Friday, May 07, 2010

7 May 2010: Hung

Well, that was a mess of an election. And I don't just mean the polling station debacle, which may yet lead to legal challenges in a significant number of constituencies (although I don't know if these are marginals or not, so it may not matter, but it may).

I write this at 12.43am eastern, coming up to 6am in the UK, and it still hangs on a knife-edge as to whether the Conservatives (maybe plus some friends from Northern Ireland) will have more seats than Labour plus Lib Dem. Neither faction will have enough (predicted the BBC, whose coverage is being carried without commercial interruption by C-SPAN over here) to form a government. So, let the horse-trading begin.

There are some questions I have at this point that Dimbleby et al haven't really looked at yet: like what if LibLab happens but they also need some friends in Northern Ireland, and yet Sinn Fein (who tend to take seats that the SDLP used to take) don't sit in Westminster on principle? I suppose they're counting on Plaid and the SNP. Or what if Cameron's Ulster support isn't quite enough? Edit (7.45am): even though the LibDems were a deep disappointment after Cleggmania, it's been pointed by (by David Owen of all people) that the only way to actually get a strong government out of this is Con-Lib pact of some kind, and so it may not be quite as out-of-the-question as possible. Those two just seem so, so far apart though.

And the Green Party winning a seat in Brighton? If nothing else a triumph despite the system rather than because of it. But you know what I think of first-past-the-post. Maybe she'll have the deciding vote in the new Parliament?

Oh, and vote share of course... second in a row that no party gets over 40% of the vote.

But here's the thing for right now: already we can see that whatever happens in the next few minutes/hours/days/weeks, there will one day be another election. And tonight's weird, sometimes freakish results have left more than several constituencies suddenly as marginals that are held (mainly by Conservatives, although there are a few others) that will look very shaky if we ever get back to 'politics as usual' in the future.

And maybe that's the question: given that the really big story of the day (aside from Pompey of course) is the debt crisis spreading from Greece across various other states in the Eurozone, will there be room for politics as usual? Who's going to sort out the huge deficit that was borrowed to dig Britain out of the hole?

1am. C-SPAN just stopped their live BBC feed and probably time for me to go to sleep.

On the upside, Esther Rantzen lost her deposit.

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