The UK Election Results Explained -

The UK Election Results Explained


One of the clearer accounts of what exactly happened last night comes from Josh Fruhlinger at Wonkette. Fruhlinger is best known as the Comics Curmudgeon, so he’s well qualified to evaluate an election that contains almost as many awkwardly-phrased speeches and implausible plot twists as a week of Mark Trail:

The whole thing that made this election vaguely interesting was fickle Britain’s sudden love affair the adorably wonkish Nick Clegg of the Lib Dems, but it turns out that even over the course of the ludicrously short British election cycle (a month! God, how awesome would it be if our elections lasted a month, instead of, you know, infinity years) they couldn’t be bothered to remember their brief infatuation with him, so his party actually ended up losing seats. But still, nobody can get a parliamentary majority without him!

The other observation I found interesting about the election – apart from Paul Wells’ observations at this very site — was Joshua Marshall’s statement that the aftermath reminds him of the U.S. elections of 2000. Not the results themselves or the candidates, but the way candidates immediately reacted to a close election by demanding that the other guy step down and admit he lost. This is standard procedure; if there’s no real winner yet, it’s important to act like a winner, because it increases your chances of actually winning.

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The UK Election Results Explained

  1. Let's see, all the analysts were saying there's a surprising love affair with Nick Clegg, then his party loses seats, and now all the analysts are surprised again. Could it be that they were just WRONG to begin with?

    • "This is largely as I predicted except that the Silly Party won. I think this is due to the number of votes cast."

      • That Michael Palin bit is the best of that clip1 (thanks for posting it earlier today)

  2. Well… that's not quite what happened. The best guess, based on the way our elections usually work, is that while a lot of people were genuinely impressed by Clegg during the campaign, they ended up voting Labour to keep the Tory candidate out. A few of the newspapers even published 'tactical voting guides' – listing marginal constituencies alphabetically and giving a statistical analysis showing the best way to cast your vote to prevent the Tory candidate from taking the seat, and the Guardian's support for the Lib Dems came with a caveat that it was better to vote Labour in most seats where the Tories had a strong chance of winning. In many places, if your goal is to keep the Tory candidate out, it makes little sense to vote Lib Dem, simply because it generally takes a much larger statistical swing away from the incumbent for the Lib Dem candidate to take the seat (borne out by the final result – they got 23% of the overall vote, but have well under 10% of the seats). Seats like the one I vote in – where the Lib Dems are routinely a close second to Labour – are relatively unusual; they had a realistic chance of winning this seat (and reduced the Labour incumbent's majority from several thousand to just 103), but if I'd been living somewhere where the contest was between Labour and the Tories I'd have had to vote Labour.