I'l be honest - for the first time in my life I've been gripped by the UK 2010 election and the workings of the politics.
We live in such a different era to when I was first able to vote: wall-to-wall blanket media coverage, 24 hour opinion and speculation, and something I've found particularly interesting, helpful, amusing (and silly at times): the whole social media channel - which in a sense has given real-time interaction and access to opinions that are not edited by TV moguls with an agenda.
However - that's not to say all this coverage has been excellent or impartial - far from it. Nothing is more annoying to me than selective use of facts simply to create spin - and there has been plenty of that.
So, I thought I would list out some of the key facts from the outcome of the election and list some of the possible statements that can be made - all true - but selected depending on what spin you wish to give.
If i had more time I'd turn this into an interactive tool that allows you to construct any statement you wish, but for now, here are the guts of it.
Quantity of votes
(Con ~10.7m ~8.6m Lab LD ~6.8m) source bbc
CON > LAB
CON > LIB DEM
LAB > LIB DEM
"labour did not win"
"lib dem did not win"
CON ~ >1/3rd vote
Lab ~ <1/3rd vote
LidDem ~1/4 vote
"~2/3rds did not vote for con"
"~2/3rds did not vote for lab"
"~3/4ths did not vote for Lib dem"
+ "and yet they are getting their policies implemented" etc.
when it comes to seats
CON < 326 (the number required for an outright majority)
LAB < 326
LD < 326
"con does not have a mandate to govern" or "con did not win"
"lab does not have a mandate to govern"
"ld does not have a mandate to govern"
"we have a PM that was not voted for"
"we have a Deputy PM that was not voted for"
CON + LD > LAB
LAB + LD > CON
CON + LAB > LD
a con + LD coalition represents the majority
a lab + LD coalition represents the majority
a con + lab coalition represents the majority
Because both coalition parties have to compromise on policy:
"con no longer represents their voters / has sold itself down the river"
"LD no longer represents their voters / has sold itself down the river"
and so on..
I've not even covered level of turnout, which means something like ~35% of the populations' views are unknown and thus can be used to reduce the mandate of all the above figures.
You can do this stuff all day.. :-)