Saturday, May 07, 2005

British Election, London, Stuff

I've put some Oxford/London pics up! Link is on the side and here:

(skip if you don't care)
So the British election was on Thursday and as you probably know, Tony Blair got a third term. This is a big deal only because his party, the Labour Party, has never served for more than two terms. The big outcome of the election was that his party kept their majority in the Parliament (as expected). The only questionable thing was the margin of victory. Blair ended up losing 45 seats, which is kinda a big deal. Most people think that he lost the seats because of the Iraq war and that his party didn't do enough with their huge majority. He now has a 67-seat majority. That's definitely big enough for most stuff. The problem could come with the "rebels" in the Parliament. These are a pretty big group of reps in the Labour Party that don't always vote with their party. If they team up with the other parties, Blair could have probs with getting legislation through. So here are some things I found interesting about the British election and politics in general:
  • The Labour Party is the more liberal party of the big two. But they are the ones associated with the war in Iraq (opposite from U.S.). This was weird for me in the beginning because I thought Blair was a total Bush lachey, but he's actually liberal on most stuff. And he's closer to Clinton than Bush personally, I think. I guess before Iraq, Democrats were associated with war, so maybe it makes sense...
  • I read an article somewhere that Iraq was actually the #11 issue on people's minds, way behind healthcare, education, gas prices, etc... also very different from the U.S...
  • People thought that a lotta people might be mad at Blair and cast protest votes for the third party, the Liberal Democrats. This didn't really happen-- the Lib Dems only gained 3 seats. People don't really like the leader of the Lib Dems and he just won't step down.
  • The leader of the Tories (Conservative party) stepped down yesterday cuz his party didn't get the 200-seat goal that he had. But they still gained 35 seats. I think it's kinda silly that he stepped down especially when his party is technically on the rise! Instead of the election being like a celebration, it seems like defeat for his party.
  • I think the election in general has no one really claiming a victory. Everyone is kinda blah... the biggest question post-election is when Tony Blair will step down. It's pretty funny because apparently, in 1994, he made a deal with his buddy Gordon Brown over who'd take over the party. Gordon Brown agreed to let Blair do it as long as he'd step down after some time for Brown to do it. But Blair is said to have overspent his time at the top and he and Brown are supposed to be rivals now. Brown was still campaigning with Blair (he's like the VP) and he's still waiting for his turn to be Prime Minister. This is SO different from how things are in the U.S.!
So that's my little summary and analysis of the election. It's awesome to be learning about this in class during the election time.

So here's a topic that normal people might be interested in...
I went to London yesterday (Friday) to do some sightseeing. It was actually a very unsuccessful trip. We wanted to see Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. So Westminster is closed till May 18, Buckingham Palace is closed to tourists until September, and Tower of London had closed five minutes before we got there. The trip was still pretty cool. We saw the places from the outside and walked along a lot of bridges and the Thames River, all of which were very pretty. I also just love being in cities and London is an awesome one.

I don't know if this has been made clear, but I am definitely having a GREAT time at Oxford this quarter. It isn't OMG-my-life-wouldn't-be-complete-if-I-wasn't-here great, but it is amazing to be in a total different continent and culture and just taking a break from Stanford. I love exploring new places, so I'm actually becoming a little concerned about spending a full nine months at Stanford next year. But yeah Oxford is cute, quaint, wonderful, fun, chill, and super cool!

No comments: