“The British electorate has spoken but has choked on its words,” sums up quite nicely the results of last night’s UK elections, which have resulted, as predicted, in a plurality but not a definite majority for the Tories, a relative novelty for a parliamentary democracy long calcified into a two-party system.
Electoral reform now seems inevitable. The poor Lib Dems took 23% of the popular vote to Labour’s 29% and the Tories’ 36%, but ended up losing seats in Parliament, mostly due, I would presume, to dissatisfied left-leaning voters, especially in swing districts, getting trigger-shy in the ballot booth, taking a deep breath and sticking by their incumbent. But, they can now give the Tories a majority with a coalition, and will make electoral reform—which, especially after the wrangling of coming days, the British electorate seems likely to favor—the price of their rather counterintuitive cooperation. That seems the likeliest of the scenarios outlined here.
Also of note is that even a minority or jerry-rigged British government will likely pass more legislation between now and the next UK elections (surely coming by the end of 2011 if not much sooner) than four years of a Democratic president and clear majority in both houses of Congress. So all this talk of a “Hung Parliament” seems overly melodramatic, donnit? Would this make America a “Hung Country”?