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Reading the Tea Leaves in Brittain

May 6, 2010

The parliamentary elections in the UK this week hold some lessons for us. As a long time observer of the British system, I have a perspective I’m going to share.

Their parliamentary system is different from our presidential system. I made a few comments about that in The Role of Parties last summer. What their election does show, however, is something about the way their electorate is feeling.

As of earlier today, the Sun reported exit polls that indicated no clear majority:  the Tories with 305 seats, Labour 255 and the Liberal Democrats just 61. The Conservatives would still be shy about 21 seats and would have to form a ruling coalition with the Liberal Democrats.

This evening (early morning there) election returns themselves indicate the Tories may have pulled off an outright victory as Labour could lose up to 100 seats and the Liberals didn’t do as well as expected.

What does that mean on this side of the Atlantic?

The Labour Party, led by Gordon Brown, is the model of labor union-led social democrats that Obama and left emulate. The UK’s financial situation is arguably worse than ours and their population more socialist. Such a defeat ought to concern the Democrats: it is Labour’s worst showing since the 1930s.

The Conservatives are not really US conservatives–at least, not reflective of US grassroots conservatives. They are, by our standards, quite centrist. They are perhaps what the Republican Party had become under George Bush. Notice that although they are ahead, if they win outright it will not be by much. Not great news for the GOP establishment.

The Liberal Democrats bear some explaining: this party started during the 1980s and has aspired to either become a viable third party or at least become a power broker. They are liberal in the classic liberal tradition of Locke, our Founders and the liberty movement. They didn’t do as well as expected but are a marginally viable third party in a two-party system. A mixed bit of news for the liberty movement in this country.

Overall, it shows what both parties here have known for some time: the left is likely to get creamed this fall and the GOP and the tea parties are unstoppable if they can stick together.

For the survival of the Republic and the Constitution, we must remain united.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2010 10:53 pm

    I think you’re spot on. The left here (there) in Colorado is acting blithely as if the unaffiliated are just the same old unpredictables as in 2008. We’ve now seen the fundraising numbers and my fave candidates for state Senate, Tim Leonard and Owen Hill just took the top two spots. Government employees today are in the DP clammering for pay raises, and even their Dem Gold Dome patrons are telling them to back off.

    Britain is very encouraging, because frankly, they were getting so nanny-state/bully-state, I was about to write them off, as in forever. Funny how Brown’s hot mike remark had such legs.

    Now we see Greece, and the Germans, etc. telling them to get under control. Those protesters reminded me of the teachers union members in Colorado. Greece should really be a reminder to us about how a civilization can go down the tubes, and for how long you can stay down the tubes. They should be happy they were even admitted to the EU.

    Glad to see a CO blogger able to bring some foreign perspective to his readers. I try to do this a bit with Mexico. I’m about to return to your previous post and add a little commentary about the non-Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo, that just made the news in Cali.

    I just noticed you added me to your blog roll. Thank you very much. I’m appreciative and flattered.

  2. May 7, 2010 6:22 am

    Thanks again! It is getting worse in the UK:Brown is refusing to step down.

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