Home / 2010 British Election / Random Airport Blogging, PDX Edition: Britain Votes, I Fly

Random Airport Blogging, PDX Edition: Britain Votes, I Fly

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I board the first of two flights on a PDX-AMS-BRS itinerary in 90 60 minutes (which means I am safely ensconced in an airport bar).  I am missing election day, which suits me fine, because in this election the real drama should be what follows the voting itself.

Where does that stand?  First, turnout is reported to be relatively high.  This is not surprising.  This election has been predicted to be close (at least in terms of the distribution of seats in the new parliament), and most (not all) empirical research demonstrates that competitiveness is one (of many) explanatory factors in explaining variance in turnout.  Shorter: the more competitive the election and uncertain the outcome, the higher the turnout.

The final predictions are out.  BBC: C 284 L 257 LD 80.  Fivethirtyeight: C 312, L 204, LD 103.  The LSE have a tactical voting model that when incorporated predicts C 251, L 286, LD 81; with a bog standard uniform national swing, C 275, L 264, LD 79; alternatively, with a model predicting Conservative success in their strategy of targeting Labour marginals, C 310, L 211, LD 97.  Finally, UK Polling Report has the Tories the plurality in seats but short of an overall majority by 52 seats: in other words, 274.

Aside from the outliers of 538 or the LSE model predicting enhanced Tory success in the marginals, it is looking like a “balanced” parliament that creates the conditions for the sort of negotiations that I suggested a couple days ago.  Basically, missing election night (aside from not watching my colleagues Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher pontificate on national TV, ITV for the former, Sky News the latter) isn’t that important: the big stories will emerge in the days that follow.  Do the Tories try to usurp existing constitutional practice?  Does Gordon Brown do what’s best for both the Labour Party and the country and stand aside as part of a Lib-Lab coalition, or will his stubborn pride prevent this from occurring?  Do the Liberal Democrats, likewise, do what’s best for both them and their long standing dream of electoral reform and have an open mind in any negotiations with Labour, or do they take the easy path in supporting a minority Tory government . . . do what end?

Of course, I may just return to a UK governed by a strong Conservative majority who will slash public spending, severely restrict the BBC so as to allow Murdoch greater control over the British media market, cut the NHS, and accelerate Labour’s cut back of university funding such that universities in the UK will be forced to adopt entrench their corporate models of organization and invest a large amount of time, effort, and creative energy reconceptualizing themselves as brands, not universities (though this itself comes with some degree of risk).

In either event, I’ll be between 35,000 and 40,000 feet on a 767, hoping that my pilot has become adept at dodging volcanic ash.

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