PM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Brighton Pavilion in the (Green) house!
posted by i_cola at 4:29 PM on May 6, 2010


They're looking at Brighton Pavilion now, and saw elsewhere that the Greens at the count are cautiously optimistic - oh, Beeb confirm that.
posted by Abiezer at 4:30 PM on May 6, 2010


Jim Murphy, the Scottish Secretary, has explicitly proposed the idea of a coalition:

The truth is this is an election that none of us could predict as it unfolded and even this evening is entirely unpredictable. I think all options are still open, including for example a Labour-Liberal coalition.
posted by Jakey at 4:33 PM on May 6, 2010


If we get the first Green MP in Brighton I will be insanely proud. And very happy that I could actually vote for a decent, hard-working, intelligent person in Caroline Lucas.
posted by i_cola at 4:38 PM on May 6, 2010


The first Green MP would be something to celebrate, even it is from the wreckage of everything else. Any idea when the result is due?

(Feafulsymmetry, damnit, I bit!)
posted by reynir at 4:41 PM on May 6, 2010


Brighton Pavilion is listed as 3.30am on this Guardian list of expected declaration times.
posted by Jakey at 4:45 PM on May 6, 2010


oof, Peter Robinson lost! That's gonna be a kick for the DUP.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:49 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bent bastard Peter Robinson out on his ear in Belfast East! Excellent!
posted by Abiezer at 4:49 PM on May 6, 2010


First shock vote of the night... Alliance knock out Peter Robinson
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:50 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blimey. Goodbye Peter Robinson...can someone better informed tell me whether this has any bearing if the Tories are trying to put together a minority government?
posted by calico at 4:51 PM on May 6, 2010


They've moved Brighton Pav forward to 2-2.30 in the last few hours. I'm not working until 11.30 so I might have to indulge a stay up...
posted by i_cola at 4:52 PM on May 6, 2010


Good news for those of us afraid of the potential Unionist/Tory coalition, as well, as the Telegraph reported this week that the DUP was willing to enter a formal coalition.
posted by Jakey at 4:54 PM on May 6, 2010


Losing the leader of the DUP and the First Minister of the Assembly; yeah, that's gonna cause some issues for a Tory/DUP alliance as a minority government, and that's gotta have some impact on power sharing in NI. Definitely a Portillo Moment.
posted by ArkhanJG at 4:54 PM on May 6, 2010


Get the best deal for your new extension more like, Robinson.
posted by Abiezer at 4:58 PM on May 6, 2010


Plaid gain from Labour - further evidence of the big swing to the left :p
posted by Abiezer at 5:03 PM on May 6, 2010


There appears to be a 9% swing from Labour to the Conservatives, which is looking quite worrying.
posted by salmacis at 5:05 PM on May 6, 2010


That first Tory win is a bit worrying - big swing in a straight fight with Labour.
posted by Abiezer at 5:05 PM on May 6, 2010


Uh oh... 9% Swing Tory gain in Kingswood... hopefully that's a rogue result, or it'll be a comfortable Con majority by the end of the night.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:06 PM on May 6, 2010


That swingometer is starting to look threatening. And the clicking sound on that giant iphone is fairly annoying. Have they never owned a mobile phone?
posted by klue at 5:08 PM on May 6, 2010


I think I'm holding my breath until the first Tory/LibDem marginal, given that received opinion (*waves hands, can't remember where she read it*) was that the exit poll may well underestimate the LibDem gains?
posted by calico at 5:08 PM on May 6, 2010


Yoink. First chinless Tory of the night. Ashcroft MPs ahoy..?
posted by i_cola at 5:09 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lib Dems hold Torbay.... looking better
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:11 PM on May 6, 2010


Swing other way in Torbay. Paddy Ashdown just rubbishing my hung parliament prediction though.
posted by Abiezer at 5:12 PM on May 6, 2010


Torbay stays LibDem, with a 1.1% swing to the Tories. There's your first LibDem/Con marginal.
posted by salmacis at 5:12 PM on May 6, 2010


Was it to or away from the Tories? Thought it may have been away from - Dimples corrected himself after an initial mistake
posted by calico at 5:16 PM on May 6, 2010


Swung to the Lib Dems was what I thought.
posted by Abiezer at 5:18 PM on May 6, 2010


Looks like it could be Con v Lib = Lib hold/small gain but Con v Lab = Lab kicked.
posted by i_cola at 5:19 PM on May 6, 2010


As someone involved in Irish politics, it is absolutely fantastic to see Peter Robinson lose his seat. He's a deeply unpleasant, corrupt character who was allegedly violent against his wife for years.

Interesting times.

And the party I work for should hold our 3 seats, which is nice.
posted by knapah at 5:23 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gerry Adams just held his seat in West Belfast. Odds of 1/750 for him to win it, so not exactly a surprise.

The SDLP candidate, Alex Attwood increased his vote by a couple of hundred votes though, which is a bit of a surprise - albeit ultimately meaningless.
posted by knapah at 5:31 PM on May 6, 2010


I get the feeling that Labour are going to regret not calling for tactical voting earlier and more explicitly, although things are still far from clear. Ruomours in Scotland are that the Tories are not doing well in their target marginals. The Con-LD marginals in SW England may turn out to be critical.
posted by Jakey at 5:35 PM on May 6, 2010


Nice to be getting a tour of the UK's finest leisure centres...
posted by i_cola at 5:35 PM on May 6, 2010


Can't go to bed, because I'll wake up to a bigger nightmare than the one unfolding before my eyes right now.
posted by MrMustard at 5:38 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Durham City hold for Labour with smaller swing to Tories (although Lib Dems were second, thinking nationally) is pretty significant too.
posted by Abiezer at 5:38 PM on May 6, 2010


Lab hold Durham. Lib Dem surge seemingly non-existent.
posted by anagrama at 5:39 PM on May 6, 2010


And here I was rooting for the Land is Power chap.
posted by klue at 5:39 PM on May 6, 2010


Even Blunkett says Labour have lost. I think I'll be off to bed soon in a bad mood..
posted by salmacis at 5:39 PM on May 6, 2010


klue: 57 votes. YEAH! POWER!
posted by salmacis at 5:40 PM on May 6, 2010


Brown's 'victory' speech sounded like he knows he's on his way out as PM
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:44 PM on May 6, 2010


Electoral Calculus were giving the Libs a 79.3% chance of taking Durham. This is not good.
posted by anagrama at 5:44 PM on May 6, 2010


6.5% swing for Tories to take Battersea.
posted by Abiezer at 5:45 PM on May 6, 2010


I was stunned at Blunkett's comment. Especially with the Tories all sticking to their talking points like that.

I cannot help but imagine Malcolm Tucker watching that, veering up from his seat with a mobile on either ear, one ringing the BBC and Sky on the other.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:46 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


But rubbish swing in Tooting that Labour hold. Hmm.
posted by Abiezer at 5:47 PM on May 6, 2010


P.S. We're all following Malcolm Tucker, aren't we?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:47 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tories hold the number one Lib Dem target, with a swing to the Tories... was that exit poll right?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:50 PM on May 6, 2010


From Malcolm Tucker's twitter stream:

Just slashed the tyres on a minibus full of old dears with a Tory poster in the window. Minus 16 votes Dave.

First laugh i've had in the past hour or so. I need Charlie Brooker to come back on and make more "Cameron is a reptile" jokes.
posted by ukdanae at 5:52 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did Dimbleby just say current swing is 3.3%? If the big swings to the Tories are in safe Labour seats and in Tory-held seats, then things maybe not so desperate.
posted by Abiezer at 5:54 PM on May 6, 2010


David Blunkett has devoted himself to troublemaking since he left the front benches. Who knows what he's hoping to achieve within the party by speaking off message? As the lovely Alistair Campbell said recently, attention seeking takes many forms.
posted by calico at 5:56 PM on May 6, 2010


Labour just held target number 92 with no rise in the Tory vote.
posted by Abiezer at 5:58 PM on May 6, 2010


The party I work for has just held the seat we considered most threatened, South Belfast. Excellent. Work tomorrow will have a good atmosphere, hooray!
posted by knapah at 6:00 PM on May 6, 2010


Sometimes modern democracy -- as in the Bush/Kerry election in the US, when it's a choice between bad and worse (and worser) -- just makes me feel a little sad and hopeless.

Good luck, British friends. Maybe next go-round you'll have a real choice.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:05 PM on May 6, 2010


ukdanae, I had a similar moment with this one. Just as well, I'm thoroughly miserable and need the lulz.

It's like the bizarroworld version of staying up to watch the US results come in last November. I'm still trading much needed sleep for polls and punditry, but in a DESPAIR sort of way.

Can't sleep, Conservatives will eat me.
posted by the latin mouse at 6:09 PM on May 6, 2010


knapah: Are the Tory partners in NI likely to lose any more seats?
posted by i_cola at 6:11 PM on May 6, 2010


Thank you the latin mouse, I totally needed that!

(I just posted the exact same thing to my FB profile five minutes ago!)
posted by ukdanae at 6:11 PM on May 6, 2010


Wait...

You mean England's electing a new queen??
posted by jonmc at 6:11 PM on May 6, 2010


Recount!

Miami-on-Trent, I tell you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:16 PM on May 6, 2010


jonmc, under the British constitution monarchs are appointed by swords emerging from lakes.
posted by WPW at 6:19 PM on May 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lembit Opik's gone! Who will go out with minor celebrities and safeguard our country from meteorites now?
posted by calico at 6:24 PM on May 6, 2010


Mad swing in Montgomeryshire for another Tory gain in Wales and wacky boy Lembit out.
posted by Abiezer at 6:24 PM on May 6, 2010


Lembik Opik can now spend more time with his d-list babes... that was a bit of a surprise....
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:24 PM on May 6, 2010


knapah: Are the Tory partners in NI likely to lose any more seats?

Ironically, the Tory's official partners in Northern Ireland were the Ulster Unionist Party. Their only MP resigned from their party as a result of it (Sylvia Hermon - "I'm just not a Tory") and their leader, Reg Empey, has likely failed to win a seat in South Antrim.

The Tories official partners in Northern Ireland will therefore probably not have any MPs.

That doesn't mean they won't seek an unofficial alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party though. Their leader lost their seat earlier, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem for them, they'll win enough other seats to constitute a significant bloc in the new parliament.

Incidentally, the Foyle Constituency count has just concluded and Mark Durkan (SDLP) has just been elected. This is despite a security alert (bomb scare) leading to the count being suspended, the count centre being evacuated and then it being restarted.

So that's 2 out of 3 seats held by the party I work for, only one to go. Should find out in about an hour.
posted by knapah at 6:25 PM on May 6, 2010


Series of poor results for LD in LD-Con marginals. Beginning to look unlikely that a Lib-Lab coalition will be possible.
posted by Jakey at 6:28 PM on May 6, 2010


Tory boy Nick Robinson is doing his best to keep my hopes of a hung parliament alive.
posted by Abiezer at 6:30 PM on May 6, 2010


Beeb saying that on results so far, 'Liberal Democrat no change in the vote since 2005' Blimey.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:32 PM on May 6, 2010


If the Lib Dems stay the same as in 2005, then my disregard for opinion polls will be vindicated. Quite remarkable.
posted by knapah at 6:34 PM on May 6, 2010


Been awake for 20hrs now... So spaced out now I might start hallucinating... what's that BIG-ENDER gain in LILLIPUT SOUTH?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:34 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good news from NI – well done knapah! I also see that Lembit Opik is out on his ear in Montgomeryshire; not sure what he has to look forward to now other than a string of tawdry reality shows.

Watching the Beeb coverage, Brillo Pad Neil's for some reason on the Thames. or, as someone whose feed escapes me right now said: "worst boat party on the Thames since the Marchioness".
posted by Len at 6:37 PM on May 6, 2010


Rich of the Beeb to profess bewilderment at the absent Clegg effect - you were the ones puffing it up.
posted by Abiezer at 6:38 PM on May 6, 2010


Good to see the Tories doing badly across the celtic fringe. England, sort yourselves out please.

(I think that these people complaining about not getting in to vote should have gone earlier)
posted by knapah at 6:39 PM on May 6, 2010


fearfulsymmetry – yeah, the Lib Dems are getting shafted, aren't they? I think – and this is something that Nick Robinson maybe mentioned – they're getting pinched by circumstance: people want to fuck Labour over, but don't really want to elect a Tory, and in plenty of constituencies voting Lib Dem would do exactly that. And in seats which are going majority Tory, plenty of folk voting Labour because they see them as a more realistic chance for that seat than the Lib Dems, without actually getting enough votes to unseat a Tory.
posted by Len at 6:41 PM on May 6, 2010


jonmc, under the British constitution monarchs are appointed by swords emerging from lakes.

Some moistened bit lobbing a scimitar at you is no excuse to weild supreme executive power....


But, then again in England you have one queen, and we Americans have..so many...
posted by jonmc at 6:41 PM on May 6, 2010


Labour hold Tory target number 53, Derbyshire South. Right old mixed bag.
posted by Abiezer at 6:42 PM on May 6, 2010


Tories just lost Eastbourne to the Lib Dems; also though Chris Huhne was going to burst into tears when they were announcing his results, but he held on. On the other hand, Harrogate just went to the Tories, so swings and roundabouts innit.
posted by Len at 6:46 PM on May 6, 2010


And Dimbleby just said "we must deliver William Hague to Jeremy Paxman", which sounds like he comes flat-packed from Ikea for Paxo's deviant sexual pleasure ...
posted by Len at 6:47 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Len - yes, the classic Lib Dems squeeze.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:49 PM on May 6, 2010


Recount in Edgebaston which was a key seat for the Tory's to gain...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:51 PM on May 6, 2010


Oh, just seen Derbyshire South flashed as Tory gain.
posted by Abiezer at 6:53 PM on May 6, 2010


The Beeb's cameras are currently at Witney for Cameron's count, and looking down on him from above. Bet for the future: Cameron is going to be Hague-bald within five years or thereabouts; cam you imagine how creepy and odious he would look with a bald pate? (Also, people don't like bald party leaders cf: Hague, Howard, Duncan-Smith, Ming Campbell, Neil Kinnock ...)
posted by Len at 6:55 PM on May 6, 2010


Swing now apparently around 4.2, which is hung parliament territory, but that's same source as my apparently dodgy Derbyshire news.
posted by Abiezer at 6:55 PM on May 6, 2010


Good collection of silly arses at the Cameron count :D
posted by Abiezer at 6:57 PM on May 6, 2010


Tories just took Broxtowe, but a majority of only 389 – and apparently this was supposed to be an easy seat for them, rather than a knife-edge result.
posted by Len at 6:57 PM on May 6, 2010


I see the Very Silly Party has come to life in Witney.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:58 PM on May 6, 2010


Nikolai Tolstoi is standing for UKIP in Witney?
posted by calico at 6:58 PM on May 6, 2010


Was that only 234 votes for Monster Raving Looney in Cameron's seat...? A shocker, Such will be spinning in his grave.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:59 PM on May 6, 2010


I see the Very Silly Party has come to life in Witney.
That would be the Standing At The Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party. Keep up!
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:01 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, I'm glad the sillies came out in Cameron's constituency. Seems appropriate.
posted by ob at 7:01 PM on May 6, 2010


Cameron's not claiming an overall majority in his speech. Splendid!
posted by Abiezer at 7:02 PM on May 6, 2010


Keep up!

Who's to say I wasn't referring to the guy in the blue tie?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:03 PM on May 6, 2010


Is it me, or does Cameron look different here? Somehow less Photoshopped... but still younger?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:03 PM on May 6, 2010


Yeah, that speech was rather guarded, not claiming victory in any way. Wonder what the internals show at various HQs.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:04 PM on May 6, 2010


What's with Cameron's continued mention of his "rural" seat in a speech he knows is going to be dissected for its national implications?

And ncie to see that the Wessex Regionalist Party are in the house, so to speak – if not in The House, given that they only got 63 votes.
posted by Len at 7:04 PM on May 6, 2010


Lead change!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:06 PM on May 6, 2010


Who's to say I wasn't referring to the guy in the blue tie?

Touché!
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:06 PM on May 6, 2010


Wonder what the internals show at various HQs.

Yeah, I'd so love to know.
posted by ob at 7:06 PM on May 6, 2010


Cylons Lib Dems holding some vital marginals in SW.
posted by Abiezer at 7:07 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know how you Brits actually vote...
posted by rollbiz at 7:13 PM on May 6, 2010


Jesus, I knew this prof was a wrong'un - he's Cameron's old tutor and has just delivered some 24-carat arslikhan.
posted by Abiezer at 7:15 PM on May 6, 2010


Footage of Brown's plane on the tarmac at Edinburgh airport just now. It looks like it's been shot by a Muirhouse schemie doing surveillance for a bombing campaign to secede from Edinburgh proper.
posted by Len at 7:15 PM on May 6, 2010


Jesus, I knew this prof was a wrong'un - he's Cameron's old tutor and has just delivered some 24-carat arslikhan.

"Remember me David... can I have a knighthood please?!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:16 PM on May 6, 2010


Griffin of the BNP conceding Barking. At least one piece of good news tonight.
posted by Jakey at 7:21 PM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


God, Liam Fox is such an odious wee shite. He looks like a Toby Jug with real hair. And what's with all these Scottish Tories like him and Michael "fat lips" Gove? Have they succumbed to the Scotch Mafia, just like Labour? And how can you have a Scottish Tory Mafia when there are only three Tories left up here?

paxman now saying that "talks have already begun" between Labour and the Lib Dems on a coalition. Things are going to get very interesting indeed between now and the morning.

Oh, and on preview: Jakey, that's excellent news. Source?
posted by Len at 7:23 PM on May 6, 2010


Tories held on to Crewe after the by-election capture. Arse.
posted by Abiezer at 7:29 PM on May 6, 2010


Griffin news reported on the Guardian live blog.

On the topic of Liam Fox, I have a friend who taught him at school. Apparently he's always been an greasy, know-all, supercilious wee toad.
posted by Jakey at 7:32 PM on May 6, 2010


SDLP hold all three seats. My work over the last few months has been worth it then. Now to devise a strategy to fuck the Tories.
posted by knapah at 7:32 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fair play to you, knapah.
posted by Abiezer at 7:33 PM on May 6, 2010


Charlie Moore of the Torygraph claiming the momentum is with the Tories - that'll be the one that took them from an eighteen point lead in the polls to short of the winning line :D
posted by Abiezer at 7:35 PM on May 6, 2010


Haha: point for Andrew Neil, for once: "Charles Moore, what are you doing here taking the BBC's hospitality when you won't even pay the license fee?
posted by Len at 7:37 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bill Wyman's a Tory, whoever would have thought it?

Good news from Barking. Have I missed an update on Edgbaston & Gisela Stuart after the earlier reports of her team high-fiving each other?
posted by calico at 7:39 PM on May 6, 2010


Mind I'm sympathetic to Moore if they're spending it on booze cruises for horrible old fossils like Bill Wyman.
posted by Abiezer at 7:40 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe eveyone's giving the Tories a pass on this 'momentum' pish. Yeah, sure, they've made good gains, but they were miles off the pace to start with. Squeaking into a slim plurality without an overall majority hardly sounds like a resounding endorsement to me.
posted by Jakey at 7:40 PM on May 6, 2010


This is fascinating stuff. If I'm staying up too late to watch it, I hope the UK folks are in bed now.

It seems rotten to me that people were turned away at the polls at 10, even though they'd queued before that.
posted by rollbiz at 7:41 PM on May 6, 2010


And mad big swing in Carlise.
posted by Abiezer at 7:44 PM on May 6, 2010


Labour hold Rochdale despite the Duffy effect.
posted by johnny novak at 7:48 PM on May 6, 2010


Squeaking into a slim plurality without an overall majority hardly sounds like a resounding endorsement to me.

Someone should let Stephen Harper in on that.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:50 PM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Comfortable Lab holds in Newcastle Central & East. Any change that's happening isn't happening around these parts, despite early predictions.
posted by anagrama at 7:50 PM on May 6, 2010


Abiezer: Mind I'm sympathetic to Moore if they're spending it on booze cruises for horrible old fossils like Bill Wyman.

Yeah, it's a tough one. Who do I hate more? The horrid old Tory establishment hack or the guy with a penchant for fucking 13 year old girls? I mean, there are plenty of 13 year old girls going to get fucked in one way or another if the Tories win, whether by terrible sex education or benefit cuts ...

Jakey: I can't believe eveyone's giving the Tories a pass on this 'momentum' pish. Yeah, sure, they've made good gains, but they were miles off the pace to start with. Squeaking into a slim plurality without an overall majority hardly sounds like a resounding endorsement to me.

I think it's the same deal as with the Republicans in the US: they talk bollocks for a few weeks, squeak through with barely a fag paper between them and the Democrats (or not even, in this case) and then claim – a la Bush's re-election in 2004 – some sort of "massive" mandate. And the media swallow it like the professional deep-throaters they mostly are, because they've a stonking hard-on for "toughness" and "strength".
posted by Len at 7:51 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Where the hell's Aldridge-Brownhills? Sounds like a WWII Spitfire pilot. So no surprise it was a Tory hold, wherever it is.
posted by Abiezer at 7:53 PM on May 6, 2010


The Conservatives are ahead of the combined Labour/Liberal Democrat count now, for the first time so far. I might go to bed before this gets too depressing for words.
posted by dng at 7:57 PM on May 6, 2010


Don't worry dng - still short overall if you look at swing, predictions or the kind of target seats they've missed.
posted by Abiezer at 7:58 PM on May 6, 2010


Bugger. Tories hold their existing seat in Scotland. I was hoping that they would get booted out completely. It's still an interesting situation for a party that's spent a reasonable chunk of the last 5 years questioning the mandate of Lab in England. Alex Salmond may have been smart to hold off his Independence referendum until after this election. Funding cuts from a Con Westminster government with 1 of 59 Scottish seats is going to provide fuel for the fire the Nats are trying to set.
posted by Jakey at 7:58 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


dng: KEEP THE FAITH!* There's currently 147 Tories to 168 Labour/Lib Dem/Independents. It's not over yet ...


*but make sure you've got a whisky to hand just in case.
posted by Len at 8:00 PM on May 6, 2010


Fuck me, the BBC are actually projecting the seat results on to the side of Big Ben.
posted by Len at 8:08 PM on May 6, 2010


"Don't you just love pictures of cars?" BBC <3
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:09 PM on May 6, 2010


Michael Crick is now saying that Ed Balls – in a kind of reverse Portillo – may lose his seat, which if it happens is a massive deal, given that he's been touted as a successor to Brown by some. Aaaaaand we're back to the boat, with Ian Hislop and that odious shitbag Nick Cohen.
posted by Len at 8:13 PM on May 6, 2010


Metafilter's own baggymp just held onto his seat in West Bromwich East.
posted by genghis at 8:15 PM on May 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Arse, Dave Drew lost in Stroud. Expected but he was one of the better Labour MPs.
posted by Abiezer at 8:18 PM on May 6, 2010


Only a 2% swing - see his personal popularity held up. Back next time.
posted by Abiezer at 8:20 PM on May 6, 2010


MeFi's fave Dr Evan Harris gone to the Tories too.
posted by Abiezer at 8:25 PM on May 6, 2010


And Evan Harris – Dr Death to our friends at the Mail – is gone ...
posted by Len at 8:25 PM on May 6, 2010


Interesting – Labour just held Luton South, despite their retiring MP being one of the worst offenders in the expenses scandal. And Rantzen got not much more than 1800 votes.
posted by Len at 8:28 PM on May 6, 2010


Poor showing from the Worker's Revolutionary Party in Luton South. I blame carpetbagger Rantzen.
posted by Abiezer at 8:29 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jacqui Smith just lost her seat – and by a 6000 majority to boot. Your husband ordering porn on expenses will do that, I suppose.
posted by Len at 8:37 PM on May 6, 2010


Jacqui Smith slaughtered, quite rightly. Shame the Tories benefited. Should have take a leaf out of the Luton book and stood down for a better candidate.
posted by Abiezer at 8:37 PM on May 6, 2010


Heh - it's the Len and Abiezer show. If only we could do it pissed from a boat.
posted by Abiezer at 8:38 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, it seems Balls has held his seat! And vice versa.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:41 PM on May 6, 2010


If only we could do it pissed from a boat.

Well, I currently satisfy the first condition. The second could be obtained if I nick a boat from somewhere, run 300 yards down the hill, and jump in the Kelvin. Live MeFi Election Coverage: Are You Thinking What We're Thinking?

Tories just won Pudsey. Didn't know the BBC's charity bear had a constituency all to himself; thought they had done away with all the rotten boroughs.
posted by Len at 8:45 PM on May 6, 2010


A decent car shot at last. Been worried about all this politics interfering with our view of nondescript automobiles by night.
posted by Abiezer at 8:46 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Balls undecapitated.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:52 PM on May 6, 2010


A decent car shot at last. Been worried about all this politics interfering with our view of nondescript automobiles by night.

The ones I feel sorry for are all the artics being cruelly ignored by the helicopter cameras. There they are, out in the middle of the night driving away, and do the BBC pay them any attention? No, they're too busy focussing on elite ministerial cars who don't even care if this nation's trucks are properly represented.

Balls just won his seat, looking like a beefy gangster let off the hook by his boss. Depressing that the BNP got more than 3000 votes in his constituency though.
posted by Len at 8:52 PM on May 6, 2010


Balls seems bouncy.
posted by ob at 8:54 PM on May 6, 2010


I would pay good money to watch that show, guys.
posted by smoke at 8:55 PM on May 6, 2010


Brillilant! Charles Clarke – a cube of meat rolled in hair, and one of the most devious of New Labour wanks – is gone!
posted by Len at 8:55 PM on May 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm off for a wee lie down - bit like the economy. I promise not to double dip though.
posted by Abiezer at 8:58 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


a cube of meat rolled in hair

Of all the excellent British-isms in this most British of threads, that has to be the best. *doffs imaginary hat*
posted by jokeefe at 8:59 PM on May 6, 2010


Can't leave without adding this obvious joke from elsewhere - close shave for Balls.
posted by Abiezer at 9:07 PM on May 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, it's been fun following the results over here, too: Beyond the Implode. Camera's switched back to Big Ben. Very smart, Dimbleby's enthused. I just wish there were crowds, cheering. David, the crowds are trudging back from the polling stations. They're not in the mood to celebrate your pissy little light show.
posted by jokeefe at 9:07 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm finding Jeremy Vine's weird anthropomorhism regarding the swingometer increasingly weird. "Let's ask the swingometer" he says, like it's sentient or something. And christ, Hazel Blears is on now. God how I wish she'd lost her seat.
posted by Len at 9:24 PM on May 6, 2010


Tories just lost Hammersmith and Fulham, which – given the symbolic import they gave to the seat, and the candidate, a black working class Tory – is a big blow.
posted by Len at 9:28 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that swingothingy is sort of nausea-inducing and sort of smells like some middle-management guy trying to justify the purchase of unnecessarily-shiny advanced technology. The information would be much better conveyed with a nice, old-fashioned 2-D chart.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:36 PM on May 6, 2010


Bloody hell, Hodge just held Barking with a majority of 6000 – despite Nick Griffin getting 6000+ votes. Looks like he's fucked though, so it's all good.
posted by Len at 10:01 PM on May 6, 2010


Caroline Lucas of the Greens win in Brighton Pavilion! First Green MP.

Sadly, Salma Yaqoob of Respect did not win in Birmingham Hall Green, although she had an 11.7% swing from Labour.
posted by Gnatcho at 10:14 PM on May 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Clegg just won his constituency. Sadly he defeated David Basil Wildgoose, who even though he was standing for a bunch of nauseating racists, at least had the good grace to have an excellent name.
posted by Len at 10:38 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Guardian's live-blogger Andrew Sparrow reports, "Labour have started semi-public negotiations with the Lib Dems about a coalition. Ministers such as Lord Mandelson and Alan Johnson have indicated that they would like to do a deal over PR."
posted by armage at 10:53 PM on May 6, 2010


Shock horror probe! Clegg wearing red tie, not yellow!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:02 PM on May 6, 2010


Right, fuck it. Nothing is going to be decided until lunchtime, or the weekend, depending on who you trust, so I'm hitting the sack, and hoping that I don't wake up under a Tory government.
posted by Len at 11:06 PM on May 6, 2010


I'd just like to say shame on all those cruel people who pretended to be in the grip of 'Cleggmania', not a single one of whom actually voted for the Liberals. I hope you think you're funny, that's all.
posted by Phanx at 11:16 PM on May 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Lib Dems just took Solihull.
posted by the latin mouse at 11:27 PM on May 6, 2010


I'm really quite sad about Evan Harris losing his seat. But maybe now he'll be a TV SCIENCE BOFFIN OF +1 AWESOME.

Thankfully, Vernon Coaker, my Labour MP, stayed put. We were a Tory target seat, and it was a fairly stalwart existing MP versus some Tory git who tried for Sherwood in 2005 (and failed) and a Lib Dem candidate who couldn't even be bothered to move back from Brussels.

Now I have a deep deep urge to go draw cocks on the Cameron billboards down the street. It's just the way his right hand is posed, with that thumb sticking out - it needs something...
posted by Katemonkey at 11:28 PM on May 6, 2010


Awwww...someone stole my idea.
posted by Katemonkey at 11:33 PM on May 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, I went to sleep at two last night, glumly expecting that I would wake up to a clear Tory majority. Never been so pleased to be wrong. What happens next is whatever the Murdoch press demand happen going to be interesting.
posted by reynir at 11:42 PM on May 6, 2010


Called it a night around 2ish as the coffee/booze/coffee combo wasn't keeping me awake and a Portillo moment seemed unlikely. I think it was just after Blunkett prematurely spunked his load that the depression was too much. It seems a bit brighter now after a wee sleep. I thought he had some insight and had visions of Cameron and the horsemen of the Apocalypse heading for Downing Street by 4am. As it was, Blunkett was far too early in his call.

Watching the BBC is brilliant. Dimbelby, Paxman and co just look like they wish the whole fucking thing would be resolved so that they can go for a lie down. Mandelson now expertly pushing the public discourse towards 'letting the dust settle and seeing how the land lies at the weekend'.

Also, what was going on with Joanne Cash? Lack of sleep? That was UNBELIEVABLY bitter. And somewhat delicious to watch.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 12:01 AM on May 7, 2010


Me too reynir, I had stress dreams through the night worrying about this, and I'm pleased to wake up without any Tory overlords yet.
posted by ukdanae at 12:03 AM on May 7, 2010


Guardian lulz headline this morning:

Ed Balls foils Conservative mission to 'castrate' Labour
posted by ukdanae at 12:06 AM on May 7, 2010


Hee! still no clear winner. I flaked out at 4 when it was looking almost exactly like it's looking now. I'm sorry we underestimated you, people of Barking.

I'm glad Tom Watson is still there, sorry that Evan Harris has gone and relieved that my vote didn't come anywhere near letting the Tories in in my constituency. I see Charles Clarke has lost his seat - ha ha. What did happen with Joanne Cash?
posted by calico at 12:19 AM on May 7, 2010


I love technology. Thanks to the PSP connecting to the PS3 I can watch the BBC from the bathroom. Every seat is a nail-biter; I can't miss a minute!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:30 AM on May 7, 2010


Wow. I've never seen the BBC News site go down before, but it just gave me an Error 500 twice in a row. I think there are a lot of people waking up and wondering who their government is.
posted by him at 12:33 AM on May 7, 2010


Someone on the telly just pointed out that Cameron's rhetoric about Brown being chucked out and "the people" choosing the Tories looks a bit fucking hollow when just about nobody outside of England actually voted Conservative.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:36 AM on May 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I made it until my own constituency, Southampton Itchen, declared after five - John Denham re-elected for Labour, just. Still no result for Southampton Test.

It felt like this was the election where Labour discovered mail merge - many, many personalised mailings. No canvassers apart from the city council Green candidate though.
posted by paduasoy at 12:37 AM on May 7, 2010


Well a few weeks back I'd had been well happy with the current result...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:37 AM on May 7, 2010


Still can't quite Cleggmania seems to totally evarporated
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:38 AM on May 7, 2010


(4hrs sleep clearly not helping my dyslexia...)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:42 AM on May 7, 2010


5 hours sleep later and yay Brighton. I'm so happy. Looking forward to welcoming refugees from bluer areas...
posted by i_cola at 12:44 AM on May 7, 2010


I'm enjoying this "Conservative politicians seek to defy the constitution" meme.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:47 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It ought to be scandalous -- and hopefully this time it will be -- that the Lib Dem percentage of the vote results in such a small number of seats.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:51 AM on May 7, 2010 [4 favorites]



(4hrs sleep clearly not helping my dyslexia...)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:42 AM on May 7 [+] [!]


I wouldn't worry about it. I'd expect a lot of people to be the same this morning.

You can see with every talking head from Gove to May that the avaracious Tories put up that they wish there could be a Florida moment. I fully expect Sauron's media a.k.a the Murdoch Press to get into full armoured gear in the coming hours to claim a legitimate Tory victory even though the facts do not support this.

It's not even 12 hours since the polls closed and the Tories are already alluding to tearing up existing constitutional arrangements claiming 'it is Cameron's right to lead' even though in the event of a hung parliament the Prime Minister should have the first right to form a government. Anything but ANYTHING to stop this shower of utter, utter bastards getting in.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 12:56 AM on May 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


It ought to be scandalous -- and hopefully this time it will be -- that the Lib Dem percentage of the vote results in such a small number of seats.

Indeed BBC showing LibDems with 23% of the vote, so that should equate to about 150 seats.

Quite happy to see Glenda Jackson hold her seat though. Not for any affection for Labour, more for her performance on Morecambe and Wise. 42 votes is mighty slim though.
posted by hardcode at 1:15 AM on May 7, 2010


The next few days are going to be very interesting. For now, I've decided to focus on the positive. Nick Griffin humiliated, the Greens get an MP and, most importantly, no Tory majority. Even if they do form the next government, they will likely have to make policy concessions, either to woo the LDs into an uncomfortable coalition or to muster support for each vote as it comes.
posted by him at 1:18 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It felt like this was the election where Labour discovered mail merge - many, many personalised mailings. No canvassers apart from the city council Green candidate though.

Not just in print either - be grateful you weren't a labour party member. I've spent the last few months being bombarded with explanatory emails ostensibly from Brown, Mandelson, Alexander every time the Tories have said something nasty about Labour or the Prime Minister has managed to offend another mining town.
posted by garius at 1:25 AM on May 7, 2010


Woo! Green MP for Brighton! :D
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:33 AM on May 7, 2010


Labour and the Lib Dems combined will only make up ~ the same number of MPs as the Tories, so for those decrying Cameron's rhetoric, Brown has even less of a mandate to govern than Cameron - he is 50 odd seats behind and 2nd in the vote totals, after all! To form an outright majority, you're looking at a Lib/Lab/SNP/PC/Green alliance - basically everyone BUT the tories and the unionists.

While that'll be great for public sector workers in scotland and wales, that's a hell of a kick in the teeth for England voters who pretty comprehensively voted against Labour and will have to bear the brunt of the cuts.

That's only going to exacerbate tensions between the english and scottish - the english already feel pretty hacked off over the barnett formula, and if the labour party only end up in power because of scottish MPs voting on matters that don't affect them because those powers have been devolved I'd expect some definite grumbling.

I'm not saying the tories have a clear mandate either, but it's indicative of a pretty damn rotten system for Gordon Brown to hang on as PM with only 28% odd of the vote, and even less than that in England.

Hopefully the Lib Dems will be able to squeeze some sort of deal on real electoral reform out of Labour, but given their only alternative is an alliance with the tories - and I can't see that happening - I suspect we're basically looking at a government carrying on as before with substantially fewer seats and fewer votes than the tories, but doing deals on a vote-by-vote basis to buy off the scots and welsh. Speaking as a rural english middle englander who voted for the losing Lib Dem candidate... How marvellous that is looking. Not.

I'm so glad that those of you who absolutely loathe the tory toffs are happy to take anything you can get to keep them out; but from those of us who think this government has been pretty bloody shitty too, especially to rural areas, this is looking like a right undemocratic stitch up in the making.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:38 AM on May 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Officially a hung parliament as now mathematically impossible for Tories to have an outright majority.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 1:42 AM on May 7, 2010


Still can't quite Cleggmania seems to totally evarporated

A lot of people said they liked Clegg and that he debated better than the others, not that they would actually vote for him.
posted by bap98189 at 1:49 AM on May 7, 2010


And ArkhanJG, how do you think the Scots and the Welsh (not to mention the Brummies and the Mancs and the Geordies and the Mackems and the Scousers, etc) would feel about being governed by a party that has no mandate in those areas? All that is clear is that no one has a mandate. Hopefully, that means that the parties will have to work together, compromise, and maybe bring in electoral reform. But as they are all such a bunch of kids, I suspect we'll just be repeating this whole sorry exercise in a few months time.
posted by MrMustard at 1:51 AM on May 7, 2010


Northern Ireland comprehensively rejected the UUP/Conservative linkup (UCUNF), hopefully the NI parties will now unite against the Tory nightmare.
posted by knapah at 1:53 AM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Amused by the Lib Dems argument that this election result (much the same as last time for them) shows the need for proportional representation.

Voters avoided them like the plague despite enormous hype. Somehow that means we now have to implement their policies.

They want government by coalition. They've got government by coalition. Somehow that means we must now rewrite the electoral system to produce government by coalition.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:53 AM on May 7, 2010


Amused by the Lib Dems argument that this election result (much the same as last time for them) shows the need for proportional representation.

LibDems got (so far) 22.9% of the votes but less than 8% of the seats in Parliament. How is that not a sign that PR is needed?!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:56 AM on May 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


Good piece at the Times on some of the more notable winners and losers.

Theophile, I don't know how anyone could argue against electoral reform in the UK. Proportional or preferential voting would have delivered a radically different result from what we have seen - and in my opinion a better one, better meaning more democratic. I mean, there was a 6% difference in Labour and LD vote, and yet there's a 80% difference in the number of seats; that's appalling for democracy.
posted by smoke at 1:59 AM on May 7, 2010


Also, by god there were some close ones. I don't know what the invigilator situation in the UK is, but in Australia, with numbers like that, you'd want every bloody party volunteer you could lay your hands on down in the counting rooms trying to ferret out a few more informals.
posted by smoke at 2:01 AM on May 7, 2010


Voters avoided them like the plague

As of right now on news.bbc.co.uk: Cons vote share: 36.1%, Labour vote share: 29.2%, Lib Dem vote share: 22.9%. I don't think over a fifth of the votes is particularly 'like the plague'.

To answer a question from way up the thread, yes, it's fair to say I'm not old enough nor was I interested in politics enough at the time (due to not even being 18 at that point) to really be greatly affected by Heath and Thatcher. Even if I realise that, though, I still don't see the wisdom in voting on events that took place 30 years ago over my direct experience of the last 13 years. I'd say that for any combination of parties or events - as I'm not a Cons voter.
posted by stelas at 2:08 AM on May 7, 2010


Except voters haven't avoided LibDem like the plague.

Currently Lib: 6.4m votes = 51 seats. Lab: 8.1m votes = 245 seats. Con: 10.1m votes = 289 seats.
posted by Lleyam at 2:08 AM on May 7, 2010


I think it's clear that there are more than a few voters who would have liked to vote LibDem, but didn't think they could win (either overall or locally), so held their nose and voted for the non-Tory with the best chance. See this YouGov review of an April survey that suggestd 49% would vote for the Lib Dems if they thought they could win, despite the fact they never got higher than the mid-30s on the actual voting intentions.
This may also be the case with the SNP in Scotland, although that is also complicated by the fact that the SNP are in power in Holyrood, so may be also experiencing an anti-incumbent midterm vote and/or a feeling that their relevance in Westminster is diminished with the advent of the Scottish Parliament.
posted by Jakey at 2:12 AM on May 7, 2010


I wouldn't be surprised if the Lib Dems' percentage of the vote increased after election reform; after all, as a person who would favour, in order, the Lib Dems, then Labour, then the Tories, living in a constituency with a weak Lib candidate, you would be daft not to cast your vote for Labour.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:13 AM on May 7, 2010


Argh preview.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:13 AM on May 7, 2010


How is that not a sign that PR is needed?

Because PR is the Lib Dems centrepiece policy. The Lib Dems had the most charismatic candidate, a massive wave of media hype, dodgy opinion polls showing them in second place and the voters still would not endorse them.

If you liked it then you should have put an X on it ...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:16 AM on May 7, 2010


MrMustard - the tories got as many votes as Tony Blair did in his landslide victory, while the Lib Dems have been completely stitched up as usual - despite increasing their vote share, they get a substantial lower amount of MPs.

All in all, we should get substantial and democratic reform of both the house and the electoral system - perhaps even greater devolution in scotland and wales (and a corresponding addressing of the West Lothian question) in additional to some substantial change in voting process.

Like you though, I don't think the parties will deliver that and we'll be doing this all again in 6 or 12 months.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:16 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every time a Tory comes on the screen to talk about how "the voters" have given their party a clear mandate I can hear the Scottish yelling from here.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:17 AM on May 7, 2010


The Lib Dems had the most charismatic candidate, a massive wave of media hype, dodgy opinion polls showing them in second place and the voters still would not endorse them.

As others have pointed out, repeatedly, the LibDems have achieved a very respectable vote volume but are disadvantaged by our FPTP model. Are you being purposefully obtuse?
posted by Lleyam at 2:27 AM on May 7, 2010


I can't wait until the artificial Tory advantage that results from splitting the left's vote between two parties has been erased by electoral reform.

*holds breath*
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:28 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, made an error there - Labour got 13 million in 1997, 10.7 in 2001 and 9.5 in 2005, with substantial majorities in all three. Tories got 9.6 million in 97, 8.3 in 2001 and 8.7 in 2005.

Labour gets 8.1 million, tories get 10.1 million in 2010 - a more substantial tory victory than labour in 2005 - yet the tories are some 20 odd seats short of an outright majority, while labour had what, a 60 odd seat outright majority in 2005?

We have to make votes cast marry better to representatives. I wish I could believe we're going to get it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:31 AM on May 7, 2010


Come now, Theophile, that's a bit cute for a couple of reasons:

1) compelling as electoral reform may be, no voter is going to base their entire voting decision around it. People are also concerned with the policies that touch them every day, not just once every five years.

2) You can't blame the LibDems for the results of a system they wish to reform. FPTP systems actively incite voters to vote for the likeliest winner over a candidate they may prefer, but don't believe would win. As kittens alludes, you would be mad to vote LibDem in a seat where Labour was the only real competition to the Tories (assuming you want the tories gone, of course).

To cite the predictable result of your deeply flawed electoral system as a triumph for its continued existence is bold, sir, very bold.
posted by smoke at 2:34 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Absolutely. It's ludicrous and depressing that my vote is basically worthless because of where I live; I add a tiny amount onto the overall percentage of Party A, yet because my locale is a super-safe seat for Party B I may as well have voted for a balloon with a face drawn on it.*

*David Cameron
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:35 AM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Let's see what Clegg says - *crosses fingers but expects nought but fluff*
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:41 AM on May 7, 2010


Clegg's got an orange tie on. I choose to read too much into that.
posted by vbfg at 2:41 AM on May 7, 2010


Did Clegg just offer to form an alliance with the tories in exchange for PR on live TV??
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:44 AM on May 7, 2010


Yep, will the tories go along with it though? If so, what concessions would the libs demand? argh I have no nails left to bite
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:45 AM on May 7, 2010


Oh no! Proportional representation would require us to "have a conversation" every four years! Run!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:48 AM on May 7, 2010


Bugger me, I didn't expect that. How the hell does Clegg plan to get that past most of his senior membership - most of whom hate the Tories even more than Labour does. Interesting times, indeed. If David Cameron accepts say, a referendum on PR, and maybe a lib dem in cabinet; surely chancellor wouldn't be up for grabs, maybe foreign minister or home secretary (get rid of Chris Grayling to boot, heh) - if that happens, I think my head will literally explode.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:50 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the key phrase will be "if the Conservatives prove they can serve the national interest", with the Libs the arbiters, in this case, of what the national interest actually is; in other words, he's free to say no for basically any reason without looking like he's going back on his word.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:54 AM on May 7, 2010


Do the Lib Dems have a preferred method of PR? Looking at the results, the outcome would differ depending on which method they use.
posted by scodger at 2:59 AM on May 7, 2010


well, I don't really like anything that brings the Tories closer to power, but I do think that offering them the advantage rather than Labour better reflects the result of the vote. I also think I'm glad that some direction has been given in public.

Like ArkhanJG says though, I can't conceive of a workable coalition - their policies are miles apart. I only hope that the LibDems aren't really as opportunistic as some have called them...
posted by calico at 3:05 AM on May 7, 2010


Do the Lib Dems have a preferred method of PR? Looking at the results, the outcome would differ depending on which method they use.

Single Transferable Vote I think.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:07 AM on May 7, 2010


Astute analysis ArmyOfKittens. I'm thinking Lord Ashcroft funding of marginals will be on the bonfire too.

IIRC, the liberals want STV, with AV+ as an acceptable alternative on the road to STV.

Ohh, and Sarah Teather hung onto Brent Central with a healthy 1300 majority.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:11 AM on May 7, 2010


Thanks.

I'm not a big STV fan, too many problems with stasis (you need a massive swing to change the numbers of representatives), and the fact it favours the most inoffensive/bland parties. I guess it is better than the current system. We are going to have a referendum on keeping our MMP next year and able to choose from a bunch of options. Hopefully you guys get a choice from a few systems.
posted by scodger at 3:22 AM on May 7, 2010


Afternoon campers. Just heard Andrew Neill saying that my predictions of the Tory right falling on Cameron might also be coming true - anger at how the campaign was conducted and no compromise on electoral reform. Interesting, because I also think Clegg is looking to be showing his basically right-monetarist instincts in the early horse trading, but the Tories won't deliver the key election reform demand.
posted by Abiezer at 3:50 AM on May 7, 2010


Right now, a Lab-Lib coalition, although horribly unwieldy, doesn't look entirely impossible, though: together they add up to 303 seats, to which it's reasonable to add the current four seats of their Northern Irish sister parties (SDLP and Alliance, respectively). That puts them at 307, with 29 seats still undecided. It's going to be an interesting few days, folks.
posted by Skeptic at 4:05 AM on May 7, 2010


Martin Kettle at the Guardian argues that this isn't the time for the vaunted Lib-Lab coalition as there isn't enough 'momentum' behind the parties. But if not now, when? Isn't this precisely how coalitions come about? (I understand that there'd be a better chance if Labour were in the position the Tories are in now, but still; the whole point is that we don't have a majority that represents one set of views at the moment)

Meanwhile Peter Riddell of the Times argues that the only certainty is another election. Perhaps more booths in the polling stations of Sheffield this time though? (Sleepy Charlton - as in Charlton Athletic - where I live had around seven booths for the 3 people straggling in when I went)
posted by calico at 4:09 AM on May 7, 2010


UKians, some insight, if I may request it.

Clegg would be in a difficult position, right? I have the impression from out here in the colonies that the party membership and senior base is likely to the left of Labour, and definitely to the left of Cleggles himself - is that correct?

Clegg may be in trouble; our own Democrat party in Australia split its membership asunder in a slightly different situation but also slightly similar; from making deals with the devil (i.e right wing party) based partly on what they saw was a mandate from broader Australia (which didn't vote for them, mind), and in exchange for some concession. They have never recovered and are without a single senator now.

Either way, I predict another election within the next 18 months.
posted by smoke at 4:09 AM on May 7, 2010


I think you're right smoke - all the parties are lash-ups of different wings to some extent, of course, but the tendencies are that bit more marked in the Lib Dems. That's partly because of the larger two party mould that they seek to break. One core set of SW Lib Dem MPs represent the anti-Tory vote there and would be put in an awkward situation in a coalition with the Conservatives, then elsewhere they're the anti-Labour vote in places like Sheffield where the Tories are anathema to most. Then you have that marked difference between the 'Orange Book' wing who are right-wing free marketeers (Clegg and Cable in this cabal) and the various wooly soft leftists. Given the lack of cynical 'discipline' earned by the experience of selling out principles for power that the two larger parties have, there could be a bit of crumbling for the Lib Dems.
posted by Abiezer at 4:18 AM on May 7, 2010


I don't think we are likely to see a formal Lib-Con coalition, as most of the party are to the left of Clegg and he would have trouble signing them up to a large part of the Tory agenda. More likely is that the Tories offer a Royal Commission on voting reform, pare down the Queen's Speech to strictly addressing the current economic situation, and the LibDems then abstain on the Queen's Speech vote. This would effectively hand the keys of the car to Cameron, but perhaps keep the Lib Dems clear of the wreckage when the inevitable happens.
Then we get to do it all again next year.
posted by Jakey at 4:29 AM on May 7, 2010


Maybe I'm misreading the situation, but it seems the Tories are opposed to PR, even although it would benefit them in that they've won a larger proportion of the popular vote than seats in the Commons. Does anyone know why this is, or am I mistaken?
posted by Dim Siawns at 4:44 AM on May 7, 2010


Maybe I'm misreading the situation, but it seems the Tories are opposed to PR, even although it would benefit them in that they've won a larger proportion of the popular vote than seats in the Commons. Does anyone know why this is, or am I mistaken?

Because (and I'll admit I'm vastly oversimplifying this), generally people who vote Liberal are more like people who vote Labour than they are like people who vote Tory.

So, basically, the Tories may not currently be a minority, but right-wingers probably are.
posted by garius at 4:50 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm misreading the situation, but it seems the Tories are opposed to PR, even although it would benefit them in that they've won a larger proportion of the popular vote than seats in the Commons. Does anyone know why this is, or am I mistaken?
I think basically it's that they're aware that there's a permanent anti-Tory majority in the country and none of the other parties are close enough to the position of the Tory grassroots for partnerships that wouldn't involve conceding things the core 'nasty' Tory vote hold dear. They do still think they can win a clear majority under the existing system, even if not this time.
posted by Abiezer at 4:53 AM on May 7, 2010


Actually, I just looked at my numbers again and it turns out the Tories stand to lose seats under PR. So, oops, sorry.
posted by Dim Siawns at 4:57 AM on May 7, 2010


It's partly philosophical, and partly practical - although disadvantaged in the last few elections, they can't afford the Libs gettings seats equal to their vote share in the long run, as they fear being permanently a minority party - getting 1/3 to 2/5 of the vote, with labour and lib-dems splitting the rest. Given the liberals are much closer to labour, then the tories fear they would be giving up all hope of ever forming an outright government again, i.e. with 50%+ of the seats with less than 50% of the vote.

They vocally also argue for the right to have your local MP directly accountable to the electorate, so that they can be kicked out, which you don't always get with party lists and/or regional multiple victors in some types of PR.

So for the tories to cough up PR is about as credible as Clegg forming some sort of ad-hoc alliance with the tories when they're basically chalk and cheese socially and economically. Yet it may well be what happens? Right now, I have no goddamn idea what the next government is going to look like, or even if we're going to have one that lasts more than a few months.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:01 AM on May 7, 2010


So for the tories to cough up PR is about as credible as Clegg forming some sort of ad-hoc alliance with the tories when they're basically chalk and cheese socially and economically.
Clegg's practically come out as the modernising soft Tory he is at heart in the early negotiations and he and much of the front bench would be more at home with Cameron than Labour. You're right about much or most of the Lib Dem grassroots being socially and economically apart from the Tories, but not Clegg - his differences are over things like Europe, otherwise he lives up to his professed admiration of Thatcher.
posted by Abiezer at 5:19 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally I suspect a larger part of the reason is that many of the existing parties become smaller anyway. All the parties are big churches, and though the Tories are amongst the most ideologically pure they do still come in different stripes. Pro-Europeans and anti, for example. The Liberals split along lines of socially liberal and economically so. Labour have every hue of socialist, leftist and reformer going. I think you're likely to see the parties split along those lines to some extent, with the parent party continuing in smaller forms to varying degrees.
posted by vbfg at 5:21 AM on May 7, 2010


Seems as though the exit polls were bang on the money.
posted by seanyboy at 5:39 AM on May 7, 2010


Is Brown saying anything interesting? There's a live stream on the BBC site but I can't turn the sound on at the moment.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:44 AM on May 7, 2010


Basically he's saying: Clegg, take all the time you want with Cameron, but come join us and we'll have a referendum on electoral practice.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:46 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


And also stuff like: Labour are already deeply entrenched in economic processes and such, so please don't switch horses mid-apocalypse.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:47 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, nevermind, the Guardian election blog is summarising it.

on preview: but thanks AOK.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:48 AM on May 7, 2010


and we'll have a referendum on electoral practice.

I think he went further than that. Saying immediate legislation.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:48 AM on May 7, 2010


Making a strong pitch to Clegg - points out Labour manifesto commitment to voting reform and promising early referendum, though will wait for Clegg and Cameron to fail to agree first. Lib-Lab might well be what happens.
posted by Abiezer at 5:49 AM on May 7, 2010


Bercow survives as speaker... UKIP ex-leader went down like a crashing plane
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:58 AM on May 7, 2010


And also stuff like: Labour are already deeply entrenched in economic processes and such, so please don't switch horses mid-apocalypse.

You mean from War to, say, Pestilence?
posted by Grangousier at 6:11 AM on May 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


Abiezer - oh, I agree Clegg would be *far* happier with Cameron than Brown as a partner - he absolutely loathes Brown by all accounts - but I'll be utterly amazed if he manages to swing his party behind him at the special conference he has to call for any kind of formal alliance or coalition.

Best he can realistically hope for from Cameron has to be some sort of promise of a PR referendum, perhaps for the Lords but not the Commons, with a vote-by-vote minority Tory administration that won't be toppled by the Lib Dems explicitly at the Queens Speech. Hell, tory+Unionists could outvote lib+lab+SDLP so it's going to be messy, no two ways about it.

Yet I thought the exit polls had to be wrong, and they've proved to be almost perfectly on the money so far so who knows what Cameron is going to cough up at his speech in a bit.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:12 AM on May 7, 2010


I'm hoping for a choke up rather than a cough up, but sadly Dave's too stiff upper lip to sob on camera.
Think you're right that Clegg wouldn't be forgiven by his party or the voters if he tried too hard to get behind the Tories. Alan Johnson in as holding Labour leader and a deal with the Lib Dems? I have no clue tbh
posted by Abiezer at 6:16 AM on May 7, 2010


Couple of vital late Lib Dem holds - Cheltenham and just now Westmoreland - keeping the Tories that little bit more off the pace.
posted by Abiezer at 6:22 AM on May 7, 2010


Cameron is actually saying they campaigned on hope and change? Does he know how silly he sounds?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:36 AM on May 7, 2010


Alan Johnson in as holding Labour leader and a deal with the Lib Dems?

I suspect he's the man for the job if they were to go down that route. He's always been vocal on the issue of PR and is popular with both the Labour Party and chunks of the Liberal Party.

Must admit, I've always liked him since I found out he was an ardent footie fan (if QPR can be said to play football) with a self-admitted passionate hatred of Chelsea.
posted by garius at 6:37 AM on May 7, 2010


Cameron on now – making doe-eyed overtures to Clegg and the Lib Dems. Or, as Jamie would put it: "oh, come on, Oxbridge, get the pleasantries over with, so we can just oil up and get fucking".
posted by Len at 6:40 AM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cameron has set out his criteria for a coalition: he won't negotiate on the EU, immigration and Trident.
posted by ukdanae at 6:41 AM on May 7, 2010


This is sounding unpleasant.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:42 AM on May 7, 2010


"All party committee of enquiry on electoral reform"? Clusterfuck is the word that springs to mind.

Will Clegg take that? Let's see.
posted by hardcode at 6:42 AM on May 7, 2010


Ooh, no explicit offer of PR, but an all party committee to discuss it - but an offer of a formal coalition by mostly limiting the tory manifesto to matching what's shared with the liberals. So a £10,000 raise in the income tax threshold, no NI rise, possibly even scaling back trident (but not getting rid of it). But at the cost of no PR guarantee, no debate on further EU/euro integration, and early public spending cuts. Intereeeeresting.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:44 AM on May 7, 2010


I think Clegg would be stupid to take it, since it seems like it could waste the best chance for electoral reform the Libs have ever had. But undoubtedly there's more info behind the scenes.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:44 AM on May 7, 2010


Is there a minute-by-minute summary of Cameron's (and later Clegg's) speech anywhere online? Guardian blog has one but the site isn't loading 90% of the time for me.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:47 AM on May 7, 2010


Cameron has set out his criteria for a coalition: he won't negotiate on the EU, immigration and Trident.

Then he's a bit screwed with the Lib Dems; they're utterly poles apart on all three, and I suspect they'll try to leverage this to their advantage. The EU is the big one here too – it's the one thing with the ability to comprehensively rip the Tories to pieces (Lord, here's hoping), and everyone knows it. Immigration – tied to the EU and not entirely separate – could do likewise.

Also, Cameron mentioned the "outgoing Labour government", which is a pretty big fuck you to Parliamentary convention, and he also explicity talked about the first past the post system, as if he was approving of it. Committee of enquiry on the subject of electoral reform? Fuck that, I think would be the Lib Dem review, we want legislation.
posted by Len at 6:47 AM on May 7, 2010


All Cameron's horseshit comparisons with the past told us was that Thatcher wasn't that popular (pre-Falklands) despite the demonisation of the 70s or Foot that unpopular. What a fraud.
Not sure he's offered enough for Clegg to sell to his party.
posted by Abiezer at 6:49 AM on May 7, 2010


On the face of it, seems OK for the Lib Dems, but in reality it means electoral reform kicked into the long grass. Clegg and the Lib Dems would be mad to take it, as this is their best chance to turn their long term support into future seats. I don't think there's any chance of this particular deal passing the internal Lib Dem requirements for a formal coalition:

(i) in the event of any substantial proposal which could affect the Party’s independence of political action, the consent will be required of a majority of members of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons and the Federal Executive; and,

(ii) unless there is a three-quarters majority of each group in favour of the proposals, the consent of the majority of those present and voting at a Special Conference convened under clause 6.6 of the Constitution; and,

(iii) unless there is a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at that Conference in favour of the proposals, the consent of a majority of all members of the Party voting in the ballot called pursuant to clause 6.11 or 8.6 of the Constitution.

posted by Jakey at 6:50 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


ends: copy/paste direct from the liveblog.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:50 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Menzies Campbell is saying on the BBC that the Lib Dem MPs will be meeting tomorrow to discuss their offers. God, another day of this!
posted by ukdanae at 6:53 AM on May 7, 2010


All true - but cameron is pretty much ouright offering Clegg a seat in cabinet, and quite possible other Libs as well - as well as probably the lib dem amnesty on illegals, and the 10k income tax rise. Inheritance tax, sacrificed, married couples tax allowance sacrificed, but at the cost of no negotiation on EU?

Or with gordon, they get a referendum on the possibility of av+. no cabinet posts, no formal alliance, and no ground given on other lib dem proposals. Ouch. What a choice. And I can't even imagine what the special conference would be like with Clegg and Cable advocating a formal alliance with the tories.

It's almost like what they tried with Sinn Fein; buy off the leadership with the offer of personal power, and hope the ones behind them splinter over it.

Shaping up to be an interesting weekend.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:53 AM on May 7, 2010


ArkhanJG – probably the lib dem amnesty on illegals

You really think that the Tories would pay that price? It would cause all kinds of shit-flinging uproar amongst their core vote.
posted by Len at 6:57 AM on May 7, 2010


That's the key I think - the Westminster politicos can contemplate all sorts of compromises that they'll be hard-pressed to sell to their parties. Tricky balance to strike. I think Cameron is probably that little bit further ahead of his grassroots than Clegg, but not by much. Labour members have of course been used to operating in contradiction to the professed values in exchange for lovely power for years now (purging those that wouldn't some time back), so maybe an easier sell.
posted by Abiezer at 7:01 AM on May 7, 2010


Cameron specifically referred to wanting to 'control immigration', which I would take as hint that the amnesty is not going to happen.
posted by Jakey at 7:02 AM on May 7, 2010


Mail: ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS HOLD CAMERON TO RANSOM
Sun: IF YOU WANT WOGS IN YOUR TOWN VOTE AGAINST BROWN
Telegraph: CAMERON IN HOCK TO LOONY FOREIGNERS, ASKS THEM TO MOVE INTO YOUR GARAGE

Oh, and can someone do us all a favour and shoot James Delingpole?
posted by Len at 7:03 AM on May 7, 2010


Every time a Tory comes on the screen to talk about how "the voters" have given their party a clear mandate I can hear the Scottish yelling from here.

Indeed - I was at the Edinburgh count through the night and the talk was all of how unexpectedly strongly the Labour vote had held up north of the border: increased majorities in several seats, and holding off serious Lib Dem threats in others. It raises constitutional issues my tired brain can hardly begin to comprehend. Also a kick in the teeth for the SNP ahead of the ahead of next year's Scottish Parliamentary elections: finally Scotland unites politically against England - by voting Labour! The impression seemed to be last night that the SNP vote had tanked, although I see there's been no change in the number of seats held. Not spotted figures on the popular vote yet.

Just put the telly on and can't believe Dimbleby is still going. If this goes on all weekend, a nurse is going to have to come on set and persuade him gently to come have a little lie down.
posted by penguin pie at 7:06 AM on May 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


An "All party committee of enquiry on electoral reform" would be totally useless for the Lib Dems, Clegg would be mad to accept that.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:07 AM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nah, Dimbo is hardcore, penguin pie, he's got a nosebag of top quality base speed hidden under his desk for dipping into. Other Beeb correspondents doing less well, though – 5 o'clock shadows showing in several cases.
posted by Len at 7:09 AM on May 7, 2010


Oh, and can someone do us all a favour and shoot James Delingpole?
Christ yes - what a gibbering gimp - countryside covered in windmills? And next to him that loony Tory libertarian Hannon, who took time out to attack the NHS on US telly during the healthcare debates there. Scum.
posted by Abiezer at 7:10 AM on May 7, 2010


And on a more serious note – I think that the Scottish Labour vote was given a big, big punt by the natural anti-Tory factor up here. We may all hate Gordon Brown, but good christ, we don't hate him as much as we hate Cameron, and we're willing to swallow Brown's withered, hairy nutsack pretty much whole if it keeps the Tories out.
posted by Len at 7:12 AM on May 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


The offer of a committee on electoral reform strikes me as a manoeuvre to gain some kudos for appearing cooperative (notice how many times Cameron emphasised his "Broad, open offer") without actually risking electoral reform. Electoral reform would keep the Tories out of government even with a popular vote as weak for Labour as this one, and likely split the right-wing vote into its economic and social constituents.
posted by larkery at 7:14 AM on May 7, 2010


Whoever tries to form a government now will fail within months, and suffer for it in the following election. This is a time when tactically it'll pay to stand back and let fools rush in, hard as that may seem.
posted by Phanx at 7:15 AM on May 7, 2010


Just reading Sinn Fein held Fermanagh and South Tyrone by 4 votes!
posted by Abiezer at 7:17 AM on May 7, 2010


Beautifully put, Len. As an Edinburger, I couldn't agree more.
posted by ukdanae at 7:17 AM on May 7, 2010


Spectator editor probably reflecting Tory grassroots accurately when he says they won't put up with Cameron going for a coalition and this would 'test [Cameron]'s his authority within party'.
posted by Abiezer at 7:21 AM on May 7, 2010


I think Jeremy Vine is having a swingometer-related asthma attack
posted by Len at 7:25 AM on May 7, 2010


What time did the BBC election coverage start last night? 10? Just wondering how long Dimbleby has been up now.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:26 AM on May 7, 2010


Two big results to come - Dudley North and Lancaster and Fleetwood. Both tory target gains from Labour. If labour keeps both it could put Lib/Lab/SNP over the line for an effective majority of 322 in a house of 640 (1 speaker +3 deputies, one currently empty seat due to death of a candidate, and assuming that the 5 Sinn Fein don't show up).

On preview - Lab hold Dudley North.
posted by Jakey at 7:31 AM on May 7, 2010


Ha ha, Dimmers now giving Rory Cellan-Jones a hard time for thinking digital media have been of any importance. "Why does he disguise himself as Parsifal 2, who's Parsifal 1? That's the trouble with all this, it's anonymous..."

Pah, you young digital upstarts, good old fashioned television is where it's at.

I think Jeremy Vine is having a swingometer-related asthma attack

Yeah, he was gasping with exhaustion. Where's Peter Snow tonight, btw? There's a man who knows how to work a swingometer.
posted by penguin pie at 7:33 AM on May 7, 2010


(err... today. I'm tired and confused. Is it the future yet?)
posted by penguin pie at 7:34 AM on May 7, 2010


Parsifal 3: This time it's COALITION

As for Peter Snow, damn, I miss him and his over-excited springer spaniel approach to the election. I think he spends his time arsing about with his son on military-related documentaries. Maybe staying up overnight is too much for him these days ...
posted by Len at 7:37 AM on May 7, 2010


I read strong on immigration as closing the doors to many new non-EU immigrants - and the price of that has to be dealing with the current illegals somehow - and it's way cheaper to accept them as is rather than chase them down and kick em out (some £10,000 per). As long as it was crystal clear it wouldn't happen again, I can see cameron making that sacrifice. Hell, I bet nuclear power will be an interesting negotiation point.

Now we know why they kept the inheritance tax in the manifesto - nice fat lamb to sacrifice to the lib dems, perhaps so they drop the mansion tax idea.

It's going to be a massive amount of horse trading the next couple of days to see if they can find common ground that's enough for Clegg to sell to his party - and what cameron can offer.

Interestingly enough Len, I can understand exactly where you're coming from. There's a whole bunch of people down here in the SW, who when faced with the choice of looking over coyly for Cameron or voting with their liberal heart, but at the risk of the (evil vizier chord) Mandelson's black hand on Brown's hairy balls still being in charge of the country, they bent over and offered up the lube.
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:38 AM on May 7, 2010


Also: Why does he disguise himself as Parsifal 2, who's Parsifal 1?

Just reminds me of "Who is Number One? You are Number Six" If only an oriental dwarf would show up at the Beeb's election table with a pot of Lemon tea for Cellan-Jones.
posted by Len at 7:45 AM on May 7, 2010


The live BBC broadcast is over, at least online. Fair enough really as the discussion has been going around in circles for quite a while now.
posted by ob at 7:51 AM on May 7, 2010


Beer o'clock here - off to sink a few in celebration of a vastly better outcome than looked likely only a few months back. Which I suggest folks bear in mind when they hear talk of any Tory momentum.
posted by Abiezer at 7:56 AM on May 7, 2010


Going totally leftfield (and completely hypothetical) with it, I wonder whether it'd be worth going for the ol' National Government routine.

It'd get them all out of the hole with regards to being the party "hated for the next 30 years" over the impending hardships, and everyone involved gets to play statesman and saviour of the nation.

Hell, Clegg himself raised the issue of an all-party coalition over financial policy in the debates.

It'd need a few people who weren't afraid to be hated in the short term (but wouldn't mind being vindicated by history) of course.

Something like:

Prime Minister: Mandelson (Everyone hates him anyway, so he wouldn't care. Plus he's got the machievellian skillz to pull it off)

Chancellor: Vince Cable

Home Secretary: Dave "The Lizard" Cameron

Foreign Secretary: Nick Clegg

You could chuck Darling in as Business Secretary with Letwin as Work and Pensions and stick Liam Fox in Defence. The Tories can attempt to wreak their "Big Society" stuff on schools and families, and Labour keep Justice and Transport.

Oh, and obviously...

Tea Boy: George "the Boy" Osborne


There you go. Never thought I'd say it, but... ahem... MANDELSON FOR PM!
posted by garius at 8:15 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Where's Peter Snow tonight, btw? There's a man who knows how to work a swingometer.

I think he's retired but he turned up briefly on the Ship of Fools / Boat of B-List earlier with his son...

I seen Esther Rantzen lost her deposit in Luton but hey, that's life (so so sorry)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:59 AM on May 7, 2010


Local Election news - Barking & Dagenham won 12 seats in 2006's election.

In 2010 they hold: 0.

All 51 gone to Labour.

Boom.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 9:07 AM on May 7, 2010


ArkhanJG probably the lib dem amnesty on illegals

Frankly, I suspect the LibDems themselves are frantically trying to forget that one. It probably cost them 5 percentage points and a few seats. Watching Cameron and Brown beating Clegg over the head with it during the last debate was painful.
posted by Skeptic at 9:08 AM on May 7, 2010


Oops - meant to say:

Local Election news: in Barking & Dagenham the BNP won 12 seats in 2006's election.

In 2010 they hold: 0.

All 51 gone to Labour.

Boom.

Eat it, BNP.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 9:09 AM on May 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


God, another day of this!

Be prepared for weeks. The average time (internationally) to negotiate a coalition agreement is 40 days (either BBC or FT, sorry can't find the article now). Certainly that's our experience in New Zealand, and we're used to the idea of coalition governments by now. [Brings back happy memories of working in the NZ Parliament during the 2005 post-election period...I'd get out of the lift on the ground floor and a dozen cameras would swing round, hoping I was someone important so they'd have something to report. I felt so sorry for them that it was only me. And this went on for weeks]
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:17 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting info-nugget from the Guardian:

If you divide the number of votes each party received by the number of seats they won (as things stand now), you get these figures:

Conservatives: 35,021
Labour: 33,338
Liberal Democrat: 119,397

That's the number of votes each party needed to win a seat.

posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm from the US, so this is one of those "I have no idea whatsoever what I'm actually talking about" posts. But: it seems to me that if Brown and Clegg (plus plaid cymru and the SNP and the nice people from NI and the Greens and does-RESPECT-still-have-a-seat? and the rest of the miscellany) were to come out and say "hey, okay, so the only mandate that exists for anyone is a mandate for electoral reform, so let's get some sorta STV/PR in and have another election then why don't we?" they would be remembered basically forever as heroes regardless of whatever they do for the rest of their lives, and also they'd get to kick the Tories in the nuts hard.

but of course if that happened all of the parties would be radically transformed forever and even though the new set that would pop up would reflect the will of the UK better no one's (for values of "one" equal to "those New Labour jackasses, who might as well be Tories themselves") actually going to do it because it would reduce their own personal power, never mind that all of these people are and will always be rich and powerful in one way or another.

So it will never happen.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:44 AM on May 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The smart play on Clegg's part would be to form a working alliance with the Tories (possibly via abstention from the Throne speech and from votes of confidence) and spend a few months exposing and wedging open issues within their party, especially on Immigration and the House of Lords. Then, while it is still close enough to the election, force an issue, probably proportional representation, and bring down the government on a vote of confidence.

While there is a small chance the Queen would dissolve parliament, more likely within a few months of an existing election she would ask Labour, as the official opposition, to try to form a government. Cleggs then demands a Lib-Lab coalition based on proportional representation & House fo Lords reform, thus being seen to have allowed the Tories their chance and avoiding blowback on the 'will of the people" issue. Labour, disorganized and probably leaderless, wants to regain mantle of power and takes the chance on proportional representation.
posted by Rumple at 9:55 AM on May 7, 2010


I'm not so sure that an anti-tory rainbow coalition is a non starter. Lab/Lib/SNP/PC gives you 324, which is a working majority if SF don't take up their seats. Clegg gets the Foreign Office and his electoral reform referendum, he also gets to claim credit for killing ID cards (I think Lab will be happy to save the money without being seen to make a U-turn). Cable gets the Chancellor's post, and the majority of the blame for the austerity measures. Nats get the Scottish/Welsh secretary posts and seat at the top table (although below the salt) but not much more. The big stumbling points would be Trident (all except Lab against), and the impending cuts (Nats would need to be seen to be winning something for Scotland/Wales).
This has the added advantage for Labour of drawing the sting of the inevitable SNP/PC boost from Westminster cuts. If the SNP/PC are themsleves implicated in the cuts, it will considerably lessen the strength of the rhetoric and the strain on the union, which all of the other parties will see as a plus.
posted by Jakey at 10:02 AM on May 7, 2010


rumple: yeaahh... but in practice I'm not sure that wouldn't turn out like the current situation in Canada, where Harper's been using the power that goes with being PM to ram through nastiness and keep the Liberals weak / disorganized. Right after the election it looked like he'd be out in a matter of months, but it seems that in Canada at least a nasty and basically uncharistmatic little conservative can govern indefinitely with a minority of parliament.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:09 AM on May 7, 2010


and also when they announce the coalition, at the end of the announcement Brown and Clegg suddenly start making out, super passionately, and pause for a second to tell the nation that they're getting divorced from their respective wives and married to each other, and everyone's all "oh man no one saw that coming," and then later people are like "in retrospect it does make a lot of sense," and David Cameron cries a lot.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


If the Liberal Democrats can get whatever government forms to push through decent voting reform they'll presumably move themselves into the position of (almost) always holding the balance of power, since a Labour/Conservative coalition would never ever happen.
posted by dng at 10:19 AM on May 7, 2010


The reason Harper has been successful is largely because the other parties don't really want an election, and without the Bloc Quebecois, who will never join a coalition, then the Liberals and NDP together can't form a stable government. But the cost of an election in Canada is huge, the opposition is broke, the Liberals have a weak and cautious leader and, allegedly, Canadians don't want elections because they "cost too much". I'm not sure these pertain in the UK. Cameron would have a lot tougher time getting significant numbers of the opposition to abstain on money/confidence votes (as the Liberals have done numerous times in Canada) and I doubt very much he could do it alone in the same way Harper has been able to exploit the void left by the Bloc's non-present presence.
posted by Rumple at 10:21 AM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


dng: Well, yes, if the party structure remained like it is, the lib dems would always hold the balance of power. But if actual proportional representation (or something like it) gets through, the party structure will likely change dramatically. For one thing, the Greens would likely get quite a few seats, weirdo parties like UKIP might make a showing1 and I wouldn't be surprised if the internal tensions in Labour eventually caused some kind of split (and, hell, it's not like the lib dems don't have their own internal tensions). The political spectrum would likely end up looking something like Germany's, honestly.

[1]: And some proud constituency or other would have the honor of electing the first BNP MP... and of having their noses rubbed in it daily as he makes an ass of himself in parliament. Presumably the idiots who voted this hypothetical shithead in would have the sense of shame to get rid of him in the next election.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:21 AM on May 7, 2010


Talking of proud constituencies, here in West Ham, we swung to Labour, because when the going gets tough, the tough vote for the embattled progressive party. Can I get a MILIBANNNNNNND?
posted by tigrefacile at 12:39 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can I get a MILIBANNNNNNND?

Which one? David? Cos he's dreamy.
posted by Lleyam at 1:02 PM on May 7, 2010


Democracy by Carol Ann Duffy
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:22 PM on May 7, 2010


it seems to me that if Brown and Clegg (plus .....the rest of the miscellany) were to come out and say "hey, okay, so the only mandate that exists for anyone is a mandate for electoral reform, so let's get some sorta STV/PR in and have another election then why don't we?" they would be remembered basically forever as heroes regardless of whatever they do for the rest of their lives, and also they'd get to kick the Tories in the nuts hard.

Nice idea, but it assumes that there's a strong mandate for electoral reform within the Labour party and its supporters. I'm not sure that's the case. Brown's support for PR seems to vary in close correlation to how much he needs the Lib Dems. I think we're more likely to see Brown offering a review or referendum on PR, than actually coming out and enthusiastically supporting it.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:55 PM on May 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd love to know what's going on behind closed doors today. The BBC is running two contradictory stories about a Clegg/Brown phone conversation – the official line from both parties is that it was friendly and constructive, but suggestions that Brown lost his temper and threatened Clegg are leaking from somewhere.

It's possible that there's a quiet civil war brewing in the Lib Dem ranks. If, as is being speculated, Clegg would rather work with Cameron than Brown, but the party as a whole is more left-leaning than their Orange Book leadership, it could be very difficult to resolve the situation. Of course, if the rank & file get their way and there's a Lib-Lab arrangement of some kind, they still need the SNP & Plaid on board to outnumber the Tories. What will that take and could it ever be stable for longer than a few months?
posted by him at 5:20 AM on May 8, 2010


but suggestions that Brown lost his temper and threatened Clegg are leaking from somewhere

Really? I've seen no reports.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 5:37 AM on May 8, 2010


The smallest of mentions on the BBC live feed:

1135: Liberal Democrat sources have told the BBC's Jon Sopel that Gordon Brown delivered a diatribe laced with threats when he spoke to Nick Clegg last night by phone. It was in sharp contrast to the respectful and constructive talk between David Cameron and Mr Clegg, they added.

May be the fevered imaginings of a sleep-deprived correspondent, of course.
posted by him at 6:23 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a purely academic exercise, here are the seat totals that would have resulted from Thursday's vote if the makeup of parliament was entirely proportional, with no regard for local results:

Con 237
Lab 190
LD 151
UKIP 20
BNP 12
SNP 11
Green 6
DUP 4
Sinn Fein 4
Plaid Cymru 4
Ulster Conservatives 2
SDLP 2
Alliance 1
English Democrats 1
Respect 1
Traditional Unionist Voice 1

That totals 648 seats, with one left for the Speaker and 1 constituency (Thirsk & Malton) yet to declare due to the death of a candidate.

Of course, this is completely speculative – not only is this not how PR would work, but people might vote very differently if they knew they were affecting the national picture rather than just their own MP. I just thought I'd post it because it took me a few minutes to do the maths and I might as well inflict my wasted afternoon on you.
posted by him at 6:42 AM on May 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


That sort of calculation does nothing but frighten the horses, him; I've seen various tweets in the past day quoting the "20 UKIP, 12 BNP" statistic as if it's a real possibility and an argument against PR. There are plenty of PR systems that wouldn't let fringe groups anywhere near parliament. I grew up under one; if multi-member electorates are limited to 5-7 members apiece, no candidate can get in with less than a 14.6% quota (for 7 members) or 20% (for 5). In Thursday's election, that would have meant no BNP candidates winning anywhere; Nick Griffin got 14.6% in Barking, but in a multi-member system he would have been contesting an electorate several times the size, and Barking's neighbouring electorates had nothing like that vote for the BNP.

Note also that a system like Hare-Clark means that you are voting for your own MPs; you simply have 5-7 local MPs instead of one. It's much better in terms of ensuring that most voters feel represented locally, as opposed to a single-member system (whether by first-past-the-post or preferential voting) where half the electorate feels that their only MP represents the other half.
posted by rory at 8:36 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Absolutely – as far as I'm aware, neither STV or AV+ would yield that kind of result either and would likely shut out the non-regional smaller parties such as UKIP and BNP. The purely proportional calculation is interesting, though, in that it makes clear exactly what the Tories are scared of. 237 to Labour's 190 is even further from a majority than they are now, and that's taken 13 years.
posted by him at 8:42 AM on May 8, 2010


For whatever it's worth, here's the latest from the guardian on the plaid cymru / SNP side of the negotiations:
Plaid Cymru is supporting the SNP call for a progressive alliance in the Commons (see 2.47pm and 3.46pm). Plaid's leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones, has said this:
We will now do what is expected of us by the electorate and explore the potential of working with other parties in Westminster in order to achieve the best deal for Wales. A more balanced Parliament is a real opportunity to bring about a new approach to politics in the UK which would be welcomed throughout the nations of these islands.
Plaid Cymru and the SNP have appointed teams to discuss the mechanics of possible coalition negoations. That does not mean they have started talks with Labour. It just means they are making contingency plans.
Also, here's a photo of Clegg and Brown as quarelling lovers standing next to an extremely sophisticated next generation humanoid robot.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:07 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, there's no doubt about why the Tories want nothing to do with PR. What's more surprising is that they won't even concede AV (or preferential voting as Australians like me know it), which has single-member electorates but aggregates votes by preferences to deliver a winning candidate. Parties of the right win plenty of elections under that system; Australia just had a decade of right-wing national government under it.

Of course, if they were canny about it, Labour and the Lib Dems could deliver approximately AV-like results under first-past-the-post. It's too late for this election, but if an unstable parliament means another election in 12 months, they could do it sooner rather than later. All it would take would be an electoral pact not to stand against each other in any one seat, deciding whether to field Labour or Lib Dems candidates on the basis of their 6 May 2010 results. The Tories wouldn't get anything like 306 seats if the others did that. But of course it's in Labour's interests to maximise the number of seats they win too, which is why in thirteen years of power they didn't even consider electoral reform of the Commons.
posted by rory at 9:12 AM on May 8, 2010


I should add that the Lib Dems could do the same against Labour if they made the same kind of pact with the Tories instead. But if the Tories reject any possibility of electoral reform, it's going to force the Lib Dems into Labour's arms, on this issue at least. Which is why the Tories are short-sighted not to consider offering AV to tempt the Lib Dems into supporting them. AV would mean some Lib Dem preferences flowing to the Tories in seats where the former came third; a Lib Lab pact wouldn't.
posted by rory at 9:18 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, here's a photo of Clegg and Brown as quarelling lovers standing next to an extremely sophisticated next generation humanoid robot.

Brown looking left, Cameron looking right, Clegg down the middle — what could be more appropriate?
posted by rory at 9:20 AM on May 8, 2010


god, I have the hardest time telling male UK politicians apart. they really do all look the same...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:30 AM on May 8, 2010


Kinda feel like 4chan could do something with this one...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:31 AM on May 8, 2010


You Can't Tip a Buick: For whatever it's worth, here's the latest from the guardian on the plaid cymru / SNP side of the negotiations

Interesting. While Clegg et al are dithering over Cameron's offer, could the SNP & Plaid put together a provisional deal with Labour & the SDLP? That way, the Lib Dems walk straight out of negotiations with the Tories and into the waiting arms of an already-constructed coalition. They slap a consensusy-sounding name on it ("Grand Coalition" or "Progressive Alliance") and set about reforming the voting system while the Tories and the Murdoch papers fume.
posted by him at 9:33 AM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


So can anyone recommend any dummies' guides to PR? I feel like I should be conjuring up an informed opinion (OK, OK, I should probably have done that last week...).

Nick Clegg is the one that looks like Peter Jones off Dragons' Den.
posted by penguin pie at 9:40 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia's relevant entry isn't a bad starting point, penguin pie.
posted by rory at 9:50 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't like the idea of manipulating the system to keep the smallest parties out. It might be the BNP - and I hate them - but if citizens are voting for them they should have their due representation. Keep the cockroaches out in the light, I say. And on the other side, the Trotskyists or Earth First parties might be in with a shout as well.

Any proportional representation system is going to have to be simple, or the major parties against will set up a blinding barrage of futher confusion and doubt. In British Columbia, a referendum on PR about 5 years ago ended with 57% approval - it needed 60% - and that was in the face of really shitty tactics muddying the water which, because the system was a little hard to understand intuitively, fell on fertile soil. The referendum has never come back, despite promises, so if it goes this way in the UK, get it right: it might be the only chance, not in a generation but in a century. (The BC referendum was partly prompted by a first past the post result which gave the opposition 2 seats from 90, based on about 35% of the vote - no one thought that was a really great result).
posted by Rumple at 10:38 AM on May 8, 2010


It depends how you define "small", Rumple. Should a party expect parliamentary representation with one percent of the vote? If the UK were treated as one giant multi-member electorate, any group commanding 0.15% would get an MP. Meanwhile, any notion of having local representatives to fight your interests in Westminster goes out the window, which would be a major loss. You have to draw the line somewhere, and 14.6% isn't a bad bar to set, as these things go.

(I certainly prefer 14.6% to 20%. In Tasmania, the major parties conspired in the 1990s to keep out the Greens by reducing the number of members per electorate from 7 to 5, and raising the quota from 14.6% to 20%. A futile exercise, it turned out, as they were fighting a rising tide - the Greens now command over 20% of the vote, and every electorate has a Green MP.)

The PR system I linked above is dead simple from the voter's point of view: you turn up to vote, get handed a ballot paper with a list of candidates, and rank them in order of preference from 1 onwards. Job done. Much more satisfying than first-past-the-post, because not only do you get to put your favourite candidate first, you also get to put your least favourite last. The complications are in the calculations of preference distribution during the counting of votes, but to anyone who can apply a simple formula they're not that complicated. The system has the added advantage that you never need by-elections: if an MP resigns or dies, you just go back to the votes from the last election, distribute his or her preferences, and figure out who was next on the list to get in. It's almost inevitably going to be someone else from the same party, so you don't have governments toppling because some random MP was hit by a bus.
posted by rory at 1:18 PM on May 8, 2010


This is actually a pretty good article about the various types of PR, and describes in a very clear way the anomalies resulting from various kinds of voting system. In this letter the same author goes into a bit more detail about anomalies in STV. It's a good look at the ways the different proposed systems work, how they are proportional, and how they sometimes fail to be proportional.

Disclaimer: if you are the kind of person that freaks out when you read sentences like "This is a myth propagated by some bourgeois ideologues, and widely believed.", then you will probably be better looking elsewhere for your exposition. But you'll be missing out.
posted by Acheman at 2:54 PM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


If the lead story in the Guardian is anything to go by, Cameron may have problems beyond how much PR to offer the Lib Dems. If he gets knifed, we're rapidly running out of potential prime ministers.

This is way more fun than an actual election result.
posted by him at 2:59 PM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


The people have spoken, and it was a mumble!

From here, after eight of Bush, it looks like not losing outright was a victory for Brown.
posted by klangklangston at 3:10 PM on May 8, 2010


Murdoch's minions in complete meltdown.

The numbers say it all on electoral reform: The LibDems won 23% of the vote, an increased amount, and less than 10% of the seats, a decrease on the last election. If Clegg goes for anything other than voting reform, he's a fucking mug, a traitor to his voters, and doing the UK itself an appalling dis-service. Governments ought not gain an elective disctatorship on the strength of a little more than a third of the vote and the backing of a media mogul.
posted by rodgerd at 3:19 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


slap a consensusy-sounding name on it ("Grand Coalition" or "Progressive Alliance")

Have just heard Alex Salmond use the latter of these to describe a possible Labour/SNP/Plaid/Lib Dem deal. If it comes together and they stick with that name, I want it on the record that I beat Salmond to it by a few hours.
posted by him at 3:21 PM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Though what I'm reading on the Guardian site is that Labour powers-that-speak-to-the-press are saying that it's ridiculous and narcissistic and lame for Salmond to be presuming to speak for Labour and that no they are not on board with anything right now no sirree...

(does anyone else have a sense that this may end up with Labour and the Conservatives forming a grand coalition of all the people everyone hates?)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:42 PM on May 8, 2010


Labour undermined by inability to notice it's incredibly unpopular, Conservatives undermined by Latvian-SS cuddling Euronutters.
posted by rodgerd at 8:16 PM on May 8, 2010


(If Clegg really wanted to put Brown and Cameron on the rack he'd demand something they'd be even more reluctant to give him than a voting system that makes the votes of more than a few million Britons count; namely, an overhaul of media ownership rules preventing ownership of more than one TV service or newspaper by foreigners. You'd quickly see who's got the biggest pull in British politics...)
posted by rodgerd at 9:05 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


penguin pie: New Zealand is currently reviewing its electoral system (potentially to move away from PR) - the Ministry of Justice website might give you some useful information on the different possible systems [minor self-link: my sister worked on this project]

For what it's worth, NZ uses a mixed-member system. There are 60 local electorates that work the same way as they do in the UK. But voters also vote for a party list. Each party has its number of seats "topped up" from the list, so that its total number of seats is equal to its share of the party vote. Parties need to get 5% of the vote, or win an electorate seat, in order to get seats from the list vote.

So if applied to the UK, the BNP and UKIP wouldn't get any seats, the Greens would get a couple due to winning in Brighton. [Of course, it would make Barking even more important, because a win there for the BNP would bring them a handful of party list seats].
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:43 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Interesting Goldacre article in yesterday's Guardian on election data availability, nerds, crowdsourcing etc.
posted by paduasoy at 5:37 AM on May 9, 2010


I saw Kay Burley's interview on Youtube.

Appalling. I really don't want that poisonous "Bill O'Reilly" style of interviewing imported into the UK.
posted by lucien_reeve at 8:47 AM on May 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Brown to stand down as Labour leader, Labour to hold formal talks with Lib Dems.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:23 AM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


So I turned on the TV to find out what was going on. Sky News had Alaistair Campbell and Adam "Neck" Boulton shouting at each other. Al Jazeera had a guy explaining what had happened. Terrorists for the win, Rupert Murdoch for the lose.
posted by Kattullus at 9:51 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's the video of the aforementioned shouting match. Sky News is really getting quite shrill.
posted by ukdanae at 10:56 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, watching Sky News spiral into crazed delirium since election night has been amusing, in a nuke-them-from-orbit-please kind of way, but amusing nonetheless.
posted by Kattullus at 11:23 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Kay Burley is a fucking nightmare, and should never have been allowed anywhere near anything more complicated than a copy of Postman Pat For Dummies, let alone a fully furnished TV studio, an autocue and the opportunity to broadcast to millions of viewers. Lest we forget, this is the woman who said, on Sept 11, "if you're just joining us, the entire eastern seaboard of the United States has been decimated by a terrorist attack." She's the worst sort of idiot: one with a big honking megaphone and the determination to use it.

As for more serious stuff: on Channel 4 News, the Tories, in the form of Hague, have just come out and said they'd offer the Lib Dems a referendum on AV as bait for a coalition. Not that AV is all that great, but God, I can't wait to see what sort of conniptions this drives Murdoch and the more extreme wing of the party into.
posted by Len at 11:38 AM on May 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


What a crazy night it's been since Brown's resignation announcement.

On the Labour side, chaos. John Reid on the news saying that he and Blunkett both think it's foolish to pursue a coalition. Miliband refuses to talk to the press, saying that Harriet Harman will make a statement. She comes out of No. 10 and doesn't make a statement. No word from Mandelson, no sign of Campbell.

Over the fence, Hague quickly announces that they'll offer the Lib Dems a referendum on electoral reform, something that seemed unthinkable yesterday. This is presumably infuriating the right of the party, who are already uneasy with wooing the Lib Dems. Meanwhile, no sign of Cameron.

This morning, it didn't seem like the situation could get any stranger, but here we are.
posted by him at 12:30 PM on May 10, 2010


And Labour's come back with a counter-offer of Alternative Vote now, and a referendum on a full form of PR in the future. Not sure whether that's enough to counter the Tories' pull (I don't like it, but they do have a greater claim to legitimacy), particularly given that if the Lib Dems go with Labour and freeze out the Tories, the Conservative right-wing faction stands a very good chance of toppling Cameron, causing the whole party to implode.

The thing I like most, though, is that suddenly people are talking about electoral reform in a way that wasn't remotely on the table even a week ago. When William Hague, of all people, makes an offer like that, you know things have changed.
posted by ZsigE at 12:39 PM on May 10, 2010


Considering the runners and riders in the forthcoming Labour leadership contest and the charms of whey-faced public school boys leading the other two parties, whatever happens we're in for a few years of government by dodgy estate agent gimps.
posted by Abiezer at 12:44 PM on May 10, 2010


"Bill O'Reilly" style of interviewing

government by dodgy estate agent gimps


It's really good to see the UK and US patch up our differences and come together again as one.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:48 PM on May 10, 2010


Abiezer: Considering the runners and riders in the forthcoming Labour leadership contest and the charms of whey-faced public school boys leading the other two parties, whatever happens we're in for a few years of government by dodgy estate agent gimps.

There's always Harman...
posted by him at 12:51 PM on May 10, 2010


Stop it, there's sharp objects in this house.
posted by Abiezer at 12:52 PM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


The party I work for, the SDLP, hasn't got this many media mentions since pre-Good Friday Agreement.

Slightly irritating that they say 'The SDLP take the Labour whip', that's not entirely accurate. We voted against ID cards, the Iraq war, abolishing the 10p tax band, and encouraged Labour to ban cluster munitions. We're like the Labour party with a conscience.
posted by knapah at 12:53 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thought Gordon was sly to make it explicit that the failure to win a majority was a judgement on him as party leader and so imply the same judgement was passed on certainly Cameron at least. Few knives out for the latter already and every little helps.
posted by Abiezer at 1:06 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, it's not a good time to be a party leader. Cameron's already had a public ticking off from Ashcroft, which is about as serious as it gets. Minority government would be seen as failure, as would conceding too much to the LDs. Clegg's between a rock and a hard place, with his party expecting the Earth and most likely getting the Tories instead. Damned if he does etc.

Gordon's better off out of it. He should go and get a cushy job at the IMF.
posted by him at 1:21 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Something I was just wondering about if the Tories and the Lib Dems do bump uglies: presuming Clegg and a couple of others at least get cabinet positions – and presuming that more than one of these is a proper, serious position – what happens to this coalition when, on a big but extremely divise flagship Tory policy, their whips instruct their party to vote for, and the Lib Dem whips instruct theirs to vote against?
posted by Len at 1:34 PM on May 10, 2010


Okay, correct me if I'm wrong: what Labour is referring to as "alternative voting" is what the rest-of-world calls Instant Runoff Voting, right?

... which, like, what? Christ, why that? If they don't want to go whole-hog multi-member constituency PR quite yet, why that particular sham of a voting system? Why not approval voting? (which I thought is what they meant by alternative voting before I went and wiki'ed it..)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:36 PM on May 10, 2010


Something I was just wondering about if the Tories and the Lib Dems do bump uglies: presuming Clegg and a couple of others at least get cabinet positions – and presuming that more than one of these is a proper, serious position – what happens to this coalition when, on a big but extremely divise flagship Tory policy, their whips instruct their party to vote for, and the Lib Dem whips instruct theirs to vote against?

The Cabinet members will have to vote for it or resign thanks to collective cabinet responsibility, but the Lib Dem MPs could vote against it.

A similar thing happened in the Northern Ireland Assembly where the SDLP voted against the budget but Margaret Ritchie, as Social Development Minister part of the Executive (Cabinet), had to vote for it or resign in breach of the ministerial code.
posted by knapah at 1:49 PM on May 10, 2010


knapah: The Cabinet members will have to vote for it or resign thanks to collective cabinet responsibility
Oh yeah, I know that; was just wondering how cracked the coalition would have to get before we're motion of no confidence, let's dissolve parliament territory. I mean, the vote of no confidence in Callaghan that triggered the '79 election was basically a fit of righteous, ill-considered pique on the part of the SNP; they knew by withdrawing their support for the Scotland Act that Thatcher would put the motion, and the SNP would support it. And they knew Thatcher would win the subsequent election. And they knew she would fuck over Scotland. But they did it anyway.
posted by Len at 2:28 PM on May 10, 2010


"With the incomprehensible connivance of Nick Clegg – whose reputation will surely never recover – Mr Brown is effectively seeking to nullify the result of last week’s general election. Blinded by his tribal loathing of the Conservatives, he is ready to risk everything – and we use that term advisedly – to keep David Cameron out of Downing Street."
What dark hints are these from the Torygraph editorial (my emphasis)? Many a chuckle to be had at the conniptions in the comments too.
posted by Abiezer at 3:03 PM on May 10, 2010


I hope that Ed Balls becomes Labour leader, because every time I hear his name I snicker.

Also acceptable would be Lord Adonis, because with a name like that he could be a Doctor Who villain.
posted by Kattullus at 3:04 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, Abiezer, that editorial is something else. You can practically feel the frothing spit dripping down the monitor. (The comments are great too; one woman is even going to WRITE A LETTER to THE QUEEN because "she is the only one who can resolve this issue".)

This is turning into a spectacular bun-fight; the Tory papers are fuming like they haven't done in quite some time, and the indications are that they're going to continue doing so for months on end. There's so much bile there, not to mention casual Xenophobia of anyone not born, raised and now commuting from the stockbroker belt, interesting that it so quickly and casually elides into a demand that a Tory majority in England be allowed to rule over the rest of the country despite having few representatives out in the provinces. You'd almost think from those couple of sentences that they feel entitled to something, somehow.

As for "risking everything" and using that term advisedly – and particularly in light of the Torygraph's MI5 connections – might we once all get to see what they've got in Broon's file? Wouldn't rule it out from those scum ...
posted by Len at 3:27 PM on May 10, 2010


... which, like, what? Christ, why that?

Cos AV is the nearest form of difference to the status quo, which is the structure that most preserves the two party system.
posted by vbfg at 3:39 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they don't want to go whole-hog multi-member constituency PR quite yet, why that particular sham of a voting system?

Well, I'm sure they genuinely believe that it is the best way for the interests of the British public to be adequately represented in a government. It also just so happens that it would slightly increase Labour's share of seats, but I imagine that's entirely unintended. Just like the Conservatives are strongly against reforming FPTP due to what must be genuine concerns with representation, while promising to do all they can to make sure constituencies have more equal populations - an oversight which has damaged the electoral standing of (have a guess) the Conservatives. We're all about fairness here. (Not that the Lib Dems have nothing to gain from PR, of course...)
posted by eykal at 4:30 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it common knowledge in the UK that IRV/AV is a sham? Is it likely for people to be all "hurr the other parties offered election reform how come the lib dems are still complaining"?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:15 PM on May 10, 2010


The Cabinet members will have to vote for it or resign thanks to collective cabinet responsibility, but the Lib Dem MPs could vote against it.

I'm sorry to keep bringing up New Zealand in discussions about the UK, but we had this exact same issue in 2005, and got round it by deciding that Ministers from the minor support party wore multiple "hats" - at times they were Ministers and were bound by collective responsibility, but at all other times they were MPs and members of their party, and were free to speak against the Government.

Basically they agreed in advance what issues they were going to support each other on, and on others they were free to oppose.

Not sure how well that would work here: the UK whip system seems to be weaker than in NZ, backbenchers seem more willing to vote against their own party. But it's undoubtedly the case that the UK is aware of what happened in NZ - UK officials were just out in NZ, seeking advice on supporting coalition governments.
posted by Infinite Jest at 11:56 PM on May 10, 2010


Okay, correct me if I'm wrong: what Labour is referring to as "alternative voting" is what the rest-of-world calls Instant Runoff Voting, right?

You're wrong :) Well, only slightly. What they're all calling alternative voting is actually alternative vote plus, the system proposed by the commission on reform of the voting system that Tony Blair set up shortly after winning his first landslide election - then promptly stuck in a desk and forgot about.

Basically, it's instant runoff voting for your local constituency MP, so they have to win 50% of the vote to win. Under most examples, it means in very narrow votes the marmite candidate (i.e. tory) tends to lose to the lib/lab candidate.

The plus bit is adding some extra regional MPs (20%) to address the single-member problem, i.e. 50% of the constituency are represented by the 'wrong' party - they are selected from an open party list, i.e. voters get to chose which MP off the party list gets their additional party vote, and they are chosen a) on percentage of the party votes received, and b) which MP on that party list got most votes.

This system is relatively close to FPTP with a few extra regional MPs from party lists, but has the downside of being bloody complicated.

First you rank *this* list from 1-8; but you don't have to rank all of them. But you must not use the same number twice. And only use round numbers. And 1 is first, not last, right? Ok, now you vote which person you want for local council. Just vote once with a X on that list, right? Ok, now you need to pick a regional MP. Here's the list, pick ONE right, just ONE party, and which MP you like from that party - just pick one at random if you've no idea, ok? OK. Neeeext.

As opposed to
Here's a form. Put a cross (or tick) next to the candidate from the party you want. Try not to eat the pencil.

Given some 2% of the votes are spoiled under the FPTP system, I shudder to think what AV+ would be like.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:10 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


We're like the Labour party with a conscience.

Should get along well with the LibDems, then.

The desperation from the Murdoch Media to "deliver the election", as they used to brag, is palpable. They've failed King Murdoch, who has spent over a quarter of a century using his muscle to dictate to parties what policies they must embrace to be electable in the eyes of a vast swathe of the country. At this point they seem a half-step away from photoshopping Clegg into kiddie porn.

The problem the Tories have, as ever, is that they've not really sorted out their nutjobs - the gay-bashers, the xenophobes, the people who see Cameron lining up with Waffen SS supported in Europe - this would be plain sailing for the Tories without them, except perhaps on the issue of electoral reform.
posted by rodgerd at 12:58 AM on May 11, 2010


The last time Britain had a government which enjoyed an absolute majority in the popular vote was 1931; Blair last came to power with 35% of the vote (via). It's also taken up to 8 weeks to form a government under MMP elections. I'm not sure how the British media cycle would cope with that.
posted by rodgerd at 1:46 AM on May 11, 2010


rodgerd: The last time Britain had a government which enjoyed an absolute majority in the popular vote was 1931

And that was a fluke. Prior to that the last time a party got absolute majority was 1906. Before that, though, absolute majorities were the rule rather than the exception.
posted by Kattullus at 3:18 AM on May 11, 2010


Spot the difference between the editorials in the English and Scottish version of The Sun newspaper
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:02 AM on May 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Given some 2% of the votes are spoiled under the FPTP system, I shudder to think what AV+ would be like.

In Australia, with a similar system in our lower house, you're looking at about 5% donkey or informal vote. Of course, one popular donkey vote is just to label 1, 2, 3, etc in the order the names appear. Being first on the ballot here can give you a 2% or so push you otherwise wouldn't have. It's not a big deal with only a few candidates in the lower house, but in the upper house, or in council elections with many more candidates, the difference can be felt.
posted by smoke at 4:27 AM on May 11, 2010


In Australia, with a similar system in our lower house, you're looking at about 5% donkey or informal vote.

You have compulsory voting though, if I understand right. Would that perhaps affect the number of people who wanted to spoil their vote?
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:48 AM on May 11, 2010


Looks like game over for the Lib/Lab pact, but it is all still up in the air until formally announced. Things are changing every fifteen minutes.
posted by knapah at 8:03 AM on May 11, 2010


Well, it was a useful lever for the LDs while it lasted. They've really squeezed everything they can out of the Tories. It's all down to the triple lock now.
posted by him at 8:08 AM on May 11, 2010


ArkhanJG: As opposed to:
Here's a form. Put a cross (or tick) next to the candidate from the party you want. Try not to eat the pencil.

Here's the thing, though — for almost all situations, Approval Voting is close to ideal, and it has the advantage of the instructions being "Here's a form. Put a cross (or tick) next to all the candidates you want. Try not to eat the pencil."
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:12 AM on May 11, 2010


"Labour recognise their efforts to do a deal with the Lib Dems to stay in power are over, the BBC understands".
posted by nfg at 9:00 AM on May 11, 2010


I'm sort of glad about that. As little a fan as I am of the Conservative party, the idea that Labour would get to stay in power after that election result didn't sit well with me at all.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 9:07 AM on May 11, 2010


Brown is on his way to the Queen to offer his resignation now.
posted by knapah at 11:23 AM on May 11, 2010


I have to admit I found his speech appropriately concise and, if just the tiniest bit, moving.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:25 AM on May 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have to admit I found his speech appropriately concise and, if just the tiniest bit, moving.

Me too, and I still like him more than either Clegg or Cameron.
posted by knapah at 11:29 AM on May 11, 2010


I was very happy to hear 'Tory Scum' chants when William Hague was acknowledging Brown's speech there.
posted by knapah at 11:38 AM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Right, let's find out who's in the cabinet and what mix of Tory and Lib Dem policies we're getting. As messy as it's been, I can't help but feel glad that we're not getting an undiluted Conservative government. Hopefully the negotiations have softened them on more than just electoral reform.
posted by him at 12:35 PM on May 11, 2010


That said, they keep referring to Cameron as "the new Prime Minister" on telly and it's making me feel a bit sick. You'd think I would have got used to the idea by now.
posted by him at 12:39 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tories Tories Tories, Out Out Out.

Just warming up.
posted by reynir at 12:42 PM on May 11, 2010


Laughing at all the people in the crowd making conspicuous thumbs down signals.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:43 PM on May 11, 2010


"Political system in need of reform", indeed. Fixed terms too!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:44 PM on May 11, 2010


Breaking news! David Cameron fond of wife!

Ugh, the endless talking on TV news.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:48 PM on May 11, 2010


The way Cameron uses adjectives is really patronising. "Hard and difficult decisions" just now and the other day it was "a big offer" to the Lib Dems. It's like he's talking to a toddler.
posted by him at 12:51 PM on May 11, 2010


What's 'responsibility' a code word for? Kicking disabled people off benefits. Filth.
posted by Abiezer at 12:52 PM on May 11, 2010


New thread
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:53 PM on May 11, 2010


A Tory vocab primer:

"Efficiency savings" – public sector job cuts.
"Responsibility" – amoral utilitarianism.
"People who've done the right thing" – rich people.
"Fair" – deeply unfair, but in a very traditional way.
posted by him at 12:56 PM on May 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


New thread

Unfortunately it just got cut. Appropriate really.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:29 PM on May 11, 2010


New new thread
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:20 PM on May 11, 2010


Once bitten, twice shy. Who knows when the swingeing axe of mod cuts will fall? We need to keep this thread going as a bile repository for the future good of the nation.
posted by Abiezer at 2:38 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The crucial question is: can a coalition of the two election threads command a majority of arguments on Metafilter? While we all want to keep MetaTalk out, we may have to include a number of minor topics if we want to provide the people with the kind of strong and indecisive flame wars that we nerds on the internet deserve.
posted by eykal at 3:14 PM on May 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


As messy as it's been, I can't help but feel glad that we're not getting an undiluted Conservative government.

That's how I'd been feeling all along, looking on the bright side and all that stuff.

Until I saw the picture of David Cameron standing outside No 10.

Then my heart broke. Waaaaah.
posted by penguin pie at 3:16 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Though we might get a rogue AskMe question elected in Brighton.
posted by Abiezer at 3:17 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Until I saw the picture of David Cameron standing outside No 10.

I'm waiting for the picture of George Osbourne standing outside No 14 looking puzzled and asking a policeman if it's No 11 or not.
posted by reynir at 3:50 PM on May 11, 2010


10 percent off Clegg/Cameron civil partnership bouquets! Every cloud etc.
posted by Abiezer at 2:20 PM on May 12, 2010


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