Thursday, April 29, 2010

Come On, You Know You Want It

So, who do you think wants it more?

What, no Labour? And where is the BNP?

This is my first general election, and I'm pleased to be voting in such an exciting election. It's every bit as historic as America's last election (who'd have thought that the US would ever be liberal enough to elect a man who admitted getting high in college to the presidency?) and I'm proud to be part of it. Even though my vote won't make a blind bit of difference.

You see, I don't get to vote for the who I want to run the country. I only get to vote for my local MP. Then, whichever party gets the most MPs gets to have their head MP as Prime Minister. And they elect that guy (or woman), and I have no say in the matter.

So with Horsham a solidly conservative seat, voting for anyone is an exercise in futility. Unless, of course, you are voting Tory.

But it's still good to get out and vote.

The exciting bit is watching a party who everyone had written off as irrelevant a few months ago come into the fore. The Lib Dems are, by some accounts, ahead of the Labour party. And, if they succeed in hanging Parliament (oh, if only; maybe we could make it happen if we all brought enough rope) they will be in a position to effectively select the next leader, which makes this an interesting race indeed.

The best thing about British elections is that the campaign period only lasts about a month. This keeps most of us from getting so very, very sick of political broadcasts, but still allows the candidates to do stupid things that make the electorate shake their head in collective wonder and switch parties. (Can you say, "Bigoted woman!")

Anyway, I'll be watching with interest, and going to the polls a week from tonight to throw away my vote. I hope you all do the same.


  1. I too, for many years have been a voter who's vote counted for nothing, but unlike you Mike, I live in a northern inner city (albeit a nice suburb thereof) which by definition means a safe labour party seat. but not this time.....

    I have been a many years supporter of the Liberal party and latterly the Liberal Democrats (since their unification with the SDP - Social Democratic Party - and became the Lib Dems). Mostly because they have been the only party advocating for years revision of the electoral system in the UK. Neither of the other 2 parties were/are interested, they only say so now because most politician can smell the wind and tell when the time is ripe to leap on a bandwagon. Tories and labour had a vested interest in the first past the post system because, if if the other guys get in it was pretty much a racing certainty that the tide of public opinion would swing back again like buggins turn.

    Paula's first vote in a general election this time too, and she has voted already as she has a postal vote - at least she didn't have to learn how to pull a series of levers etc (as I hear you guys have to do across the pond?)

  2. Anonymous9:04 AM

    Yes your are right about a wasted vote here. If a blue rosette was to be pinned on to a dead pig in this town the pig would get elected. Come to think of it is that not how the local council got elected.


  3. It will be an interesting race, but no matter who wins, it will still be a politician.

  4. > You see, I don't get to vote for the who I want to run the country. I only get to vote for my local MP.

    Yes you do! You vote for the candidate in your constituency the party of whose leader you wish to be prime minister. Just because his/her name's not on your ballot paper doesn't mean you cannot place your vote in such a way that the person you want to be PM has more chance of becoming it.

    This is how parliamentary democracy usually works, and please may I suggest that it is a far more common model in the world than the strange American presidential one?

    Now, are you able, please, to explain to us how the American Electoral College works?

  5. Hi Howard! I moved this post from the main page because everyone was ignoring it--too bad, this might have been interesting.

    I still don't agree. In the US, I flick a lever under the name of the guy I want to be President. Here, I make a check mark on a paper for the MP I want to represent my district. I may or may not want his head MP to be my national leader. As in this election.

    The electoral collage deserves it's own post - far to complex for a comment. Most American's don't understand it.

    In chatting with my wife this AM about the election: she was complaining about the constant coverage and I was doing my American shtick about how we put up with it for 18 months at a time and it occurred to me that this does not mean the Brits are soft because they cannot tolerate political broadcasts for a sustained period, it make the Americans daft for putting up with it for so long.

    This election has been about right. Enough time for everyone to state their views and have a chance at shining or doing something incredibly stupid. And if the voters need more time to make up their minds, well, then maybe they should stay home. I'm ready to vote.

    When I think of the waste, the resources, the gargantuan effort, the money, distraction of a US election I think it is insane.

    Perhaps a future post will deal with all of this.