Some random observations on the United Kingdom's 2015 General Election.
The consensus so far seems to be that the opinion polls, including those of election eve, which showed support for the Conservatives and Labour nearly tied at about 33% each, were erroneous in part because: 1) many voters decided or perhaps changed their minds at the last minute and 2) the "Shy Tory" phenomenon was well and truly in play, i.e., the tendency, noted since the 1990s, for opinion polls to under count Conservative voters; or, to put it another way, the tendency for some Conservative voters being, apparently, rather ashamed to admit their intention. Hmmmm.
For all the problems with the UK's first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system, almost exactly four years to the day before the 2015 General Election, the UK's voters rejected in a national referendum the alternative vote (AV) as a substitute. As BBC presenter Jonathan Dimbleby said following this week's election, electoral reform probably has a "cat's chance in hell," at least in the near future, because, for the most part, the status quo electoral system suits the two main parties.
It seems to me that the Liberal Democrats' cry for electoral reform has been almost non-existent in the 48+ hours following the election (which, incidentally, had the hashtag #GE2015 on social media). FPTP disadvantaged them yet again, but maybe they've been given some pause by the fact that FPTP disadvantaged UKIP even more. (UKIP's share of the national vote increased from 3% in 2010 to 13% in 2015.)
The total number seats in the House of Commons held by gay, lesbian, and bisexual MPs—across various parties, of course—is greater than the number of seats held by Liberal Democrats.
The ironies of the election's outcome include that now Prime Minister David Cameron has to push forward a referendum he doesn't really want but committed to earlier in order to blunt a the surge he saw among UKIP, a party that's now a weakened factor insofar as Cameron, having won (to his own surprise it seems) an outright majority, need not face the decision of whether or not to enter into a coalition with UKIP.
I suspect he'll move very quickly to negotiate a deal with the EU.
While I don't entirely agree with his rather simplistic assessment, Roger Cohen of The International New York Times in his 8th of May column, writes:
The fear Cameron instilled in voters was twofold. The first element consisted in saying that the substantial economic progress made by Britain over the past five years — gains that have turned it into the fastest-growing major advanced economy — would be reversed by a Labour victory. The second was to suggest that if Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader, did reach Downing Street he would be hostage to a surging Scottish National Party whose objective is to break up Britain.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) landslide—a tsunami of SNP yellow—obliterated the Labour Party in Scotland, and well as the Liberal Democrats, and will make it very hard for Labour to ever see itself governing again with an outright majority anytime in the near future, perhaps ever.
I think the last word deserves to go to British comedian John Finnemore. His brilliantly hilarious monologue on "The Vote Now Show" post-election episdoe on BBC Radio 4 is a must-hear. It begins at 17m:16s, but the whole episode is great: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05wpwcn