UK Election 2010

So, the results are almost in, and it’s a hung parliament. It’s been an interesting one, from the TV debates to the media to the utter disgrace of the disenfrachisement of voters. I’ll put a jump here, as this seems the best place to put it, and the post is going to be fairly epic.

I’ll deal with the dishenfranchisement first. Reports came in throughout the night of chaos at the polling stations. Hundred’s of people were turned away from the polling stations at 10pm when they shut. Except some polling stations were kept open an extra 30 mins to allow people to vote. There seems to be no official procedure.

In Birmingham the returning officer locked as many people as possible in the polling station so they could vote.

At least two polling stations ran out of ballot papers. I’ll let you read that again. Ran out of ballot papers. I’m not even sure how that’s possible. You have to go to a specific polling station to vote, so the people at the polling station know exactly how many people can show up to the station, and should prepare for the maximum.

Police were called to many polling stations after people got angry at not being allowed to vote. Reports out of Sheffield (admittedly, I have no source for this, I heard in on BBC last night, I believe) that people were blocking the roads so that the ballot boxes couldn’t get from the pollin station to the counting place.

A post from jady_lady on lj: http://jady-lady.livejournal.com/99603.html shows a worrying lack of training in the system when dealing with disabled persons.

The electoral commission chair said that the system currently in use is the same as it was in the Victorian era, and it needs to be changed. I assume the investigation will lead to change. Nick Baldev, a presiding officer has laid the blame at the feet of the electorate:

“And… the absolute laziness from the elector by not joining queues when they arrive, returning at a later time only to find a longer line and re-returning at 2200 BST, which, as it clearly states, is closing time.”

Source

Now, I’m not going to completely absolve the electorate. I’m sure there were some silly people who did turn up late, because that’s how people are. I’m even going to assume some of these people knew that the polling stations shut at 10pm and assumed no one would be there. And yes, they missed the vote. That doesn’t excuse people who had to queue for over an hour and still didn’t get to vote. Or the people who had to wait longer because polling cards hadn’t showed up.

The results are:

Conservatives: 306

Labour: 258

Liberal Democrats: 57

SNP: 6

Plaid Cymru: 3

Other: 19

Here’s a good source for who got where

No party has the 326 seats needed to get a outright majority. Now, constitutionally, Gordon Brown should get first go at forming a government, making alliances with other parties. Now, in theory, Labour + Lib Dems have more votes then Con, but would need to talk with the SNP/Plaid, and possibly others to get a full majority. However, Gordon Brown has said that he will step aside, and let the Conservatives try. The Conservatives are currently talking to the Lib Dems to get a majority.

The Conservatives and LibDems are quite different in policy. The conservatives have said that they will not back down on not going into Euro, ever, and not even having a review on our nuclear deterrant, Tridant. However, he has dangled the promise of a referendum on Electoral Reform.

Electoral Reform is needed. Here’s a pie chart showing the proportion of votes to seats: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25541021@N00/4586618880/

As you can see, it’s a little off, is first past the post. Now, there has been a lot of talk that, if there is a more proportional representation of the voters, there is more chance that facist parties such as the BNP and UKIP will get a seat in Parliament. Yes, this could be a problem. But, they are ligitimate political parties. If they run, then they should get in if sufficiently voted for. As much I as I would love to silence them, they should have a chance of speaking, and then they can be shot down by people in the parliament. This is a democracy, after all.

136 of the 627 MPs elected are women, including the first ever Green party MP ( Caroline Lucas), and the 2nd youngest MP, at the age of 26 (Bridget Phillipson)

Also, the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, got humilated at the polls with a huge defeat.

On a lighter note, quotes from the election night/day after coverage:

“The Queen, she’s kind of like Heineken lager in our election: she can reach areas of the constitution others can’t.

Context: Nick Clegg has just made a speech saying that as the Tories should get first dibs at a Gov, as they got the most seats. Reporter then turns to a former leader of the libdems.

“So, does that mean the LibDems have chosen Tories?” “No, they haven’t, the people have-did you miss the election results?” Utter brilliant.

“We’re going to have to interrupt you here-we can see Nick Clegg’s car!” “Yes, that’s worth interrupting for.”

Joan Collins: “I think Dave Cameron has a presidential look.” Good job he’s not running for president then 😛

Lord Ashdown: “The country has spoken, we don’t know what they’ve said.”

Michael Portillo: “My name has become synonymous with eating a bucket load of shit in public” Portillo lost with a huge swing of 17.4% in the votes away from him in the 1997 election. The journalists (and Portillo himself) were waiting to see if the same would happen to a Labour seat now.

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