Not Their Finest Hour. Britain’s elections ended in an anti-climax, revealing a crisis of governance. (WSJ)
I’m thinking about large scale social change dynamics. British elections offered something to ponder. Nice overview and instructive as we in the US consider our politics and the size/role of government and debt. What I wonder is the corporate welfare aspect of our situation compared to Britain’s. Is that “power” dynamic significantly different (social welfare interest vs corporate welfare interests) in Britain? That is to say it seems the British people have more sway in politics than the electorate does here in the US. I’m under informed about this so I’m wondering out loud at this point. Enjoy. Walt
One of the rarer pleasures of British general elections is the opportunity they present to watch a particular species of buttoned-up Brits releasing their inner extroverts. Up and down the country, hundreds of oddballs, representing such interests as the Monster Raving Loony Party, bedecked in funny hats and wigs, stand smiling beside would-be prime ministers as dignified local government officers read out the election returns on national television.
More often than not they are pure eccentrics, men like Mad Cap’n Tom, a self-declared pirate, who contested the Westminster district of London in this week’s national election, on a platform of teaching the virtues of swordsmanship in schools.
But others, like Terry Marsh, hope to make a more serious point.
Angry at the failures of Britain’s political system, Mr. Marsh, a former light-welterweight world boxing champion, wanted to cast a vote by which he could signal his disdain for all the major parties. But under electoral rules it was not possible to formally register a protest vote on a ballot and have it counted. So Mr. Marsh instead paid the 5,000 pounds needed to run as a candidate, changed his name officially to None Of The Above X—the X marking the character the British still use to cast their votes in ink on paper ballots—and registered as a candidate in his local district of Basildon, in Essex, just outside London.
In the event, Mr. X, as he is presumably now known, secured a mere 100 votes out of the 45,000 cast in the district.
But in a larger, much larger, sense, as the results of Thursday’s election trickled and flowed in through the early hours of Friday, it became clear that the cause represented by the Man Formerly Known as Marsh was the real victor in Britain’s most unpredictable election in a generation.
None of the Above won Britain’s election this week.