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Hail, Brittaina

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OK, can one of you chaps break this down for me, a benighted Yank?

Is Brown definitely out?

Is that good or bad?

I've heard that if there's no clear winner, the queen gets to name the new Prime Minister. Is that true, and is she a Brown supporter? Could she name him, even though his party went down to ignominious defeat?

Is everyone over there happy with how this is playing out?

All the news I get here is confusing.


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Okay, I'll have a stab at it.

No one party won over 50% of the seats (650) in the house of commons, so the outcome is initially unclear. Gordon Brown is the incumbent Prime Minister and his duty is to remain in office and attempt to arrange a credible government. While it is true that the Queen makes a speech announcing the new government, this is an archaic and symbolic formality. She does NOT get to choose the Prime Minister, she only gets to put her stamp on the Prime Minister who has been chosen by the people, or by the backroom deals that have been struck since the election. She is scheduled to make her speech on May 25th and although there is no time limit on how long negotiations can take, it seems that the various parties are taking that date as a deadline.

The conservatives have 306 seats. The liberals have 57, and if those two parties were to form a coalition, they would have a clear majority (over 325 seats). But there is little common ground between those two parties. The liberals, in particular, have been banging on for years about changing the voting system to 'proportional representation' so that the makeup of parliament better represents the proportions of the national vote. The conservatives are dead against this major change.

On the other hand, labour (Gordon Brown's party) has quite a lot in common with the liberals and Brown has already said he would be willing to have a referendum on electoral reform. But labour and liberals together have 315 seats, still not an outright majority, so a coalition of these two parties would be dependent on support from some of the smaller parties in order to get legislation through parliament. In either case, the new Prime Minister would most likely be the leader of the largest party of the coalition.

Wheeler-dealing is taking place behind closed doors, the liberals are the king-makers and have chosen to negotiate with the conservatives first because the conservatives have the largest vote. Both parties are making positive noises about the progress of their talks, but commentators are doubtful that they will succeed, and if they are right then the liberals will begin negotiations with labour. We await developments with interest. Labour have been progressive regarding gay equality legislation, and the liberals have always pronounced themselves gay-friendly. The conservatives, on the other hand, have not, historically, been hospitable towards homosexuals, although Mr Cameron their leader wants to drag them into the 21st century and has announced himself in favour of some degree of equality (all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others??).

Does that help?

Alternatively, the YouTube clip that Trab posted a link to above is excellent. My verbal diarrhoea above is superfluous...

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Bruin has the right of it, though I think the Queen has rather more power than she normally uses.


With two wars (that the electorate had no say in) and the economy the way it is, we need a strong (and wise) Govenment to deal with it. Gordon Brown seems to be wise and has been in Government for 13 years, whereas David Cameron wants us to hand over our piggy banks and, on Moday week, start to wear sackcloth.

I voted for Nick Clegg. :whistle:

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What a wonderful encapsulation, Rick! Thanks for that.

We, our politicians, managed the same imbecilic mistake. We allowed our manufacturing capabilities to be disassembled and sent overseas in the form of a NAFTA treaty. Our politicians told everyone this would be a great thing for our country, turning our workforce into service people using their intellectual capabilities while we left the grunt work to emerging nations, who could do it cheaper. It would be good for everyone, they proclaimed.

It never made sense to me how we'd benefit our people by taking their jobs away, giving them to people in other countries, and then telling them they needed to go back to school or otherwise train themselves to live in the twenty-first century. These were people in established jobs with families to support.

Bill Clinton has since said he made a terrible mistake, signing that act into law. I thought so from the very start. Any strong country needs a solid manufacturing base. It was that base that allowed us to prevail in WW II. We could build armaments faster and in great quantity than anyone else in the world. And we did. We had a seemingly endless supply of planes and tanks and ships and ammunition going to Europe and Asia as needed. No enemy could compete. Now, if we had to do the same thing, I guess we'd have to contract with Singapore or Guatamala for mat?riel.

"Although the U.S. total civilian employment may have grown by almost 15 million in between 1993 and 2001, manufacturing jobs only increased by 476,000 in the same time period. Furthermore from 1994 to 2007, net manufacturing employment has declined by 3,654,000, and during this period several other free trade agreements have been concluded or expanded." Wikipedia

Government has the ability to kill the spirit of a nation, or to encourage its spirit. Right now, in the U.S., wrangling between political parties is so feral that the good of the country is being forgotten in what amounts to a schoolyard, no-holds-barred scrap. It appears we only have to look at the example Rick has described of what occured in England only a few years ago to find what we should avoid, and what to expect if we don't. So far, we're failing that test.


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