Friday, May 07, 2010

U.K. election aftermath

Update (Friday 5:40 p.m.) below.

The general election result in a nutshell:


It's the result everyone expected, a hung parliament. Liberal Democratic leader Nick Clegg is giving the Tories first shot at forming a government:
Now we're in a very fluid political situation with no party enjoying an absolute majority.

As I've said before it seems to me in a situation like this, it's vital that all political parties, all political leaders, act in the national interest and not at narrow party political advantage.

I've also said that whichever party gets the most votes and the most seats, if not an absolute majority, has the first right to seek to govern, either on its own or by reaching out to other parties.

And I stick to that view. It seems this morning that it's the Conservative party that had more votes and more seats but not an absolute majority.

And that is why I think it is now for the Conservative party to prove that it is capable of seeking to govern in the national interest.
Looks like he's giving them their shot, at least to see what they're going to propose. Maybe he won't go along ultimately but that's hard to see. He's handed Cameron a lot of legitimacy with his formulation above (when he didn't really have to according to the Whitehall rules). How Clegg would then go ahead and play the two off against each other now would be a stretch, his own hand is weak as a result of his poor showing. There are rumblings that Labour is viewing this as the beginning of discussions, not the end but that sounds optimistic. We'll see, what else can you say. You never know what might happen, David Cameron is up this afternoon with some kind of statement about what he proposes to do, he's not likely to blow it but stranger things have happened during this election, there might yet be twists and turns.

It was a fun night, maybe a bit too much time on the computer, thus the short post. Looks like it'll carry on for a few more days at least.

And P.S. Nick Clegg really is an insufferable wanker, in my humble opinion. I just hope we don't have to hear too much from him in coming days:)

Update (5:40 p.m.): From the very intelligent readers we get:
Just read your post on the British election. Yes, fun indeed, and if you, too, were watching the BBC, you must have been struck by how civilized it all was, and how INTELLIGENT for the most part, and how knowledgeable about history and the constitution. Some interviewers were pushing the moral right of the party with the most seats to have the first shot at forming a government, but almost every interviewee, no matter what political stripe, defended or at least mentioned the constitutional right of Gordon Brown to be given the first shot instead. And I loved the comments on the Queen not
wanting to be bothered until 1 pm today. Nobody would just pick up the phone to talk to her when he felt like it.

My election-watching goes back to 1959 in Britain (as an au pair) when Macmillan won and father Richard Dimbleby, the "royal" reporter who had handled the coronation, was in charge. This time the setup of the broadcast and the technical whizardry was awesome.

My blistering letter to the G&M regarding coalitions in Canada is in my Drafts file and will be fired off if/when the Queen appoints the UK PM based on a coalition and nobody cries "coup".