For the first time since 2010, the voters of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Aka England, Britain, our former colonial masters, etc.) went to the polls to elect their House of Commons, and through that, their Prime Minister.
What exactly happened, do you ask? Here are five important things that everyone should draw from the recent UK elections.
1. What about ‘Dem Polls Doe??
Polling going into the election showed an extremely tight race. Most polling outlets predicted that there would be a hung parliament, which means that no single party gaining a majority of the seats in the House of Commons. Experts asserted that it would be hard to discern a winner from the results of the election. As it turns out, almost nothing could be further from the truth.
The Conservative Party won a majority of the House of Commons, by getting a net gain of 28 seats, a gain that almost nobody would have predicted possible before the numbers began reporting. CNN and others have raised the question about whether the world has a global polling problem, with many recent upsets in elections worldwide.
2. Cameron Remains The Big Cheese
Prime Minister David Cameron, who jolted into power in 2010 with his party’s victory in that election, will remain at No. 10 Downing Street (the Prime Minister’s house). Cameron’s Conservative Party is considerably less conservative than America’s Republicans, though Cameron has been under fire over the last five years for making cuts to the National Health Service, which is Britain’s universal healthcare system.
3. UKIP Fails, Faith in Humanity Restored (Sorta..)
As recently as in the 2014 European Union Parliamentary elections, the UKIP was seen as a rising star in United Kingdom politics. The party was unremarkable, except, of course, for its proudly held racist and ethnocentric views. In that regard it was disturbingly remarkable. Party leader Nigel Farage went as far as to publicly suggest that, “any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door.”
The party openly condemned multiculturalism, and supported other nonsense that attracted a frightening number of voters. Thankfully, the people of Britain kicked the party onto its ass by delivering them only one seat in the final count. Bad News: The party did receive almost 13% of the vote overall, showing that it may keep being a player in UK politics.
4. See That Explosion? It was the Lib Dems.
Going into the 2010 election, the Liberal Democrats were on the top of the world. The first ever leader’s debate allowed longtime leader Nick Clegg much needed face time with the electorate, and many pundits predicted that the party would launch out of third-party status, or at least become a more powerful entity.
But their final tally in that election was good, not great, and they were roped into a coalition with the victorious Conservatives. While this stint in government marked an apex of Liberal Democrat prestige, it also resulted in disenchantment from voters who previously saw the Lib Dems as outsiders who might clean up government. Tainted by the conservative label, the Liberal Democrats alienated, well, pretty much everyone, and won a mere 8 seats. With leader Nick Clegg announcing his resignation, the question of who can pick up the pieces is still outstanding.
5. Scotland is Still Pissed
Have you ever been in that relationship where your S/O promises to FINALLY treat you better, give you the respect you deserve, and maybe also delegate some taxation and domestic authorities down to your regional parliament? Yeah, well, Scotland is right there with ya.
While a bill to expand Scotland’s sovereignty may well be in the Queen’s Speech this next term, many Scots remain angry about the current state of affairs. Out of their 59 ridings, 56 of them elected members of the pro-independence Scottish Nationalist Party. This momentum could result in another independence movement if Scotland still doesn’t feel like it is being taken seriously.