Friday, April 30, 2010

British Politics

I admit it, I love British politics. I watch "Prime Ministers Questions" avidly on C-SPAN. I don't know how many seats the Liberal Democrats have had lately, but I always assumed it was a minimal amount. Their leader, Nick Clegg, does get a chance to ask questions, and gets a follow-up as a party leader should, but his party is clearly not a large group.

Now I see in the latest issue of The Christian Science Monitor that there have been two debates among the three candidates recently and it is thought that Clegg won! As a result, the LD's are now tied with the conservatives with 32%, with Labour trailing at 28%! We think of the parliamentary system as being about ideas and policies rather than personalities, but this British election seems to be different. Clegg and Cameron come across as young and attractive, while Gordon Brown just seems like an old fuddy-duddy. And this article was written before Brown's recent gaffe, where he makes private remarks in a car not realizing his mike is still on.

With the three parties all hovering around the one-third mark, it seems inconceivable that any party will win a majority of seats in parliament. Thus, a coalition government seems inevitable. Surely it won't be the LD's with the tories, so will it be LD's with Labour, pulling the government to the left, or Labour with Tories, pulling it to the right? I can't wait to see what the election, coming up next week, will hold, and what the aftermath will be.

A blip on the screen is the British National Party. It has never won any seats, but its leader, Nick Griffin, is seen to have a chance this time, with his far-right, anti-immigrant message. and if not this time, they will surely be a force in future elections. Stay tuned!

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