In the UK, people are waiting anxiously for the birth of a new prince or princess. It was supposed to happen in late April, but it is a bit delayed. Another thing people are looking forward to are the national elections. At least we know on what date those are going to happen: The 7th of May. The election campaign is focusing on the leaders of the two largest parties: David Cameron for the Conservatives (also known as Tories) and Ed Miliband for Labour. At the moment they are at a draw in the polls.
It seems that no party will get an absolute majority. Therefore, the news is full of speculations about possible coalitions. In the UK they are not really accustomed to a government with more than 1 party. Since World War II, it happened only twice; the last time was in the last elections. The Conservatives were the largest and formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. That’s a big difference with the Netherlands, where in the same period governments always consisted of at least two parties.
So the British people are in a bit of a panic: What will Her Majesty’s Government look like this time around? On the BBC website you can give it a try yourself with the the coalition game. I tried to, but it is quite difficult. Parties already excluded certain other parties as partners, others have opinions that are each others opposites… The least I can say is that they will never have a purple government here.
The news is full of personal attacks on the leaders. At the beginning of the campaign, Ed Miliband was seen as somewhat of a softy. But he has shown his skills in the debates. This week he gave an interview to Russell Brand (from the book Revolution), that got a lot of media coverage. Brand is controversial because he calls on people not to vote. In his view, the world is governed by big companies and elections are always won by the party with the largest budget. He is very popular among young people, so it was a smart move by Miliband to have a conversation with him.
I think that our doormat has also formed an opinion by now, because it is showered by flyers from political parties each day. What strikes me is that the various newspapers and magazines all speak out for a party now that we are close to the elections. To my knowledge, that’s not common in the Netherlands. The Guardian chooses the new direction of the Labour Party for example, but the Sun hitches a ride on the current baby hype: It’s a Tory!
Finally, a totally off-topic video of an Egytian comedian who explains the Middle East to the BBC: Bassem Youssef’s guide to the Middle East.
Sources of pictures: Miliband — Department of Energy; Cameron — Toms Norde, Valsts kanceleja