The BBC reports:
…the BBC is predicting … the Tories as the largest party.
Labour cannot now win a majority, but it is not clear which party will be in a position to form a government.
Tory leader David Cameron said it was “clear that the Labour government has lost its mandate to govern”.
Current totals, just after 7:30 AM BST — 326 needed to win outright: Conservatives=285; Labour=234; Lib Dems=50; small parties make up most of the rest.
It would seem Mr Cameron is quite right, for…
…With most results in, the Lib Dem vote is up 0.9% on 2005, Labour down 6.5% and the Conservatives up 4%…
That may not seem like a big “swing,” but this country is a far more “tribal” in voting pattern that is the U.S. Americans’ voting is more “fluid”: it will often swing between parties far more readily, and many Americans claim to be “independents”.
In contrast, there are millions of British who would NEVER vote for a party other than the one they were raised with. Indeed, Stalin could be reincarnated to lead the Labour party, and that party would still probably hold on to quite a base of support among Labour voters nationwide.
So getting “change” here in Britain is far more of a challenge than in the States. But based on the high turnout and vote swing nationwide, this country “voted” for the Conservatives overall last night. Or at least, for David Cameron — as even the Guardian grudgingly admits:
…By comparison with anyone else, though, David Cameron’s performance has been brilliant. That 6.9% swing needed to take power is a huge ask…
But because of its uneven districting system, which has seen the rise of a multitude of Labour seats with fewer voters than Tory seats (what some are styling the return of “rotten boroughs”), Labour is granted the illusion that every seat is equal. But they are not: generally, there are more Conservative voters in Conservative districts than Labour voters in Labour ones.
If there needs to be “electoral reform,” what needs first to be done is to apportion representation in first-past-the-post districts equally by population. Regardless of the reason, the country wakes up this morning to Gordon Brown as prime minister, although given that he no longer leads the largest party, that cannot last in “old” form. The main question now appears to be, what cobbled together “coalition” comes together?
Ironically, voters claimed to be furious beyond belief at the corrupt edifice that was the Labour Government. It was down to 25% in polls. Yet by not kicking out (or being unable to kick out) Labour entirely, they have assured themselves of a period of deal-making and “corruption” in which small parties are “promised” all sorts in return for “coalition” support.
British parties don’t usually have to do “coalitions,” so this should be intriguing to watch unfold if the Conservatives do not win enough seats today plausibly to make David Cameron prime minister. Worryingly, the pound has already fallen on currency markets. If a stable Government cannot be constructed on yesterday’s vote, there will probably have to be another election within 18 months.