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Old 02 April 2015, 05:08 PM
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United Kingdom UK General Election, 2015

On Monday the official campaigning for the 2015 General Election began. Polling day is 7th May - five weeks from today. Tonight is the first big set-piece event. The leaders of the seven major parties will have a debate that will be televised on all major television channels.

And there-in lies the problem of deciding what will happen on the 7th. The UK's traditional three-party system could be blown apart with the extreme right-wing UKIP set to make in-roads into Parliament. The Lib-Dems, Coalition partners with the Tories, are apparently in melt-down.

Labour should really be forging ahead as the main opposition party, but they look likely to lose many of their MPs in Scotland as the SNP, smarting from losing last year's independence vote, are making huge gains. The SNP could well end up as the third largest party.

The Conservatives cannot rest easy as UKIP are taking many of their votes and, perhaps, their seats in Parliament. Only one thing seems certain - that there will be another Coalition government. But what will it be?

Conservative/UKIP? Right wing alongside neo-Fascist. This will lurch the UK dramatically to the right and possibly out of Europe.

Labour/SNP? Labour have already said they will not have a formal coalition with the SNP, but could co-operate on a vote-by-vote basis. The UK will lurch to the left, possibly losing all of its nuclear weapons and maybe even leaving NATO.

Labour/Lib-Dems? Left alongside centre-left. But how many MPs will the Lib-Dems have after the election? They polled 21% at the last election, but are only standing at 8% in the polls at present. They could well lose more than half of their MPs.

It all makes up for a fascinating five weeks. Will tonight's debate make any difference in the opinion polls which have hardly changed for several months now? At present the BBC Poll of Polls stands at:

Labour: 34%
Conservative: 34%
UKIP: 13%
Lib-Dems: 8%
Green: 5%
Others: 6%

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/poll-tracker

And here is the BBC's index for its election coverage:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 02 April 2015 at 05:13 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02 April 2015, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
On Monday the official campaigning for the 2015 General Election began. Polling day is 7th May - five weeks from today. .
Speaking, I strongly suspect, on behalf of much of the population of the USA, where campaigning now seems to start the moment results are in and at least one official declaration has already been made for an election to be held 19 months from now:

Jealous!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
. The leaders of the seven major parties will have a debate that will be televised on all major television channels.
Also jealous.

Getting the two major ones to let even one of the others on the same stage with them is massively difficult here.
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  #3  
Old 02 April 2015, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Jealous!
Don't be too jealous - the fact that we now have fixed term parliaments means that some people are worried that US-style election campaigns are heading our way soon...

(I am completely unable to find the article I read earlier today about this).
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Old 02 April 2015, 06:36 PM
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Well that suits me fine. I land in the UK on the 8th for a week, I hope the hubub has died down by then so I can get to some serious socialising.
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  #5  
Old 02 April 2015, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Don't be too jealous - the fact that we now have fixed term parliaments means that some people are worried that US-style election campaigns are heading our way soon...

(I am completely unable to find the article I read earlier today about this).
I read the article earlier, as well. Here it is - 'The Americanisation of the UK Election'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32156264

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Originally Posted by UEL View Post
Well that suits me fine. I land in the UK on the 8th for a week, I hope the hubub has died down by then so I can get to some serious socialising.
Well, welcome on the 8th. As for the hubbub dying down ...

There will be intense negotiations between the parties as to which parties will form the next government. In 2010 there were only two options Tory/Lib-Dem or Labour/Lib-Dem. This election it is quite possible that the Lib-Dems, UKIP, the SNP or even the Greens might hold the balance of power. It is also more than possible that even two parties could not get a majority.

Can I suggest that, if possible, delay your visit until June. The weather's better then - or at least less bad.
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Old 02 April 2015, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
Can I suggest that, if possible, delay your visit until June. The weather's better then - or at least less bad.
No such luck on that front. I've been to the UK in May, and I'm not scared. I'll bring my umbrella!
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  #7  
Old 02 April 2015, 11:07 PM
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I hope you have a happy visit. Who knows? By the time you leave we might have a new government!
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  #8  
Old 03 April 2015, 11:13 PM
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The SNP's record in government here in Scotland rather belies the idea that they are particularly left-wing. They like to play up to the image (good for votes, particularly in their new favourite places Glasgow and Dundee), but what have they done that is radically different to Labour or the Lib Dems?

A Council Tax freeze that has helped the middle class people while straining services more vulnerable people rely on? A commitment to lower corporation tax? Almost taking Scotland out of the EU even quicker than Farage would dare to dream?
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Old 03 April 2015, 11:35 PM
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Well Sturgeon certainly seems to have won last night's television debate and unless something dramatic happens Labour could be all but wiped out north of the border. Sturgeon even makes the main headline in the Tory-fanatical Daily Telegraph - but only claiming that she supports Cameron. (The story appears to be untrue - how shocking, the Daily Telegraph printing a false story!)

And speaking of the television debate, one pf the BBC's North American reporters is very impressed:

Quote:
'More spirited' than US debate

BBC North America reporter Anthony Zurcher has been in the UK to describe the British election campaign for the audience in the States. And he reckons last night's fare was "much more interesting" than is served up across the pond.

"The diversity of viewpoints was refreshing; the tenor of the discussion spirited."

The writer imagines a reworked 2012 debate between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney - with the addition of "conservative populist firebrand Pat Buchanan, Libertarian Ron Paul, a Green Party candidate and pro-independence nationalists from Texas and New England"
As well as the breadth of opinions expressed I thought the debate was also helped by having three women on the panel, one of whom (Sturgeon) may well have a roll to play in the forming of the next government.
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Old 14 April 2015, 01:07 PM
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The BBC has a tongue-in-cheek handy guide to the election for non-British people - 'don't worry it's not as complicated as the rules of cricket'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32152504

The election is still very low-key. With three weeks to go the parties have been launching their party manifestos this week so we at last know what each stands for. Actually, there seems to be little in them that we didn't know.

The opinion polls have hardly changed since the turn of the year - Labour seem to be taking a small lead over the Conservatives, but not enough to get an overall majority in Parliament. Both seem to be in the mid-30s% in the polls. This should get them about 270 to 280 seats. 326 is needed for an overall majority (there are 650 constituencies.)

The extreme right wing UKIP seems to be slipping slightly, but at about 12% to 14% they will probably only get them a handful of seats, about 4 (it is thought). (One recent opinion poll gives them just 7% and puts them fifth behind the Lib-Dems and the Greens).

The Liberal-Democrats range from 8% to 12% (down from about 22% in the last election), but their vote in the seats they hold seems to be holding up better. About 30 seats is a reasonable prediction.

The Greens are getting about 4% to 7% and will do well to get more than 1 or 2 seats.

It is the Scottish National Party who may well hold the key. They are threatening to wipe out most of the Labour seats in Scotland raising the very real prospect of the UK being run by a minority Labour government supported by the SNP and - possibly - the Liberal-Democrats.
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Old 15 April 2015, 07:06 AM
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Where do the smaller parties have a chance to win seats? SNP is winning in Scotland, obviously, but where are the others based?

Does the UKIP win in former industrial areas that have lots of unemployment now (a likely base for right wing parties in Germany)? Do the Greens win in university towns or other areas where the young upper middle class is located? Is Lib-Dem strong among the older upper middle class (lawyers, doctors, self-employds), as they are in Germany?
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Old 15 April 2015, 08:58 AM
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UKIP's much more popular with retired people, so the south coast or the south east seems its best bet to me. Nigel Farage is standing in South Thanet (Kent), which is presumably the seat they feel they've got the best chance of winning. (But apparently he isn't all that popular even there). There aren't any UKIP MPs at the moment to say where they'd be popular, and their popularity in the European elections was quite spread out.

The BNP, which were much more overtly right-wing and racist were popular in the areas you suggest UKIP might be popular, but they were also more connected with the working class. UKIP is a lot more middle-class than it likes to pretend, and when you look at its policies they're not really as friendly to dispossessed former industrial areas as you might think.

At the moment the only standing Green MP is Caroline Lucas for Brighton and Hove. Brighton is sometimes compared to San Francisco - because of its gay scene, mostly, but it's also quite liberal and hippyish in other ways. Beyond that, I'd have thought they would do best in the West Country, but I'm not really basing that on anything other than that there are a lot of hippies there too. I was considering voting Green myself, but they've not even presented a candidate in this area in past elections - they're not a big party. This year they'll be trying to get much wider coverage. A colleague of mine is standing as a Green councillor (rather than MP) in local elections in a constituency in Surrey. (Local elections usually happen alongside the general election). I'd probably vote for her as a councillor if I lived in the area.

I wouldn't expect UKIP to do at all well outside England (not that I think they'll do very well here either), but the Greens might be more generally popular in other parts of the UK.

Plaid Cymru is specifically Welsh and usually gets a fair number of seats there. They've been turning up a lot more in debates and discussions this year because the SNP have as well, I guess.

There are a lot of specifically Northern Irish parties but the two main ones, on either side of the political divide, are Sinn Féin (republicans) and the Ulster Unionists (unionists, obviously).
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Old 15 April 2015, 09:12 AM
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(Sorry, I have been spanked by Richard. I took so long over my reply and was sidetracked by the Daily Mail article I refer to later. I didn't answer Don's question about the other smaller parties, but Richard has answered that.)

That's a good question. Even though UKIP are set to get about 12% to 14% of the vote they will probably only get about 4 or 5 seats (less than 1% of the total) due to the UK's 'first past the post' system. The same problem has dogged the Liberal-Democrats who have regularly gained about 20% of the vote, but rarely more than about 8% of the seats.

There is no doubt that UKIP has got support in the industrial towns and cities of the north, taking some votes from Labour - but probably not enough to win any seats. The core UKIP vote comes from traditional Conservative voters who distrust Europe and are anti-immigration. This will probably mean that most of the seats they do gain will be in the south-east where there are a lot of disaffected Tory voters and also significant industrial areas of London where immigration has been high. Here immigrants are seen as 'taking British jobs' and putting huge strains on the NHS and the education system.

It is no coincidence that Nigel Farage is standing in Thanet (very close to London), but even here he only appears to be neck-and-neck with the Tories. Over the last few days opinion polls have shown the Conservatives gaining in support and UKIP falling. This is no coincidence.

ETA: I have just seen the latest opinion poll - published in today's Daily Mail. The Tories are up 4% and UKIP down 5%. It may also be significant that support for Labour has fallen with the Lib-Dems and Greens gaining. (Other polls over the last few days have shown both these things.)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ve-points.html

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 15 April 2015 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 15 April 2015, 10:23 AM
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Thanks, Richard and Andrew!
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  #15  
Old 23 April 2015, 11:54 PM
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It's rant time.

Tomorrow evening its the Ware hustings for the election - and all the local candidates are attending ... except our current Conservative MP, Mark Prisk. I am livid at his decision (sorry to use such a strong word). These are the only hustings in Ware and all the candidates were written to in January asking which dates they could not make. None of them put down the 24th April. They were told of the date in February and then reminded again a few weeks ago.

Then, lo and behold, just before the hustings Prisk writes to the organisers and says he can't attend be cause he has just been invited to a private Conservative function he felt he could not get out of.

Due to Britain's ridiculous 'first past the post system' he has an inbuilt majority and is certain to be re-elected, but he should still have the guts to come and face the electorate, to justify his voting history, his lack of support for Ware issues, his knowledge of current Ware issues and to outline his intentions for the coming Parliament - should he be re-elected.

I sincerely hope he doesn't, but people round here would vote for a dead hamster if it had a blue rosette on.

OK, rant over. Carry on.
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Old 24 April 2015, 12:37 AM
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I have no idea what's going on because Sandi Toksvig is out and the Radio 4 Friday Comedy podcast won't even play the Now Show. Instead they're playing Dead Ringers - a bunch of disembodied voices I'm sure I would recognize if Sandi could only imitate them better.
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Old 24 April 2015, 05:17 PM
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One of the big issues of the election so far has been the question of immigration. The United Nations has now stepped in to complain about the language of hatred used in the UK's extreme right-wing tabloid press. The Sun comes in for special criticism. It is owned by News Corporation, who also own The Times and used to own the News of the World before it was closed down following mass tapping of private phones.

The Sun, in Katie Hopkins' columns, has called immigrants 'cockroaches' and said they are like 'norovirus on a cruise ship'. She has also called for gunships to be used against immigrant boats. The UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein went so far as to say that the language used was similar to that used in the Nazi media.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32446673

I've never heard of this Katie Hopkins, but she really does seem like a racist bigot. Personally I'm glad that someone with influence has begun to criticise the UK's right-wing - often extreme right-wing - press. I bet this story will not make the front pages of either the Sun or any other right-wing paper in the UK.
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Old 24 April 2015, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
I have no idea what's going on because Sandi Toksvig is out and the Radio 4 Friday Comedy podcast won't even play the Now Show. Instead they're playing Dead Ringers - a bunch of disembodied voices I'm sure I would recognize if Sandi could only imitate them better.
Ah, Sandi. The third-best thing to come out of Denmark (after bacon and Lego). I don't know if you get Radio 4's excellent News Quiz/News Quiz Extra, but that will give you a rather bizarre idea of what is going on. Sadly, the recent series has just finished.

All you really need to know is:

1. The SNP will wipe out both Labour and the Lib-Dems in Scotland.

2. The main parties have given up on Scotland and are just concentrating on England - with all of them saying that the SNP will not be allowed to dictate on English-only laws.

3. The extreme right-wing UKIP look like coming third in the popular vote, but will only get six seats at most (and probably fewer).

4. The Lib-Dems will probably lose over half of its seats, but may still have a say in any coalition.

5. It is looking as if no two parties (even Labour and the SNP) will be able to form a government with an overall majority. We might even end up with a minority government or a 'rainbow' coalition of three or more parties. My favourite would be Labour/Lib. Dems in a formal coalition with the SNP as unofficial partners.

You do realise that the whole of the UK is looking to UEL to sort out the mess. If you'd like to come and help ganzfeld then you'd be most welcome.

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 24 April 2015 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 24 April 2015, 07:16 PM
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You do realise that the whole of the UK is looking to UEL to sort out the mess. If you'd like to come and help ganzfeld then you'd be most welcome.
I can't speak for ganzfield, but I'm busy with other stuff. Besides, Canada already donated a Mark Carney to sort out your finances. Haven't we done enough?

I'm still in the UK following the election, though. I might tip a pint and think of you as the tabloids dissect the victories and defeats.
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Old 24 April 2015, 10:54 PM
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Mark Carney has been mentioned in the elections. People have complained about people with 'non-dom' status who don't pay UK taxes. One candidate - Labour I think - said 'even the Governor of the Bank of England has non-dom status.'

Er ... yes. I think he has a good excuse for being 'non-dom'.
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