Wednesday, May 26, 2010
So now that the UK General Election has finally been settled, now that the coalition government has been formed, Gordon Brown's left Number 10, and The Queen's given her speech to the House of Lords - let me finally shift my hard focus from British politics back to the good old stuff that made this blog what it is: semi-psychotic ramblings about how the world is against me, and other American topics.
However, before I treat the blogosphere to that literary pleasure, one last thing about the election across the sea....
Did anybody else get a bit teary when Gordon said goodbye to Downing Street? I suddenly felt awful about the way everybody in the media picked on his prickly exterior and sour face. And I was one of them. It didn't really hit me until his resignation speech was over, and he reemerged from Number 10 with his two little boys and his wife. It was the kids that did it to me. He'd thanked them in his speech, John and Fraser. But I had no idea they'd be so small. They were actually kids. I was expecting a couple of Prince Williams or something. Instead their tininess made me think - "Oh no! This is so unfair! You can't let this guy resign! He's got two little blond-haired Scottish lads to look after! AND he can only see out of one eye! You heartless bastards... look what you've done to him!"
Goes to show what TV does to you. My how easily I'm swayed.
And then that whole humiliation afterward, having to motor over to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to Her Majesty, only to be tailed by David Cameron, his car idling in the drive, waiting to do exactly the opposite.
Perhaps the question I should be asking is, "Did anybody else out there stay glued to BBC.com's live streaming coverage of post-election events for the amount of time I did?" I have a sad feeling I know the answer. If unlike the author of this blog you've got a full-time job, a life, or a reason to be out of doors during daylight hours, the answer is hopefully, "no." Followed by, "There was an election at sea? What?"
What can I say? I can no longer fight who I am. I stay up late watching episodes of "Yes Minister" on Netflix. One day the events of my home country will spark enough interest for a blog entry. Until then, I battle the misshapen brain of the most extreme breed of American Anglophile -- someone whose fervor for English culture might have won him some degree of respect in the late nineteenth century, but whom Oscar Wilde would have still lampooned in one of his plays.
Friday, May 7, 2010
So, this is where I feel like a stupid American. (And I know I'm only just a little slow.) For all my claiming to understand the differences between the UK and America, and all the effort I seem to have put into that study - I have to say I really don't get the British parliamentary system. Especially after the freaking shambles that occurred after Thursday's UK general election. Not a hanging chad in sight, and yet the country still has no elected leader, no cabinet, nobody sitting in the House of Commons - and backdoor deals are going on to figure out where the country's going to get all these things. Silly American me: I thought the party with the most votes wins.
Apparently not. The Conservative Party won the majority of seats. However, they didn't win an "ABSOLUTE MAJORITY," and that makes all the difference. They're not permitted to take the reigns of power. They can only do so if their total number of seats outnumbers the total number of seats won by all the other parties put together. Now all three major parties (Labour, Conservative and Lib Dems) must make some kind of coalition deal, some sort of power-sharing agreement that will give one faction a quasi-absolute majority. Until then The House of Commons remains empty and Parliament remains "hung." (No jokes please, they're British.) Nick Clegg, the Lib Dems' leader, seems to be holding all the cards here. The two bigger parties need to gain his alliance before a Cabinet and government can be formed.
I know this sounds silly and American, but why can't the Brits just vote for whoever they want to be Prime Minister? Why has this system been allowed to survive? It's prompted Gordon Brown to resign office - following pressure not just from the British political factions, but from the IMF, European Commission and the heads of the EU. Until Britain has a government, the whole of Europe, and the already sickly Euro, are feeling a little queasy.
Plus all the other weird stuff I learned about through this election. Like, the fact that the Prime Minister has to dissolve Parliament in the run-up to every election, and he gets to set the election date. What the --? Dudes, you're making it way too hard on yourselves. Can't you just use November? Can't you just have hanging chad issues and widespread election fraud like we do?