Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Obligatory "On the British Election" Post

My only halfway interesting thought on the recent British election: British voting patterns are an interesting example of the strange dual status of Great Britain, both European and Anglospheric. They have a first-past-the-post voting system, like the United States, but have a European-style party system, with three major parties and a smattering of minor/regional parties. Which is why Labor was able to turn a relatively modest popular vote plurality (35.2% vs 32.3% Conservative and 22% Liberal Democrat) into a fairly sizeable majority among MPs (356-197-62). They just had to narrowly win a large number of three-way races to give Tony Blair (and, soon enough, Gordon Brown) quasi-dictatorial power in a country where almost 65% of voters went with another party.

I suppose this odd pastiche of electoral systems is just part of what makes Britain Britain, but I can't help but wonder if they wouldn't have a healthier political system if they just picked one or the other and went for it whole-hog. (On the other hand, the United States and Germany aren't exactly shining examples of the uncorrupted polis, either. Maybe it's time to give divine right monarchy another try?)