A General election to the first house (House of Commons) of the United Kingdom's Parliament will be held on the June 7, 2001 under the First Past the Post electoral system.

The three main parties contending are:
Some other parties involved that will not win any seats are the Green Party; the UK Independence Party; the Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Labour Party.
The Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru (Welsh Nats) and several Northern Irish Parties (inc. Ulster Unionists and Sinn Fein) usually win a few seats due to their concentration in particular constituencies.

Election News

June 9, 2001

Party------Seats-----Seats Change (since 97)-----% Vote
Labour-----413-------------------- -6-----------------------42
Cons-------166-------------------- +1-----------------------33
LibDem------52-------------------- +6-----------------------19
Other-------28-------------------- -1------------------------6

William Hague has resigned as leader of the Conservative Party, while Tony Blair is appearing to get promptly back to work and Charlie Kennedy happily relaxes.

June 5, 2001

Margaret Thatcher's mysterious persistence in coming out to campaign for Hague's Tories (Much more than in 1997) has apparently sparked another odd debate. Labour have accused the Conservatives of being 'stuck' in Thatcherism. They - on the other hand - have identified and extracted the best bits (Blair is quite (in)famous for his identifications of the good in Thatcherite policy) of Maggie's New Right reforms and built upon them.
Otherwise all parties continue to, at an increased rate, push their favourite points (Lab - Service improvement; Lib - Honest tax & spend; Con - No Euro, Tax Cuts) across the nations of Great Britain.
By the way, I got a leaflet through the door today promoting a candidate for the 'Pro-Life' Party. I thought we didn't have this sort of thing over here: Go Back to the USA!

June 2, 2001

Labour have been emphasising the need to go and vote, as they are afraid of losing seats due to voter apathy (now somewhat evident in this very node!). They are trying to make people see a difference between the parties (Labour-Spend more, Tories-Tax less) and then to get people to think that Labour aren't quite so certain to win as it would seem.
The Conservatives have been pursuing a strange argument, to say the least. They say that people shouldn't vote Labour as another big majority would be bad for democracy (an elected dictatorship).

May 29, 2001

The Conservatives have suceeded in keeping Europe on the agenda, helped by French PM Lionel Jospin saying that he wants EU business tax harmonisation. The Tories have also been making the point that their projected cost of joining the Euro (£36 billion) is like getting A Millennium Dome every month for three years. They used 36 pictures of Domes for campaigning! Labour has said that they do not want any tax harmony and that the figure is rubbish. The LibDems said the Conservatives are talking rubbish.

May 27, 2001

The Conservatives released their manifesto first, its main feature being a promise to cut £8 billion in tax. The party followed this up with attacks related to tax on Labour and were widely thought to have got off to a good start.
Labour's campaign is based around the stable economy that their government has built and how they can now go on to save public services - the NHS particularly. Tony Blair was confronted on camera by an angry relative of a current NHS patient and his deputy, John Prescott, punched a protester (who had thrown an egg at him) in the face.
The Liberal Democrats have done well so far, (mainly down to Kennedy) it is thought. As usual, they promise to improve public services by putting 1p per pound on income tax and sticking up highest rate income tax. 'The honest way'.

Despite doing as well as anyone thought they could campaign wise, the Conservatives have seen the Labour lead in the polls rise by a few percent. Bad luck billy!
It should be noted that these elections are not quite as significant in some parts of the UK, as since the last General Election, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have gained their own devolved governments.

These seperate assemblies have power over some, but not all issues affecting daily life.

The Scottish Parliament sitting in Edinburgh, the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, and Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont, all formed since the last general election in 1997, have jurisdiction over issues such as the Health Service, education, agriculture and transport in their respective nations. Additionally, Scotland's law is decided by its own parliament.

This means that MPs for constituencies outside England do not have as many issues on which to lobby - mainly defence, foreign policy and the budget - which includes the important issues of pensions and benefits.

Its thought that, because of the reduced roles of Westminster MPs in the devolved nations, interest in the elections will be low, thus leading to a low turnout.

June 6, 2001: The Oolong Man /msg'ed me to say that the low turnout is probably more to do with apathy than MPs outside England having less relevance. I agree, there's probably some of that too..

A selection of further reading and up to the minute news sites:

  • BBC Vote 2001 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/vote2001/
    Text, audio and video news, and live results service. And play with Peter Snow's virtual swing-o-meter!
  • Guardian Unlimited Politics - http://politics.guardian.co.uk/election2001/
    Comprehensive news and daily email updates
  • Yahoo! UK Election Centre - http://uk.news.yahoo.com/election2001/
    News feeds from a variety of sources

Okay. Labour are obviously going to win, the Tories are a joke (look at the silly little baldie man! watch him grin like a madman!), and the Liberal Democrats have that embarrassing footage of Charles Kennedy being unable to throw a foam bowling ball properly in an old age pensioners' home.

So there's no point voting. Why bother?

Because everyone is thinking the same thing.

I wasn't going to vote, and didn't bother registering. My polling card arrived yesterday though, so I must have already been registered - but I still wasn't going to bother. Then I thought, shit, if loads of people feel that way, and enough fucking idiots vote Tory, then we could have a problem. We need to get out there and make sure. Yeah, Labour are a bunch of shiftless fucks, the Lib Dems are wishy washy pretenders, and the Greens are a bunch of hippies who wouldn't know how to run the country unless it was an organically farmed veggie beanburger - but Christ, we can't let Hague and his stormtroopers fuck the place up.

So here's the plan:

Vote tactically - go to www.tacticalvoter.net, enter your constituency, and they can show you who to tactically vote for. The clever bit: they will buddy you up with someone elsewhere in the country, so you can agree to effectively swap your votes around - this keeps the Tories out, but still gives the votes to your chosen parties. For example: If your local constituency is a toss up between Labour and the Tories at 42% each, voting Lib Dem when they've only got 16% is a wasted vote. However, if you're a Lib Dem supporter, you can vote Labour to keep the Tories out of your patch, and get paired up with a Labour voter somewhere else who will vote Lib Dem for you. So you get your Lib Dem vote, they get their Labour vote, and you both get the satisfaction of seeing the local Tory's frozen smile as the returning officer announces that they've only got 6 and a half votes. Interesting fact: this was actually, I believe, an American idea to begin with. Obviously something got fucked up somewhere along the way when they tried it, but the idea is sound. If they'd started it earlier, they might even have avoided all those dodgy shenanigans. Check out www.tacticalvoter.net/voteswapping.html for a further explanation.

If you're not even sure who to vote for, go to www.whodoivotefor.co.uk - it asks you questions about you and your beliefs on certain issues, and then shows you which party is closest to you in agreement (you may be surprised).

Sort it out, folks, if I can shake off my apathy then any fucker can. Don't give that shagsack and his pile of fucking mongrel whores an inch, or we'll all be goosestepping and executing foreigners in the streets before Christmas.

Go! Now! Stop fucking about here, this is important!

Well, the election is over and all the constituencies have finally returned their verdicts on the politicians of our day. Labour have again won a massive majority of seats, as predicted by the polls; this should make them the first British Labour government ever to serve two full consecutive terms in office, but their jubilation is tempered by an extraordinarily low turnout, about 58% - this means that less than a quarter of the population actually turned up to support them. The last time the turnout was this low was in 1918, when our troops hadn't all made it back from the war yet; this time no such excuse is available. This non-voting clearly comes as the result of a combination of factors, in proportions which will hopefully become clearer as more research is done: People being disillusioned with the main parties, and knowing how hard our system makes it to elect anyone else; people being (rightly) convinced that Labour would win whatever they did; and also people just not really giving a toss. As martin says, the somewhat reduced relevance of Westminster outside of England may also have had a part to play.

The Conservative Party managed to win only one more seat than they held onto in their humiliating defeat of 1997. They do now have an MP in Scotland again, but their majority of only 74 makes even this a pretty measly victory; small wonder that William Hague resigned early on Friday. The Liberal Democrats have gained six seats, giving them more MPs than they have had since the first half of the 1900s, while New Labour have lost six. In Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein went from 2 seats to 4, the DUP from 2 to 5, the UUP from 10 to 6 while the SDLP stayed on 3 and the UKUP lost their one seat. Meanwhile the SNP lost one of their six seats, and Plaid Cymru gained one and lost one; Martin Bell lost the seat he was contesting but Richard Taylor, a GP from Wyre Forest standing on a 'save Kidderminster Hospital' ticket, won with a stunningly large majority of 17,630.

Labour won 40.8% of the vote, the Tories 31.8%, and the Liberal Democrats 18.3%, while other candidates between them won 9.1%, making this a good election for smaller parties in terms of percentages if not seats. The Green Party for instance did better than ever before, managing to retain their deposit in ten constituencies. Worryingly the BNP also did rather well, coming third in Oldham West with 16% of the vote.

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