08 May 2010

The Election

Some disconnected thoughts:

Politics as Entertainment - election night was the most entertaining media event of the year. Possibly the most entertaining event ever for me - I sat up until 1am on Monday to watch the end of the snooker, but I was glad when Robertson won the last few frames to get it over with. I didn't go to bed on Thursday. The only bad bits were actually listening to politicians.

Poisoned Chalice - for both major parties, there must surely be a temptation to put the other lot in to bat. Whoever forms the government will have to take over a very difficult situation, and as soon as they hit serious trouble, the government is likely to fall and they will have to fight an election on a record of chaos and failure. The opposition can make a show of being humble and helpful, and then attempt to knock the whole thing over at a time of their own choosing.

Cleggmania - Either Clegg made a big impression in the debates on people who couldn't actually be bothered to vote, or voters were in "X-Factor" mode when answering pollsters, which is different from voter mode in the polling booths

Technical Difficulties - With 40000 polling stations, some few are bound to be affected by incompetence or unforeseen circumstances. This will no doubt be used to argue for hi-tech voting systems, which will solve the problem by making such failures so frequent they cease to be newsworthy

Lib Dems - The Lib Dems told me to vote for them because only they could stop Gordon Brown. They can now stop Gordon Brown, so what do they tell people if they don't do it? But no doubt they told many others that only they could stop Cameron.

Esther Rantzen - was always an irrelevance, and lost her deposit. Was no more worthy of media coverage than the Monster Raving Loony William Hill party

Predictions - the results were in line with a lot of polls, if not the ones from the last couple of weeks. I don't remember anyone addressing the possibility though of the Conservatives not having a majority, but Labour and Lib Dems together not having one either. It seems to be hitting everyone as a new idea.

Voting Systems - radicals of all types hoping for proportional representation can forget it. If anything, we would get AV+, which would help the Lib Dems but nobody else. The BNP might get a seat in the North-West, and UKIP might get one in the South-West, but Marxists, Greens, Libertarians, etc. would get nothing.

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