May 06, 2005

UK Election

I was just hanging on the edge of my seat for ... the outcome everybody expected. Labour's still in charge, but with somewhere around 100 fewer seats than they had before. Apparently the British public were a lot less forgiving about getting virtually everything about the war grievously wrong, with Labour losing big among Muslim constituencies. The falsely accused George Galloway even snatched a seat from Labour on the Respect Party ticket, from the BBC article:

Mr Galloway, who based his campaign on opposition to the Gulf war, said: "This is for Iraq."

He told Tony Blair: "All the people you have killed, all the lies you have told have come back to haunt you and the best thing the Labour Party can do is sack you tomorrow morning." ...

Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos was invited over to contribute to the Guardian election blog and cover the election from the ground, and he joined a well-picked cast of political journalists who've put up quite the buffet of cool British election tidbits.

Kos wrote a piece in the Guardian about the state of gay equality in the UK, a country where even the more conservative Tory party is completely accepting of gays in response to overwhelming public opinion. He also links to another Guardian column by Simon Shama highlighting in a classically deadpan fashion the differences between UK and US elections. This article even managed to vicariously crack up my colleagues at the school paper, because when I told them what I was laughing at ('some story about the British elections'), they found that just hilarious:

... There then followed what in America would be called the Stump Speech, except that "stump" with its evocation of cigar-pulling downhome wisdom, cookie-bake homilies and a feverish orgy of babykissing, isn't really mid-Kent. To rapt silence, broken only by aldermanic murmurs of assent, the SBL [Slightly Beloved Leader] painted an apocalyptic picture of a New Labour Britain - Blade Runner with tea - in which pensioners no longer feel free to go to the shops in safety, where MRSA pullulates in hospitals unchecked by Matron, where a critical swab shortage holds up urgent surgery, a Britain where the police are doomed to standing around on street corners sucking on pencils as they complete interminable questionnaires while platoons of drunken yobs, Shauns of the Undead, run amok in the high street, pillaging Starbucks and sacking Boots.

... Most wondrous of all, perhaps, is the conspicuous absence in British hustings rhetoric of the one campaign helper without whose assistance no American candidate can possibly hope to prevail, namely God. But then the election is being held in a country where, unlike the US, it is assumed that Darwinian evolution is actually incontestable scientific fact, rather than just a wild hunch that has to compete with creationism for space in textbooks and lessons. The G word finally got uttered in the Lib-Dems' last press conference before the election. "So, Charles, do you think you'll be making another run as leader in 2009?" "God - and my colleagues and constituents willing," Kennedy cheerfully replied, invoking the deity with no more theological conviction than if someone had sneezed and he'd said, "God bless you." And he would, wouldn't he? On parade at the press conference were all the virtues of his party and leadership: disarming honesty, cornflake-crisp optimism; milk-of-human-kindness concern for, inter alia, pensioners, students, the landscape of Britain and doubtless the Scotties and red deer that roam it. ...

According to this MyDD post, the projections are Tories up 36, Lib Dems up 8. But those are only the projections, and the British will actually follow them up by counting all the ballots.

Two hundred years and counting. We got North America (okay, most of it, sorry Canada), they're inheriting the democracy and modernity. That sounds like an extreme comment on its face, but we've put evolution on trial again, a church in North Carolina has excommunicated all its Democrats, the growing Christian Dominionist movement gets freakier sounding by the day, and the media finds the tolerant controversial and the bigoted acceptable.

Anyway, this report has been brought to you from one of the somewhat saner corners of the future Republic of Gilead. God save the Queen.

Posted by natasha at May 6, 2005 12:16 AM | International | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |