Saturday, May 8, 2010

no taxation w/o representation

Unbelievably depressed by UK election results. I really thought the Liberal Democrats could pull it off this time - get a number of seats that was something like representative of their percentage of the vote. Instead it's the same old same old: Tories 306 (36%), Labour 258 (29%), Lib Dems 57 (23%(!)). John Lanchester pointed out that the Tories, on 36.2 % of the vote, get only about 308 seats, minority of 34*, while Labour got 35.2% of the vote in 2005, 355 seats and a majority of 66. But frankly I have to wonder how many people who voted Labour last time genuinely wanted to vote Tory this time, rather than just voting Tory to get Labour out - that is, thought a Lib Dem vote was a wasted vote. And how many voted Labour, not because they actually wanted more of the same, but because they couldn't bring themselves to vote Tory and thought a Lib Dem vote was a wasted vote.

* Latest results show 306, 258, 57, Other 28.

Rafael Behr
has a different take on this: he thinks it was the Lib Dem stance on immigration that did them in. Could be.

Meanwhile, Lanchester summarises the views of Vernon Bogdanor (or possibly some other constitutional expert), to the effect that the election result is not viable. (Bogdanor, if it was Bogdanor, is an argumentative Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, and therefore someone I actually know; if all constitutional experts are like him it must have been a cutthroat debate.)

Looking on the bright side, Brighton has elected Britain's first Green MP.

Over on Language Log, Geoff Pullum points out that the meaning of PR in Britain has changed overnight.


dave said...

Lanchester: "a lifelong non-Tory"!

Helen DeWitt said...

Corrected - thereby leaving your comment incomprehensible, but so goes it. The brain is taken up with problems too tedious to mention. But, as you say, whew.

papalazarou said...

if you are depressed now wait until Clegg and Cameron finish their horsetrading. How many people voted LibDem hoping to support a Tory government? and will never do so again?

Helen DeWitt said...

I know I know I know. Where's Godot when we need him?