Friday, May 07, 2010

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) First up, the obvious story. The process going forward, as I understand it, is that Brown and the Labourites will have first crack at forming a coalition government. It should happen. The LibDems (funny how that's not a perjorative in England...) garnered 54 seats, which was a disappointing showing given the heat Nick Clegg had generated. LibDems lost 5 seats, but that would put Labour over 300 members. The magic number is 326. Of the remaining 37 seats, a large chunk are owned by small regional parties with social democratic ties (e.g. more likely to side with Labour, but...). Politics is the art of the possible and it's possible they will wait for either a coalition offer from the Conservatives, or to let the Conservatives rule as a minority party.
And then things become interesting. The first major bill that gets defeated (say, a budget that calls for spending cuts on healthcare or some such), and a vote of "No Confidence" can be requested. Should that pass, the UK gets thrown back into the election cycle.
So basically, the fate of Great Britain rests in the hands of three political parties: Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru, and the Scottish National Party. SNP tends to lean left, and so should support Brown. That would bring Labour one vote away from a majority (assuming LibDems and Democratic Unionist, Social Democratic & Labour, and Green Parties go as a bloc and on form).
And then things become REALLY interesting! Of the remaining parties with seats, Sinn Fein and Plaid Cymru, only PC has made noise about who they'd support: the Conservatives. However, one of the issues that divides them from Labour is the administration of a policy of establishing block grants to the various states in the UK and letting them distribute them, something PC has said is unworkable.
But it's a Conservative policy. Indeed, it's the backbone of Conservative policy. But, PC has traditionally been the opposition of Labour in the Welsh parliament (now Assembly)
Which brings us to Sinn Fein. Nominally a Socialist party, they are focused on uniting Northern and the Republic of Ireland into one nation. Obviously, both coalitions would offer them progress on that front in exchange for their support, but like PC, there's no guarantee this would be a bloc move.
Even at that, even allowing that Labour somehow wrestles eight other parties to the table intact, it still has the problem of sitting on top of a pile of cats while fending off a formidably large opponent in the Conservatives.
Eeesh. And we thought the 2000 election in Florida was a mess!
2) And Joe McCarthy rubs his hands gleefully and laughs. I'm not for giving an American citizen a free pass for associating with known terorrists, no no, that's not my issue. My issue is the definition of "terrorist" is not subject to law, but to commissions and committees.
4) A typo? The nation nearly came to a standstill yesterday over a TYPO????? A trillion dollars was lost over a misspelling????? What does it say about our economic system that so much money can be lost in the blink of an eye, and yet no one dies immediately, and no guns are fired? A typo? Really?
5) Will baseball pull the 2011 All Star Game out of Phoenix? I think they should. Nevermind the uproar in the city when Johann Santana or Alex Rodriguez is forced to produce a driver's license or a passport, Arizona has a history like that of South Africa: they only move on something when there's a legitimate threat to their prestige and economy. So let's give it to them.
6) And democracy dies yet another small death.
7) There are few nations less deserving of American contempt than England, and yet...
8) Racism, sadly, is not just an American thing. That's still no excuse, Teabaggers.
9) The best restaurants to be in during the coming zombie apocalypse.
10) The ickiest story of the week. I'm not sure if it disturbs me more because some guy got upset about his junk or because your junk will be visible to hundreds of people.