Saturday, 8 May 2010

Farce

You could've put this election on Failblog.org. In a nutshell:

- Labour lost their majority (258 seats, down from 349)
- Tories didn't get a majority (306, up 97)
- Liberal Democrats LOST seats (57, down from 62), and only gained 1% of the vote
- Brown is still in 10 Downing St, but the LibDems are talking to the Conservatives first about a deal (no official announcement as of 9:56pm GMT Friday 7th May).
- Thousands of people across England wanted to vote but couldn't due to various reasons, including lack of ballot papers, voter lists not updated with registered voters, and being turned away at 10pm after queueing for up to 2 hours
- Conservatives gained ZERO seats in Scotland, as did all parties - no change north of the border

The small good news:

- Caroline Lucas won the Green Party's first seat in Parliament, taking Brighton Pavillion from Labour
- The BNP gained ZERO MPs, and apparently lost a lot of money
- The Lib Dems are in a position to do a deal, hopefully involving electoral reform.

So what now?

- Traditionally, the existing governing party has the first chance to form a new government, even if they don't have the most seats or votes (Labour have neither)
- However, Nick Clegg said he'd go first to the party with the biggest mandate - this is clearly the Conservatives, and they're already talking
- Labour haven't given up though, Brown is still in 10 Downing Street stressing the similarities between Labour and LibDems

The situation for each party:

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
- Results are a vast disappointment from such a successful and high profile campaign. The electoral system distorted the results against them, as always, but they only gained 1% of the vote over the whole country, so it can't take all the blame. This puts them in a much weaker position when negotiating with Labour or the Conservatives.
- The Tories have offered to create a Lib-Con coalition, talks are going on right now I think. This is really the only opportunity to create a majority in the House of Commons, so if they don't take it, they could be accused of acting selfishly and irresponsibly. But the Tories are fundamentally opposed as a party to electoral reform, and the best they would offer (I believe) is a referendum in which the Conservative party would vote "no".
- Labour have since election day been offering a "progressive alliance", including proportional representation, but together with the Lib Dems they still only have 315 MPs - not a majority (325) and only just more than the Tories on their own.
- The LibDems are in a central position right now, but they don't have any space to manouevre. Getting a cast iron assurance of electoral reform, their number 1 priority, looks very difficult on both sides.

CONSERVATIVES
- Disappointed and upset with the results; after 13 years, everyone knows it's a failure not to get a majority. More upsetting is the idea of doing a deal with the Liberal Democrats who they disagree with on so much.
- If they can't do a deal with the LibDems, David Cameron's still hoping to go into power as a minority government, doing confidence and supply agreements to pass legislation with other parties. But the LibDems might want to make a minority coalition with Labour, which makes things very awkward indeed.

LABOUR
- In some ways, an amazing result for Labour - they seemed destined to be booted out of power, yet Brown is still prime minister and they have a slim chance of holding on.
- That said, even if the LibDems and Tories can't agree a deal and the LibDems side with Labour, part of negotiations may be for Brown to go. And to be honest, for all the support Labour clung onto, the election results read like a country who wants Gordon Brown out.

Sorry for lack of links, I'm in a rush!

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