Note before reading, for my own ease I use the Australian term electorate. Constituency and seat seem to be the UK equivalents. Conservative Party = Tory.
I should not make light of our freedom to vote and choose our political leaders and parties. People fight and die for such a right in our world and we at times take it for granted. It is my democratic duty and the law tells me I must vote and vote I do. I would still do so if I wasn't compelled. As Carol in Cairns wrote, you can hardly complain about governments if you don't vote.
I don't understand the US electoral system. It seems complicated with electoral colleges, primaries, chads and goodness knows what else. In Australia we received saturation coverage of US elections and I quickly tire of hearing about it for what seem like very long months.
Not so the UK elections. There is minimal reporting here and our media only gets stuck into it for a few days at most. The system is similar to ours although the House of Lords, the equivalent of our Senate, is not elected. Local party members for each seat get together and vote on a candidate for the seat they are contesting and that person is put forward to represent the party and for the public to choose to vote for or not, probably preferring another party's candidate. Some will vote personally for a candidate, some will vote for the represented party.
The Guardian website had this terrific live vote counting interactive map, constantly being updated as results became known. I am not sure how this will appear once published as I am not very experienced with screen grabs, but any of you can see Scotland up top with all that yellow of the Scottish Nationalist Party blitzing almost all parties. A tiny blob of red shows Labour retaining one seat, Edinburgh South and the Conservatives in blue only just retaining one seat in the south of Scotland. They grey areas when I took this snapshot were undecided seats. See the red mass in the north east of England? That is where R comes from, solid Labour. Good to see John Gray of Wales lives in a red mass too, with only a few Welsh seats in the colour blue.
What else is there to note? See out to the right of London, the small purple bit? That is the anti immigration and anti European UKIP's only seat. It seems they lost a seat somewhere, perhaps to the steam rolling Scottish Nationalist Party. I love that the winning seat electorate is called Clacton. It sounds like the perfect place for UKIP supporters. But I am not at all snooty about UKIP. With something like 4,000,000 votes, the major parties need to have a good close look at why UKIP has such high support, even though it only won one seat in the first past the post voting system. I suspect it is from those left behind in the economic growth, those who are mixed into the social problems that can arise from high and unfettered immigration and so forth. The unlikeable and now former leader of UKIP makes a very good point that the system is unfair when UKIP won 13% of the votes but only one seat.
Now, what are those two odd colours out on the south coast of England? A Labour red in Hove next to Brighton. Well the workers for the wealthy pleasure seekers in Brighton have to live somewhere. And look next to that? Brighton itself! All those homosexuals and leftist arty types voted Green and gave the Greens its only seat. Hmm, wonder who I am thinking of now! While the Green vote is less than half the Green vote in Australia, it has increased in this election.
The surprising result saw the resignation of party leaders for Labour, Liberal Democrats and United Kingdom Independence Party with current Tory Prime Minister David Cameron doing surprisingly well.
On a local political note, it was sad to see Australian Green's leader, Senator Christine Milne retire from parliament this week. She has done very well as party leader after taking over from Bob Brown. I watched her address the National Press Club and take questions afterwards and she was brilliant. She should go into politics I thought. We she did, some twenty five years ago. Like many Tasmanian Greens including her party predecessor, she had been arrested and gaoled for environment protest action. Australian politics will be the poorer for her future absence. Thank you Christine.
The address should be available for Australian's to view very soon at http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/national-press-club-address/ Photo from News Limited.