Friday, May 7, 2010

Clear as the Thames

Yesterday's election obscured as much as it cleared up. David Cameron and the Conservatives won 306 seats but that is still 20 seats short of what is needed for a majority. After a day of jockeying, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats are working on some type of deal; either a coalition or some type of informal power sharing arrangement. Gordon Brown and Labour lost 91 seats and are currently on the sidelines. If the Tories and Lib Dems can't form a government then Brown as offered to work with Nick Clegg and for a Lib Lab government.

In a strange election, nobody can claim they did great. The Tories fell short of a majority, labour lost 91 seats, the Liberal Democrats momentum faded and they actually lost seats. Labour, as the current party of government, has the right to be the first to try to form a government. However Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said that the Conservatives deserve to get the first crack because they won the highest portion of the popular votes and the most seats. Cameron earlier today offered the deal to the Liberal Democrats that is currently under discussion.

That is the big news but there were several smaller stories about the election that we should note. Both former Home Secretaries, Jacqui Smith and Charles Clarke along with several other ministers lost their seats. In Northern Ireland, both of the unionist leaders lost their seats in Westminster. The Speaker was able to hold his seat and Rory Stewart won in Penrith and the Border. History was made when Caroline Lucas won the Green Party's first ever seat in Parliament when she won Brighton Pavilion.

The other big story was the confusion that reigned in some polling places. Some polling places were not prepared for the hight turnout and some voters were turned away and not allowed to vote. One of the constituencies involved was Sheffield Hallam, which is represented by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. Clegg, and his party, are the biggest supporters of electoral reform and some type of referendum on electoral reform might be their asking price.

Whatever happens, the election is sure to stretch into the weekend and possibly until the new Parliament convenes later this month.

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