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An ignorant Yank’s lazy overview of British political parties

Oof. I reeeeally didn’t want to do this. British politics is hella depressing and, with heroic effort, I’ve managed to live here for a year and a half without learning much about it. But, as everybody’s favorite little brown mustelid abroad — and with an election coming up in three weeks — I suppose I must.

Deep breath. Here we go…

Right. These guys. In power for thirteen years, drove the country off a cliff, the current leader has all the charisma of a facial mole with a hair growing out of it. Result: not doing too badly at the polls. Why? Douche or Turd Syndrome, I think.

I was surprised to learn that Labour is a 20th Century party, founded in 1900. They compare fairly well with the Democrat party in the US, but they’re more honest about their socialism. They’ve been in power several times for fairly short periods and seemed a bit hapless before the Big One in ’97.

Yep, the Conservatives’ new logo is a little squiggly tree. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the party under David Cameron, then how about this: I was brushing my teeth this morning, listening to Radio 4 and there was — honest to god — a soundbite of Cameron saying, “if you want a more liberal Britain, vote Conservative.”

I almost swallowed my toothbrush.

Snubbed Thatcher. Only put up female candidates where he could. The sort of green who rides his bike to work while a limo drives behind him with his briefcase. Gone to great pains recently to explain that the Tories won’t balance the budget by cutting government.

I hate this man with the sort of searing flame that can only be extinguished with a double fistful of soft, soothing entrails. Whatever happens, Cameron MUST go down.

Okay, I totally don’t get the LibDems. I mean, I don’t get the distinction between them and Labour. They’re the leftist result of a 1988 merger between two 19th Century parties — the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party — and their function seems to be as a perpetual “other guys.” As in “yes, but what do the other guys say?” Or “fuck it — let’s vote for the other guys!”

Their polling took a ten point up-jump after the UK held its first ever Prime Ministerial TV debate, and the LibDem leader distinguished himself from the other two by not coming across as a barking spastic.

Ugh, these guys. Whatever the mess uncontrolled immigration has made of Britain, the BNP is still a bunch of creeps. And they’re leftists — of the blue-collar, pro-union variety. Think Archie Bunker without the charm.

The press describes them as far right, of course, because they’re bigots — while blandly admitting they pull votes away from Labour, not the Tories. It will be very interesting to see how they do in the elections. I anticipate a fair number of people will vote BNP — not because they wish them well and want them in power — but as an angry “fuck you!” to the political establishment. We shall see.

Whenever we go to a country fair or village fête, the UK Independence Party has a tent, manned by the same sweet blue-haired old ladies who sell chutney and homemade jams in the tent next door. UKIP has the right ideas — mainly getting Britain out from under the tyranny of the EU — but they haven’t got the hang of being a real, live national political party. Some financial scandals early in the life of the party didn’t help. Oh, and their logo is lavender on bright yellow, which is like unto being poked in the eye with a knitting needle.

But that’s where I’d vote if I could vote.

Because, bottom line, it simply DOES NOT MATTER who wins the election. There’s nothing much for Parliament to do; Brussels rules Britain. Did you know 70-80% of the laws of the land come from the European Union? And ain’t nothing the British parliament or prime minister — or, for that matter, Her Maj — can do to change any of them.

They can talk all they like about a “United States of Europe” but it’s a totally different proposition from the US of A. These people have been fighting horrible, bloody wars with each other for thousands of years, right up until a few decades ago. There are huge differences in ethnicity, legal system, culture, history and attitude — particularly between Britain and the Continent — and an ancient, deep well of ill-will.

In other words, almost all of Britain’s laws are being written by people who use “Anglo Saxon” as an insult. How do you think that’s working out?

UPDATE: Uncle B just read this and said I got the ancestry of the LibDems wrong. In actual fact, the Social Democratic Party was founded in blah blah blah blah, something something. Hope that clears it up; sorry for the error.

April 19, 2010 — 10:22 pm
Comments: 30