So we had an election yesterday. The mother of all Parliaments asked its people to grace it with our votes. And we complied, in record numbers, some crowding stations so much so that they were left unable to vote. The count went on well into the early hours and we awoke this morning keen to discover at which lucky individual fate had pointed its fickle finger, intoning, "You! Ugly White Man! Rule the Country."
But its finger hadn't pointed at anyone, just played its part in a dismissive wave. We have a hung parliament. And not in a "Why, Mr Parliament, aren't you impressively hung!" kind of way. Instead, Britain is feeling rather flaccid. No one is in control. And no one is sure who will be. Our demonstration to the world of open, reliable, trustworthy democracy has resulted in shady backroom deals between politicians and their familiars — literally anything could happen. They could emerge saying that we will now be a revolutionary monarchy with the clone of Winston Churchill catapulted (literally) onto the throne wearing a chicken hat. We just don't know.
Gordon Brown, as incumbent Prime Minister, is meant to get first crack at forming a government by reaching out to other parties. But any deal with the Liberal Democrats would likely involve a introducing a fairer system of electoral representation, giving their party a better shake of the stick — and ensuring that this kind of thing happens every election. And even with them onside he wouldn't quite have enough seats to form a government.
David Cameron — leader of the now-largest party, the Conservatives — is making as many deals with parties as he can but looks determined to govern as a minority government, unable to pass much legislation or do much else besides trying to cut costs, hoping to keep his party together and praying that not too many of them die in office.
While Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats got many less seats and votes than expected, he seems likely casting the deciding vote on every piece of legislation that comes through the door. Yes, the future of the country is in the hands of the man that the least people voted for.
Can't we have a good old fashioned dictatorship again? It was so much easier to work out what was going on….
Of course, my Member of Parliament is now no longer an anti-airport Liberal Democrat but a millionaire, overseas domicled, Jewish pig farming Conservative who doesn't like science. So that should be fun.
You know, It's weird. We currently have no government. And yet nothing has collapsed. The libertarians were right!!!
Rich Johnston lives in London, works in advertising, writes about comics and draws cartoons for the UK's leading political blog, Guido Fawkes. He'll vote for the first party that promises to legalise the smoking of squirrels for medicinal purposes.
Tags: Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Indecision Internationale, Labour Party (UK), Liberal Democrat Party (UK), Nick Clegg, United Kingdom
In case you're unaware, the Merry Old United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is holding it's general election tomorrow. Huge governmental changes coming tomorrow. And this ad with Eddie Izzard is the kind of political spot the British people get? Talking?! And when I say "talking," I don't mean "accusing" and "condemning." I mean something a bit closer to "informing" and "persuading."
Oh, England. How so very droll you are…
Tags: Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Eddie Izzard, Gordon Brown, Indecision Internationale, Labour Party (UK), United Kingdom
If you've never heard of Doctor Who — the forty-seven year running TV series on the BBC — stop now, find another article, there's probably one with Glenn Beck looking silly on it.
Okay? Well, if you're still here, I'm assuming that you are familiar with the show about time-traveling alien The Doctor in a blue box obsessed with Earth and sticking his oar in around the universe, often pursuing or pursued by the metal-cased Dalek race. In Britain, it's pretty much the top rated show going and in the US the new season just broke audience records over at BBC America.
It's so popular in Britain that it seems to have merged with the General Election campaign. The Radio Times, the UK equivalent of the TV times, ran three separate covers the other week, each with a different coloured Dalek matching the three main parties on the front with Westminster in the background, with the headline "Vote Dalek."
Tags: Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Indecision Internationale, Labour Party (UK), Television, United Kingdom
There's nothing quite like making a gaffe in an election campaign. The off-the-cuff, not thoroughly-thought-through comment that gets picked up by the press and then swirls around the media impervious to all efforts to be put back in the box. But how can you make the best gaffes to guarantee the best headlines? Here are a few examples to follow…
5. Declare War Before You're Even Prime Minister
David Cameron — leader of the Opposition — expressed in leadership debates a desire to retain an independent nuclear arsenal because, "We don't know what is going to happen with Iran, we can't be certain of the future in China?" Because yes, that's what you want to do in an election campaign, suggest that you may want to go to war with a big emerging superpower that happens to have a hundred more warheads than you? The story of David and Goliath usually goes the other way in real life.
Tags: Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Facebook, Gordon Brown, Indecision Internationale, Internet, Labour Party (UK), LGBT, Liberal Democrat Party (UK), Nick Clegg, Racism, Twitter, United Kingdom
Yesterday I wrote that Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the UK was a nobody.
That was yesterday. Today he is a somebody.
That's because, last night, the UK held its first-ever live televised debate between leaders of the main political parties. Before last night, it was only ever going to be between the incumbent Gordon Brown and the Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron. Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats was political padding.
It was a strange day in many ways — earlier a large cloud of volcanic ash had begun to cover the country, grounding all planes. David Cameron couldn't have flown up to the debate even if he'd have wanted to. Still, a lot of hot air covering the country wasn't anything new when it came to politicians. And north they went, to the TV studio that makes Britain's biggest soap opera, Coronation Street, to play their own version of The Weakest Link. No Anne Robinson sadly, she's clearly undergoing surgery for her wink getting out of control.
But over the course of the debate, a nation who hadn’t really given Nick Clegg a vague approximation of the hour — let alone the time of day — sat up and thought "A plague on both those houses; let's have the fellow with the floppy fringe." He received a massive mandate from the audience, whether it was his declaration to remove all income tax from the lowest paid and dumping it on the highest or that he didn't want to abandon immigration all together, who knows.
Although, that he seemed to be a normal guy set against a lumpen, drooling golem interested in army facts and figures on one side and a plastic mannequin who told us he'd met a teenager, a black man and a woman just that day on the other probably didn't hurt.
And no one liked Gordon Brown. We saw the after-debate commentary, with shots of audiences for the first time using those little wheels to express approval or disapproval. And every time Gordon spoke, those wheels hit the floor. It was quite comic.
Gordon insisted that only he could solve the economic problems. Despite also admitting that he helped cause them. He seems to be taking a "I broke it, I bought it" approach. David Cameron started off by apologising for the expenses scandal that rocked the country, though no one it seemed had asked him to, which made you wonder — like one would with a child who becomes oddly petulant when an adult walks into the room — what else he was hiding. And his face shone on camera so much that I swear I saw lens flare. Oh, and he also wanted to scrap methadone treatment for heroin addicts.
Against these freaks, Nick Clegg looked okay. And now, it's the day after and people are talking about Nick Clegg as an actual Prime Ministerial candidate as opposed to an afterthought. He might even win something. His rivals are taking him seriously. That we know very little about him probably helps. If nothing else, this debate has given the tabloid newspapers an excuse to delve into his past. Maybe even dig up one or two of those thirty ex-lovers of his…
Tags: Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Debates, Gordon Brown, Indecision Internationale, Labour Party (UK), Liberal Democrat Party (UK), Nick Clegg, United Kingdom