Friday, May 4, 2007

Of Mid Terms Across the Pond & Hanging Chads in Edinburgh

Drum roll please. The midterm elections were held in the UK yesterday. And the winners are? Well, that's a good question.

We don't know in Scotland yet because about 100,000 of the ballots got invalidated.

Confusing ballot papers were being blamed for as many as 100,000 invalid votes in elections to the Scottish Parliament and councils north of the border, potentially affecting crucial contests in a neck-and-neck fight between Labour and the Scottish National Party for dominance at the devolved Holyrood parliament.
Sound familiar? After our own Florida debacle in 2000, I can say that this is not something I would wish upon any friendly nation. I extend my deepest sympathies to the Brits. You're in for a long and muddy slog on that one.

As to the other results from the British mid-terms, they are a bit clearer. Tories won a fair amount, apparently . . . though I am still not quite sure how much. Labour lost a fair bit, though they are claiming that they didn't lose so bad that its a clear threat to knock them from power at the next general election:
Tony Blair insisted today Labour had "a perfectly good springboard to go on and win the next General Election," despite taking a battering by voters from the South-East to Scotland.

In a night of drama, Labour lost hundreds of English council seats, saw power slip away in the Welsh Assembly and woke to see the totemic fight against the SNP for the Scottish Parliament on a knife-edge.
As to how much of that is spin from TB, I have not a clue. And I think Red Ken is still going to be Mayor of London. That is a real travesty. If anyone from the UK would care to weigh in on all of this, it would be much appreciated. We have not had a good handle on British politics over here since about 1776.

You can find some articles on the election and the Scottish debacle at The Telegraph, The Times, Daily Mail, and the Guardian.

Update: Some questions answered by EU Referendum:
With the Lib-Dems also losing 242 seats and Labour losing 485, the big winners were the Tories with 875 gains, far in excess of expectations.

However, despite desperate attempts to "spin" otherwise, the Tories have not made the breakthrough in the North. In fact, they lost control of Kirkless, they lost councillors in Bradford and Leeds and halved the number of Tories in Sheffield from two down to one.

Although early days, what this seems to be is the resurgence of traditional two-party politics, with a strong element of the North-South divide. The Tories are strong in the South while Labour is still maintaining its grip over the metropolitan Northern councils.

What might be happening is that the Tory deserters, scenting power, are returning to the fold, bolstered by others who detest Blair – and have no love for Gordon Brown. On the other hand, Labour maintains its core vote but is been strengthened by those who hate Cameron, and would not vote for him at any price.

If this is the case, we can expect to see a greater polarisation of politics, as Gordon Brown takes over and the gap to the next general election shrinks. But each side will be recruiting not supporters, but temporary allies who have in common only their detestation of the other side.

Update: And the BBC, Britain's own publicly funded version of the New York Times -its left wing bias is legendary - is caught trying to spin the Labour debacle.

1 comment:

Dinah Lord said...

Aye, Scott. This is going to be a big mess. Off to check your excellent linkage.

Cheers - Dinah


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