Thursday, June 8, 2017

Meanwhile, in Britain

Britain has a parliamentary system with first-past-the-post voting — a contrast both to the presidential system in the United States and the proportional representation seen in some European parliaments. This system means that Britons have one vote to choose their local member of Parliament. Whichever party has the most seats in Parliament will then form a government, with the party's leader as prime minister.


Historically, this has resulted in Britain having a two-party system dominated by the center-right Conservatives and the center-left Labour Party.


Theresa May of the Conservatives. May was a dark horse in last year's battle to succeed Cameron as prime minister, outmaneuvering bigger names such as Boris Johnson. Formerly Britain's home secretary for six years — a major cabinet position that includes national security responsibilities — May is Britain's second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher. She is regarded as savvy by political observers but has sometimes appeared awkward on the campaign trail. May opposed Brexit during the referendum campaign but has taken a hard-line approach to negotiations.

Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour Party. For decades, Corbyn was a relatively obscure figure on Labour's far left, better known for his speeches at antiwar demonstrations than his hand in policy. But after Labour suffered an unexpected defeat in the 2015 election, the quirks of the party's internal politics handed him the party leadership. Corbyn has been dubbed unelectable and faced considerable opposition from his own party, but his radical chic and pro-spending policies have won over considerable numbers of younger voters. Corbyn campaigned for Britain to stay in the E.U. ahead of the 2015 referendum. Labour now supports Brexit but favors a less confrontational negotiating style.


When the prime minister called the election, she had good reason to believe she would not only win — but win in a landslide. Corbyn was viewed as an ineffective leader at best. Even politicians from his own party were predicting a “historic and catastrophic defeat,” with some warning that Britain could be heading toward a one-party state.

However, in the weeks since the election was called, Labour's numbers have rebounded dramatically.

How can the political elites be so wrong about the citizens of their country in both the US and Great Britain? Apparently they don't get out much.

Live results here (Labor just won Battersea and Ealing Central-places I've never heard of):

They're having a long night in England.

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