UK Election Primer

Thursday is the 2015 UK General Election the first full blown election in Britain since May 2010. All signs lead to a hung parliament and a variety of scenarios as to who gets to form the next government and how. The underlying theme of the election has been the collapse of the long-dominant left-wing Labour Party in Scotland in favor of the even more left-wing Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) who advocates Independence for the Scottish nation. The new SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has become a sensation and a hero on the left even in England where the SNP will not contest any seats.

Labour however does appear poised to win back several seats from the governing Conservatives (Tories) and the center-left Liberal Democrats in the London area. Combined with Labour’s overwhelming strength in the north of England, they might come close to ousting the conservatives as the largest party in the House of Commons. But what the SNP’s emergence means is that nobody will have a majority for the second election running and either a tenuous coalition government will be formed or another election could be called as soon as the fall of this year.

It is also notable that the Conservatives have faced a rebellion on the right from the UK Independence Party (UKIP) an anti-European Union and largely anti-immigrant right-wing party. UKIP won’t win many seats but are cutting into the Tory base in several hotly contested seats.

For those watching from the outside like those of us in Florida, UK Elections have often mirrored American ones. Harold Wilson’s 1974 victory for Labour foreshadowed Jimmy Carter’s Presidential win. Margaret Thatcher’s upset 1979 win ushered in an era of conservatism in both Britain and the US as Ronald Reagan won the next year and the two right-wing leaders terrorized the world in the 1980’s with fiscal conservatism, militarism and a largely immoral foreign policy. The current Prime Minister David Cameron, a Thatcherite Conservative ended 13 years of Labour rule in 2010 forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats that foreshadowed the disastrous 2010 conservative tide in the US.

Often UK and US elections mirror each other, something worth noting while monitoring tonight’s results.


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