07 May 2010

Just a few thoughts on the election...

...but no more, because I find it generally uninspiring:
  • I wanted a hung parliament and that's what we've got. I would have preferred a slightly different balance, as it would have made electoral reform a more likely prospect, but all in all, I'm not too disappointed. I feel that there is a reasonable chance that the Tories will try to hobble forward as a minority administration and parliament will tie it in knots, hampering its ability to force its will on the general public. If that happens then, so long as it doesn't result in another election any time soon, it will be one of the better possible outcomes.

    My only serious concern is the prospect of minor parties being bribed for support with pork barrel funding, but given the state of government's finances, the scope for offering it may be limited.

  • The spectacle of people being turned away from polling stations and angry voters holding ballot boxes hostage has the potential to rumble on. The Electoral Commission has already said it will conduct a review and I wouldn't be surprised to see one or two by-elections.

  • The success of the Greens in Brighton shows that a long, focused campaign in the right areas can yield results for smaller parties.

  • The defeat of Evan Harris left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. The situation surrounding Harris was summed up pretty well by Ben Goldacre in his Bad Science blog, prior to the election. Harris had a reputation for promoting science and evidence based policy and while I didn't agree with everything he promoted, part of the campaign against him had the kind of extreme religious anti-science tone which is don't generally associate with British politics.

  • However, the story of the night for me has to be the Alliance Party victory in Belfast East, in which they more than tripled their vote and went from third place to first, with a massive 26% swing from the DUP. I can't claim to know too much about politics in Northern Ireland, but a success for a non-sectarian candidate feels like a good thing to me. The fact the Alliance Party had a manifesto commitment to repeal the Digital Economy Act also gives me a lot of positive sentiment towards them.

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