Ten Reasons You HAVE To Watch The British Election Tonight

The people of Britain are heading to the polls today. They'll decide whether to kick the ruling Conservatives — and their coalition with the Liberal-Democrats — out of power. If it's anything like the last election, it'll be a fascinating one for Canadians to watch. We fell in love with British politics back on election night in 2010. So we thought we'd share ten amazing reasons Canadians absolutely HAVE to watch as the election results roll in tonight.

BBC News will start streaming their coverage at 5pm Eastern Time.

1. It's, like, important and stuff.

2. They make all the candidates in every riding ("constituency," in British-speak) stand on stage while they read out the results, which means that some absolutely amazing things happen. In 2010, the newly-elected Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, was forced to stand on stage with a guy dressed as Jesus and an old dude in a big hat from the Monster Raving Loony William Hill party. And then the new PM had to give a speech with them all standing right there behind him. The Prime Minister is the guy in the blue tie:

3. They have a party called the Monster Raving Loony William Hill party. It was founded by Screaming Lord Sutch in 1963.

4. This is Screaming Lord Sutch:

5. All the candidates on stage wear pretty ribbons so you can tell what party they're from. Pretty ribbons!!!

6. British candidate names are awesome. A short sample of things that actually happened in 2010 as a result: Butt lost Tooting; Balls, in a swing constituency, held his seat.

7. The names of the constituencies are also British and therefore also awesome. Some samples: Berwick-Upon-Tweed; Brigg & Goole; Great Gimsby; Tooting; West Ham. And the names of the Welsh constituencies are even awesomer than the English ones: Vale of Clywd; Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney; Islwyn; Dwyfor Meirionnyd; Ynys Môn

8. The accents.

9. The celebrities. In 2010, the BBC interviewed a drunk Rolling Stone about Conservative policy. They interviewed two former winners of The Apprentice about electoral reform. They had people I've never heard of doing lame impressions of other people I've never heard of. And, to top it all off, they interviewed what's left of Joan Collins.

10. It's actually going to be really interesting, with lots of fascinating parallels to Canadian politics. The most recent projections have the ruling Conservatives (the blue team) neck and neck with the liberal Labour Party (the red team). Neither one is likely to win a majority. So it will probably come down to a minority government: a coalition with the balance of power held by the left-wing Liberal-Democrats (the yellow-orange team) and/or the separatists in the Scottish National Party. Which sounds an awwwwful lot like what might happen in Canada this fall. The major parties in Britain have already started trying to control public perception of what is and isn't acceptable when it comes to forming a coalition government — with little regard for the actual law, kind of like what Stephen Harper pulled off back in 2008. And the Queen has already made it clear that she doesn't want to get dragged into the mess (kind of like the Canadian Governor General was). It will be verrrrry interesting to see what happens as the dust settles at Westminster.


Posted by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.


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