Batman posts have to hold off a few days I’m afraid…
The one-line summary for Americans is that we’re reliving Bush vs Gore, and Ralph Nader has been asked to choose.
In the election this week, no party got an overall majority – this is roughly the same as not being filibuster-proof in the US system.
There are three major parties in the UK – the Conservatives, the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats. They came first, second and third, respectively, in the election, but none did well enough to form a government. The Conservatives and Labour hate each other even though there’s not really very much difference between them, so definitely won’t work together.
The Conservatives could form a government with Liberal Democrat support, and have a majority. The Labour party could form a government if it got the support of the Liberal Democrats *and* the Nationalist parties (there are parties that want Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to become separate countries. They all hate the Tories and have effectively agreed to this even without being asked) *and* the single Green MP.
The Liberal Democrats are probably closer politically to Labour than the Conservatives, but not by very much (we’re more different from either of them than they are from each other). Most Lib Dem members and voters *HATE* the Conservatives, but just dislike Labour, but some feel the other way round.
However, the Conservatives did far better than Labour in the election, and it may well be politically impossible to support Labour, because it’s clear that nobody likes the Labour government,and people *LOATHE* Gordon Brown.
However, most of *OUR* supporters probably prefer Labour to the Conservatives, and would feel betrayed by supporting the Conservatives (including myself unless we got an *astonishingly* good deal).
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, though, is rumoured to be closer to the Conservatives.
One of the most important things we’ll be arguing for is a fairer voting system. The Conservatives *won’t* let us have this. Labour *might* – but they’re after a different system instead, which we don’t like. The Nationalists etc would side with us on this.
Nick Clegg can’t make a deal without the agreement of both the Federal Executive of the party *AND* the MPs – if he doesn’t get that agreement then he has to call a party conference to decide.
We’re not, however, a very large party compared to the other two, so don’t have a lot of room to manoeuvre.
Interesting times lie ahead. Whatever happens, a lot of people are going to be angry. Probably including me.