Thursday 6 May 2010


I exercised my right to vote in the UK for the first time today - in the general election, no less. I have found the campaign quite fascinating.

It's short - it was only announced a few weeks ago. Compare that to the American presidential campaigns which now last over one year.

There are three viable parties this time, not only two. The Lib Dems have gained traction and credibility, and the polls are fairly evenly split between Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem.

All three parties pledge 'fairness'. You rarely hear the word 'fair' in American elections.

There are not as many emotive issues in British politics as you see in the States. Immigration and Europe are probably the most sensitive ideological issues. Abortion and religion are barely mentioned. Socialised health care is a given - even the Conservatives want to protect the National Health Service.

Votes are for your local Member of Parliament, not for the Prime Minister, but the party leaders are the ones in the spotlight.

The 'American-style' debates were fascinating to watch, but it was not the first time they had faced each other. They spar every week during Prime Minister's Questions.

The result this time is not a foregone conclusion. We are all biting our nails waiting for the results to start pouring in a few hours from now. How will it turn out? I'm excited/nervous to find out.

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