Part one gave an overview about how the election works. Now, with the Boffin’s help, I will go over the parties. This ain’t like American system where we have the Republicans, the Democrats, and the marginalized weirdos. They each have their own respective brands of ridiculousness that I will be happy to address as the 2016 presidential election plays out. Don’t say I am not an equal opportunity critic. But it’s the Britons turn right now. Lucky them.
One thing the parties do at election time is publish manifestos. These are things that they promise they are going to do, if elected, and then proceed not to do once they are. And the other parties can throw the ruling party’s manifesto in its face in the next general election. I have attached hyperlinks to the manifestos of each party to their names, so you can see their platforms for yourself.
The Conservative Party (aka the Tories, aka the Heartless Bastards) – Naturally, like it says in the name, this is the party that purports fiscal and social conservatism, although the Americans would find their policies closer to that to the Democratic party. So some of you might look at their manifesto and scream, “Oh, my, Lord, what a bunch of pinkos!” Relax. Go back to a political science class. Re-learn your terminology. Everything will be OK. They are the party of Prime Minister David Cameron, the Establishment, the fox hunting crowd, Margaret Thatcher, and Jeremy Clarkson. You know, the really mellow and easy crowd with the hang-loose lifestyle that the Britons are known for. In the last government, they were in coalition with…
The Liberal Democrats (aka The Lib Dems, aka The Clueless Bastards). In Europe, being a liberal does not mean that you think Lenin was too right wing for your taste. Instead, they are the centrist party. Where they usually want government involvement is in places like education, healthcare, and social services. Give the people the tools to improve themselves, and after that, government can piss off. Generally, they act as the moral conscience, so, naturally, they get ignored. The leader of this bunch is Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister of the last Parliament. During the 2010 election, the main promise this party made was that the government would not raise university tuition fees. Of course, two years later, because the Lib Dems did not have any real power to do anything in the coalition, the Tories hiked up the university fees. And Mr. Clegg went to airwaves to apologize.
The Labour Party (aka Labour, aka the Half Heartless/Half Clueless Bastards) – This is the party that arose from the trade unionists and have been traditionally socialists. Things have really changed under Tony Blair and New Labour and now their policies are closer to that of the Conservatives. If they win, their Prime Minister would be Ed Miliband. His claims to fame are looking a lot like Wallace from Wallace & Gromit, being a Red Sox fan but willing butt heads with us regarding U.S. foreign policy (He has lived in Massachusetts at various points in his life, including doing a teaching stint at Harvard.), and having two kitchens in his house.
The Scottish National Party (aka the SNP, aka the Scots Bastards) – What you see is what you get with this party. They want Scottish independence, and it nearly happened in September with the referendum in Scotland. Scotland elected to stay in the U.K. but managed to gain a few verbal concessions from Westminster. The SNP is campaigning for parliamentary seats to make sure the House holds up its part of the bargain, not that England has any history of screwing over Scotland or anything. With the estimation of snagging about 56 seats, this could be the party to form a coalition with. But the Tories and Labour don’t want to do it. Nicola Sturgeon, the party leader, has become the Icky Girl with Cooties on the school playground.
For most elections, it really comes down to either the Conservatives or Labour being in power. However, as with most parties, there are always those people who you wonder how they got invited and whether they brought anything of value, like Doritos and amyl nitrate.
The United Kingdom Independence Party (aka UKIP, aka the Xenophobic Bastards) – I am sure, if you heard anything about the General Election, it has been about this party. Led by Nigel Farage, a Minister for the European Parliament and Really Neat Guy, its main platform is for the U.K. to leave the European Union. Farage basically wants to put himself out of a job and look like a tool in the process. Now, it would be OK if UKIP actually presented sound economic arguments about how the U.K. would be better off on its own. But no. That would be sensible. Instead, UKIP likes to talk about the foreigners coming over taking over British jobs, being a drain on British benefits, and how Britain has no room because of all this freedom of movement within the European Union. This is the U.K. party equivalent of the cranky old uncle at Thanksgiving dinner bitching about the Mexicans. But let’s be fair to your uncle. He only complains about the illegal immigrants.
The Green Party (aka the Greens, aka the Hippie Bastards) – An earnest party led by Natalie Bennett that is all about environmental reform, social equality, and creating a utopic, post-modern secular world. Basically, in their minds, we would be petting bunnies all day and trying to make everyone feel better about what we are trying to do rather than actually accomplishing anything.
Plaid Cymru (aka Plaid, aka the Welsh Bastards with that Really Nice Lady as Leader) – Holding 3 seats in the previous Parliament, this is the Welsh national party led by Leanne Wood. Like the SNP with Scotland, Plaid Cymru is pushing for Wales to be an independent nation within the European Union. Wood gained some popularity points by giving Farage a nice verbal bollocking for chiding foreigners with HIV receiving free treatment on the National Health Service. At least, with all of Wales’s economic problems, they scored a publicity stroke.
Sinn Féin – (aka the We Used to Blow You Up Bastards) The old political wing of the IRA who have recently tempered themselves enough so that you can have a reasonable conversation with them. However, that will never happen in Parliament because, while they win seats, they won’t swear and allegiance to the Queen, and, therefore, don’t sit. I think they could still go into the viewing galleries and make faces.
The Democratic Unionist Party – (aka DUP, aka the Self-Hating Irish Bastards) The Northern Ireland party founded by the Rev. Ian Paisley. It’s the “We are Protestant, proud, and up the British government’s arses” party. They have toned down in recent years, literally since the death of Paisley, but listening to them used to be like hearing your same cranky uncle bitch about the coaching of your local football team after Thanksgiving dinner. (And why does Mom keep inviting him every year?)
Social Democratic and Labour Party – (aka SDLP, aka the Kiss Me, I’m Irish Bastards) The more traditional ‘We hate the British and want to be Irish’ party. They do sit in Parliament, but generally keep focused on one thing…Irish reunification, but doing so non-violently. So that makes four parties with policies based upon separating from England. You would think English parliamentarians would get the hint by now. Maybe they should try deoderant.
George Galloway (aka, the Respect Party, aka the Lonely Socialist Bastard)– Leader of and the only MP for the Respect Party. If you want to see what socialism is, read this guy’s manifesto. Prior to Tony Blair, this is what Labour used to be like. Now he stands like the last dodo bird.
In the next post, the Boffin will explain how this election can play out, because it is certainly beyond me at this point. I need my own Scottish referendum with some whiskey after thinking about all of this.