Pass the crisps: UK Election watch

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  • Russell Brown,

    The link to the election also includes a link to Jeremy Thorpe the then Liberal leader, his life and related scandal makes colourful reading. In terms of serious scandal New Zealand may yet have some catching up to do.

    Hell yes. I was actually looking at Thorpe's Wikipedia article this morning. Holy heck.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    As a UK citizen (don't ask) I'm eligible to vote in the general election. Unfortunately, I missed the cut-off for a postal enrolment, which was some weeks ago. Now, thanks to the Voter Power website, I find out that it wouldn't have made a blind bit of difference anyway - my vote would only have been worth .226 of an 'average' vote.

    Which is pretty astonishingly bad.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Hell yes. I was actually looking at Thorpe's Wikipedia article this morning. Holy heck.

    Holy heck indeed. Although, this is one of the most charming sentences I've read recently:

    Norman Scott, a former male model, met Thorpe in 1961 while working as a stable lad.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    That's partly down to one of the quirks of the British system -- TV and radio advertising are banned during the campaign.

    During the campaign? You mean permanently.

    And not just election broadcasts, any political broadcasts. The ban was determined by the House of Lords to appropriately prohibit advertising by a group hoping to raise awareness of the plight of great apes. The ban is in the following terms:

    ... an advertisement contravenes the prohibition on political advertising if it is–

    (a) an advertisement which is inserted by or on behalf of a body whose objects are wholly or mainly of a political nature;

    (b) an advertisement which is directed towards a political end; or

    (c) an advertisement which has a connection with an industrial dispute.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3211 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    my vote would only have been worth .226 of an 'average' vote.

    Which is pretty astonishingly bad.

    Quite. It's hard to believe that this isn't talked about more there. And there have been some estimates that had the Lib Dems with almost the same number of votes as the Tories -- but something like a hundred fewer seats. It's crazy to us MMP sorts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Quite. It's hard to believe that this isn't talked about more there. And there have been some estimates that had the Lib Dems with almost the same number of votes as the Tories -- but something like a hundred fewer seats.

    Um... you could argue that the big beneficiaries of the craziness have been Labour. Comparing the seat numbers to the share of the popular vote, 2005 was the general election in my lifetime where Labour wasn't massively "over-represented" (mostly, but not wholly, to the detriment of the LibDems). Which makes me wonder why the Tories aren't actually more enthusiastic about some form of PR.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I think it’s fair to say that no party has really suffered more under the FPP system that the now Lib-Dems and their predecessors the SDP and Liberals. But the real point of this note is to draw your attention to another bit of British electoral history. Could it really be true that the fate of David Steel and the Liberal party has finally undermined by a puppet ?

    But oh boy what a puppet.....

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The tories would rather take a turn at power than share. As would labour. Not to mention that having two right wing parties take turns ensures the real left is locked out.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    The Jeremy Thorpe case did at least have one happy pay off - this classic satire on the judge's summing up from Peter Cook:


    Loved that Charlie Brooker piece Giovanni linked to - I get a similar vacant vibe off Cameron. Just a sense of not a lot there in terms of conviction.

    He doesn't give me the same bad impression Blair did - the first time I saw a clip of Blair speaking I felt the hair on the back of my neck go up and I said to whoever I was with 'this bloke's a total charlatan'.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Oh and my pick is for the Conservatives to have an absolute majority, but not much of one - 15-20 seats.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Loved that Charlie Brooker piece Giovanni linked to - I get a similar vacant vibe off Cameron. Just a sense of not a lot there in terms of conviction.

    It's probably my small-c conservatism kicking in, but is that a bad thing? American politics is full of people who are ten pounds of "convictions" in a five pound bag -- unfortunately, they should be of the criminal kind and so seldom are.

    In a funny way, that's what I like about Obama -- I may disagree with him on policy specifics more often than not, but I like a man who is carefully and pragmatically engaged with the world as it is, rather than some Matrix-like construct.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    It's probably my small-c conservatism kicking in, but is that a bad thing? American politics is full of people who are ten pounds of "convictions" in a five pound bag -- unfortunately, they should be of the criminal kind and so seldom are.

    Yeah, I'm a small c conservative on these things as well.

    But I wasn't really talking about ideology or even specific policies, (or even their absence); just about watching the guy's eyes. Which is why I used the term 'vibe'.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I was briefly in Cologne this last weekend and one thing that struck me was that the German political parties have put up far more posters for their upcoming NRW state (Lander?) 9 May election than I've seen in London during the entire election period.

    Outside of the Tory bill boards I haven't seen any other posters, although admittedly I do live in a safe Tory electorate. I do however spend a lot of time in areas that are also marginal electorates, so not sure what is going on there

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    This morning, Morning Report has done two UK general election-related stories. I've learned:

    1) Nick Clegg is really sexy.
    2) Brown isn't., but he is the son of a preacher man.
    3) David Cameron went to Eton, boo hiss.
    4) The polls are really close.
    5) Nobody has a clue what the fuck 4) actually means.
    6) Apparently, nobody has any actual policies worth mentioning.
    7) Every mention of the Conservatives must be prefaced with "right-wing", but Labour and the Lib Dems are so righteous no tag is necessary.

    This is worth "saving"?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The New Statesman website has this 23 year-old party political broadcast featuring John Cleese explaining proportional representation (which actually appears to be preferential voting):

    But the punchline is stark enough:

    It took 40,000 voters to elect a Labour MP, only 33,000 to elect a Conservative and it took ten times that number -- 340,000 voters -- to elect one Social Democrat or Liberal MP.

    The same page also shows a current Daily Mail front page seeking to sow panic about a hung Parliament. That newspaper really is something else.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Cameron appears to be losing the "pink" vote at a rate of knots.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    New TNS BRMB poll: Con 33% (-1) Lib Dem 29% (-1), Lab 27% (nc)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The same page also shows a current Daily Mail front page seeking to sow panic about a hung Parliament. That newspaper really is something else.

    To be fair Russell, we are talking about the Daily Mail. I have no expectations of the particular rag, and am never disappointed.

    But I've got to say I'm severely underwhelmed by this from the Guardian: Could the Conservatives steal this election? I thought Comment is Free was supposed to be elevating the standard of on-line political discourse.

    EDITED: To redact unfair poke at Martin Kettle who, of course, doesn't edit or write the headlines on the Guardian/CIF website.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I couldn't believe that plonker Sean Plunkett interviewed someone from the Torygraph for a view on the british election.

    Mind you my Scottish work colleague informed me yesterday that the BBC did a piece on NZ on how we handle "hung" parliaments and they interviewed that tower of considered opinion Rodney Hide, so I guess that evens the score in terms of both countries being grossly misinformed with the views of right wing halfwits.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I've got to say I'm severely underwhelmed by this from the Guardian

    Well, on the other hand, they compensate for it by making a joke that only readers of 2000AD will understand.

    Want! Flesh!

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I couldn't believe that plonker Sean Plunkett interviewed someone from the Torygraph for a view on the british election.

    Why not, Tom? I must admit that I can't really get too bent out of shape when folks from The Guarniad (which endorsed the Lib Dems) or the Times (which has endorsed the Tories for the first time in two decades) show up I'm actually more irritated with the dearth of substantive policy discussion on allegedly high quality public radio, but if you want to blame the evil VRWC.I can't do a damn thing to stop you.

    But, cor, that Clegg is shaggable isn't he?

    Well, on the other hand, they compensate for it by making a joke that only readers of 2000AD will understand.

    Nah, not really. I kind of expected a rather more sober discussion of rather interesting and not entirely clear constitutional ground, without the grossly tabloid headline.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I haven't heard much talk about what seems the most likely- though perhaps unpopular- outcome: that Brown, possibly with less than 30% of the vote, could fluke another term as PM (granting the Lib-Dems a referendum and, say, the Exchequer).
    It seems the most likely simply because the Lib-Dems don't look as centre as they used to: in many ways (Europe, nukes) they look to the left of Labour.
    It would be a curious government- Brown would have to eat a lot of humble pie for it to work (he's been practicing). Yet it still seems more likely than either a Tory majority or a Tory/LibDem arrangement.
    What is the precedent- does the Queen ask the party with the most seats to try to form a govt first- or is it open slather horse-trading and deal-making as soon as votes are counted and no party has a majority?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    ...does the Queen ask...

    Having the Queen involved is just for show, right? Right?

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The New Statesman has a final poll of polls.

    Share of vote:

    Conservative 37%
    Labour 28%
    Lib Dems 28%

    Which they say would translate thus:

    Conservative 299 seats
    Labour 233 seats
    Lib Dems 86 seats.

    Perhaps the years under MMP have addled my faculties, but that seems completely crazy to me. And obviously, neither the Conservatives or Labour have any interest in changing it.

    That leaves Tories 27 seats short of a majority, btw.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    What is the precedent- does the Queen ask the party with the most seats to try to form a govt first- or is it open slather horse-trading and deal-making as soon as votes are counted and no party has a majority?

    I dont' think anyone really knows -- which is the problem (if it is a problem) with an unwritten constitution. Don't see haging on for grim death working for either Brown or Clegg (who did say he wasn't going to prop Labour up if they came third in the popular vote).

    But, after Brash's downright idiotic toy-throwing after the '05 election, there's something familiar and depressing about stuff like this. And some of the stuff on Twitter with a #torycoup hashtag is downright scary Teabagger craziness. (Anyone threatening to burn London down only deserves this response: "can I start with your house?")

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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