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Author Topic: UK (&NI) General Election  (Read 1183 times)

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Offline consortium11Topic starter

UK (&NI) General Election
« on: May 06, 2015, 01:51:55 PM »
I've been meaning to do this post for ages but being me procrastinated far too much and when I actually started writing it was lined up to be a 10,000 word+ thesis going into every aspect of the election… but when my old computer blew up I lost that so this is what we're left with.

National Election in the UK (& NI) coming up shortly.

Quick background for those wanting to brush up:
  • Constituency based first-past-the-post party based system
  • You vote for an individual MP (Member of Parliament) for your constituency (roughly the area you live in) not for a specific party or prime minister
  • Whichever candidate gets the most votes wins, the others get nothing. If the most anyone gets is 20% of the vote the person with 20% of the vote gets it. If one person got 49% of the vote but someone else gets 51% then the person with 49% gets nothing.
  • Whichever party has the most MPs is invited to form a government with its leader generally becoming Prime Minister.

Three main parties:
  • Conservatives: Centre-right, biggest single party right now, currently the senior partner of the current coalition government, led by David Cameron (the Prime Minister).
  • Liberal Democrats: Smallest of the three main parties, junior partner in the coalition, led by Nick Clegg (the deputy PM). Basically in the centre but with a fair amount of tension between some libertarian elements on the right of it and social justice based groups on the left.
  • Labour: Centre-left, second biggest party, led by Ed Milliband.

Two smaller parties one should keep an eye on:
  • SNP: Losing the referendum on Scottish independence has actually helped them gain popularity (I suspect because people who liked their policies but didn't want to leave the UK now feel safe voting for them). Policy-wise they're a mixed bag; PR releases paint them as doing the opposite of whatever the Conservatives do, in reality there's quite a bit of similarity. Strong in Scotland, doesn't have candidates anywhere else.
  • UKIP: Originally a single-issue protest party (based around getting the UK out of the EU) over the past five or six years they've turned into a somewhat legitimate political party. Arguably the UK's version of the Tea Party they ditch the Evangelical element for nostalgic/traditionalist take on the UK. They benefit from a charismatic love him or hate him leader but every week brings a new scandal with one of their candidates. Likely to do fairly well in England.

Three key things to look out for:
  • Lib Dem Collapse: At the last election a lot of people turned to the Lib Dems as somewhat of a protest vote; they hated the then Labour government but didn't like the Conservatives either. Those votes are likely to disappear with the Lib Dems role in the coalition government meaning they're taking just as much blame as the Conservatives from those on the left. Expect them to lose a lot of seats (primarily to Labour) with the worst predictions suggesting they may be almost completely wiped out.
  • SNP take Scotland: Since the referendum the SNP have been doing better and better in the polls and it may well be that they win virtually every seat in Scotland. If they do it will be a big blow to Labour; as things stand it holds 40 of the 59 seats there and any serious loss of seats there likely means it won't be able to win a majority in the UK as a whole.
  • Will UKIP rise… and at who's expense: It's basically now of never for UKIP. If they can't make a breakthrough in this election it's hard to see them ever making one. But, if they do, who will they take votes off? Originally people thought it would be the Conservatives who suffered as UKIP either won seats outright or split the right wing vote enough to let another party win. However they've done pretty well in Labour and Lib Dem held seats, selling themselves as the party listening to the working (wo)man and reflecting their concerns. Their support has faded as the election draws nearer but they still may have a big impact on the overall result.

So, what's the expected outcome?

If any party is able to win a majority it will likely be the Conservatives… although chances are it will be a slim majority. However far more likely is a situation similar to the last election where the Conservatives are the single biggest party but don't have an overall majority and thus a coalition will have to be formed.

What coalitions that may be is a bit of a mess. The existing Conservative/Lib Dem one looks unlikely to hold up too well; not only may the Lib Dems lose so many seats that they can no longer act as kingmakers but I suspect most Lib Dems, burned by their four years in office with the Conservatives, would much prefer to have nothing to do with them. If UKIP do exceedingly well then they might step into the frame. If only a few seats are needed then the DUP (a party from Northern Ireland) may be enough to get the Conservatives into power.

A much talked about possibility is a Labour/SNP coalition. I'm not sure that's going to be enough. The SNP will likely make most of its gains (assuming it makes them) from Labour with a handful of Lib Dems thrown in. Labour seems unlikely to make up for those losses in England and Wales even if it does take some Lib Dem seats. That leaves the two parties in a position where even combined they may not have a majority and so would have to look to other small parties: the Welsh nationalists, other parties in Northern Ireland, the Greens (who currently have one MP). The UK doesn't have a history of coalitions, let alone grand coalitions featuring three or more parties… it may well be a bit of mess if we tried to make one now.

In truth the election itself is unlikely to be the most exciting/interesting (used loosely…) part of forming the next government. The political horse-trading afterwards as parties try to position themselves? That's where the real work is likely to be done… and with a chance of minority governments, votes of no confidence and the Queen's Speech being rejected it could be a chaotic few weeks before we really know what happened.

Offline Kythia

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2015, 02:50:59 PM »
Lib Dem Collapse: At the last election a lot of people turned to the Lib Dems as somewhat of a protest vote; they hated the then Labour government but didn't like the Conservatives either. Those votes are likely to disappear with the Lib Dems role in the coalition government meaning they're taking just as much blame as the Conservatives from those on the left. Expect them to lose a lot of seats (primarily to Labour) with the worst predictions suggesting they may be almost completely wiped out.[/li][/list]

One interesting point related to that - in the 2010 election the Lib Dems got 57 seats, in 2005 they got 62.  Despite the protest vote and all the rest the Lib Dems did worse than previous, it was nothing to do with any success on their part that they ended up in semi-power.

Online Khoraz

Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2015, 03:13:48 PM »
From what I gather the Conservatives and Labour keep taking the lead off eachother.

Also there's far too little mention of the Greens anywhere.

Offline Kythia

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2015, 03:14:40 PM »
I think there's a roughly appropriate mention of the Greens...

Online Khoraz

Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2015, 03:31:25 PM »
There should be more ><

Offline Kythia

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2015, 03:38:59 PM »
Why?  I mean, they're a minor party (there are as many independent MPs as there are Greens - Sinn Fein refuse to sit in parliament and have more MPs).  The most they've really contributed to the election build up is that car crash of an interview that whatshername did.  Just seems there's not much to say about them.  The time spent discussing them would be better used discussing the DUP, with 8 times as many MPs, but no one (in England) thinks there should be more discussion of them.

Online Khoraz

Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2015, 03:53:54 PM »
I just dislike how the entire focus seems to be 'Conservative vs Labour. Featuring the current public racist and others, depending on whether anyone has done anything stupid or hilarious'.

More should be said about all the parties, really. It's not a 2.5 party system.

Offline Kythia

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2015, 03:57:52 PM »
I don't really feel it has been.  The recent Q&A involved three parties. Sturgeon and Farage and whatshername were all touted as talkers in the leaders debate.  We're openly talking about the Lib Dems, DUP, SNP, UKIP and Plaid Cymru as players in a coalition government.  I really don't feel this has been focused on "Conservative v Labour".  What are you referring to?

EDIT:  Bennet.  That's her.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 04:04:30 PM by Kythia »

Online Khoraz

Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2015, 04:05:15 PM »
Well I tend to read The Guardian, and 9 times out of 10 the headlines are about how one of the two has slightly overtaken the other. You might occasionally get a pie chart at the very bottom mentioning the other parties but that's about it.

It's been the same on the news too. The BBC isn't exactly a paragon of unbiased news, but it tends to be that you only hear about how UKIP have done something racist, the SNP hate England, the Greens had that one bad interview.

They give headlines when other parties do something silly or strange or awkward, but never to talk about policies.

At least that's how I feel - I'll be honest and say that I haven't been combing the Internet looking for things, but I'd imagine most people haven't.

Offline Kythia

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2015, 04:10:38 PM »
Well, yeah but that's what's happening.  That's not the Guardian's fault.  I don't read it myself but I would imagine they reported super heavily on the #greensurge when it looked like the Green's would be relevant.  And don't forget that "one bad interview" was an interview about their policies.  Had Bennet not messed it up, it would have been a standard interview with a party leader about policies.  She was in the Metro not that long since. 

I don't think you can object to the two largest parties getting more coverage than a minor single issue party.  When they do something newsworthy - be that positive like the green surge or negative like lose the ability to form sentences - it gets reported on.  Not newsworthy = no news, though.

Offline Heartsink

Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2015, 04:42:27 PM »
Lib Dems are going to lose seats but still potentially be a key player in a coalition
Tories are going to lose seats
UKIP won't do great
SNP will get most if not all 60 (?) seats in Scotland
Greens won't do great (blame FPTP)
but in the end
Labour's going to win most seats, me thinks, minority or majority gov who knows, though

Miliband publicly declared that there wouldn't be any SNP ministers in his government, so a firm coalition like Lib Dem/Tories in Cameron's government with them is unlikely
But in this system, it's really all about constituencies and seats, as the Guardian published earlier today...

Offline Kythia

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2015, 01:06:03 AM »
Welp, that's my democratic right to scrawl "none of the above" across a piece of paper exercised. Yey freedom! Same time in 2020 guys?

Offline Darkleather

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2015, 01:53:49 AM »
I'm just off to vote now.

Here's my take on it.

I don't trust any of them.  If the last 5 years has shown me anything, it's shown me that our current crop of MPs (regardless of party affiliation) are the most corrupt, self-aggrandising, selfish, arrogant group of blowhards that I have ever come across.  They have constantly and persistently made decisions that help themselves and their friends rather than the majority of the population.  They have all gone down the route of blame politics - though UKIP has taken this far further than anyone else.  I find myself in the position of not voting for the best MP - I am voting for the least worst MP. 

What concerns me is that the media have managed to make this all about the party leaders.  The debates are a farce - they were forced on the parties at the last election by Sky.  They are nothing more than an exercise in sound-bites.  But a side-effect has been that people now seem to think that they vote for the Prime Minister rather than an MP or a party.  We don't.

I have less respect for our current crop of politicians than I have ever had.  But the alternative would be to support idiots like Russell Brand who advocate forcing their agenda on the majority by civil disobedience.  For the first time ever, I feel like I don't want to vote.  Given the lack-lustre turn out at the last election and talking to people at work, I am far from the only person that feels this way. 

Offline Kythia

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2015, 02:25:54 AM »
What concerns me is that the media have managed to make this all about the party leaders.  The debates are a farce - they were forced on the parties at the last election by Sky.  They are nothing more than an exercise in sound-bites.  But a side-effect has been that people now seem to think that they vote for the Prime Minister rather than an MP or a party.  We don't.

Couldn't agree with this more.  While it wasn't his reason for doing it, I think Cameron was right to refuse to participate.

Offline consortium11Topic starter

Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2015, 03:14:45 AM »
Welp, that's my democratic right to scrawl "none of the above" across a piece of paper exercised. Yey freedom! Same time in 2020 guys?

My vote was functionally similar, picking an independent candidate who has no hope of winning. I refuse to vote tactically or go for the "lesser of two evils".

Offline Darkleather

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2015, 03:25:18 AM »
My candidate list was actually very short - no Green, no Independents at all.  I had a choice of 4

Offline consortium11Topic starter

Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2015, 03:44:55 AM »
My candidate list was actually very short - no Green, no Independents at all.  I had a choice of 4

Not a vast amount of choice in mine; the fairly standard four (Con, Lib, Lab, UKIP) and an independent. I campaigned with an independent candidate two elections ago and so was pretty involved in the election process (... and you'll never see more petty point scoring then local party officials on election night) and there were far more candidates then; off the top of my head the big three, UKIP, BNP, Green and four independents.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2015, 03:57:24 AM »
Saw Leanne Woods, head of the Welsh party (Plaid Cymru) in a debate on BBC World News with the front persons from all parties that have any chance of getting seats (I somehow dislike the overuse of the word "leader" in a democracy in peacetime, and especially in parties) and found her really impressive: focused, well-spoken and with a clear commitment to the idea that politics should help bring together a community and not divide it, tear it apart. But Plaid Cymru is a completely marginal player on the national scene of course, not even close to the SNP in importance.

Offline Darkleather

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2015, 04:01:04 AM »
Saw Leanne Woods, head of the Welsh party (Plaid Cymru) in a debate on BBC World News with the front persons from all parties that have any chance of getting seats (I somehow dislike the overuse of the word "leader" in a democracy in peacetime, and especially in parties) and found her really impressive: focused, well-spoken and with a clear commitment to the idea that politics should help bring together a community and not divide it, tear it apart. But Plaid Cymru is a completely marginal player on the national scene of course, not even close to the SNP in importance.

It's nice to hear that there are still some politicians who can inspire a sensation other than nausea

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2015, 06:25:40 AM »
The Sun (yep, Murdoch) ran a front page the other day that manages to mix together a desperately embarrassing photo stab at Ed Miliband, half-subtle antisemitic stereotypes (look at that big crooked nose and eyes!) and dog-whistle political speech that seemed to be aiming to speak both to the UKIPpers and at muslims who might vote Labour: vote for Cameron instead, you don't want this ham sandwich eating guy. Someone pointed out that page to me and yes, it's a really low mark in shoddy political admaking (and it wasn't even made by a party but by a newspaper...). The picture is a full year old, by the way, and has no political relevance whatsoever.

Now it turns out that many people were so disgusted by the dodgy page stunt that they are sharing other embarrassing pictures of themselves eating, under the tag "Je suis Ed". Nice counterstrike.

Offline Darkleather

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2015, 06:32:36 AM »
That incident is what I loathe about politics and the modern media.  We don't care about someone's politics, ability, integrity, talent, skill, whatever.  What we care about is finding a way to make them look small.  It's disgusting.  The so-called journalists who ran the piece should be ashamed of themselves.

This is the sort of politics that I expect in the playground - not from adults.

Maybe I expect too much?

Offline Kythia

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2015, 07:31:30 AM »
Eh, I like that photo.  Whenever I'm feeling sad I just look at photos of Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich and it cheers me right up.  The one of him giving money to that homeless person is good as well.  He's just so awkward.

Offline Heartsink

Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2015, 10:08:26 AM »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2015, 04:17:31 PM »
Exit polls on the BBC are pointing to a truly disastrous election for Labour, who may have been heavily smacked by the Scottish Nationalists. Supposedly the latter would be set to win almost every seat in Scotland, while Cameron and the heavily dwarfed LibDems would land on the verge of majority, but with almost no margins in the House. Now these are only exit polls, from asking people as theý left the election locales, and there is a mass of uncertainty in this.

Online Khoraz

Re: UK (&NI) General Election
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2015, 04:22:08 PM »
His exit poll is making me feel sick. Conservative government... God...