I was present at the Brixton Recreation Center earlier tonight, where vote counting was going — and continues to go — on. Workers there are paid a standard rate that is independent of how long they spend counting votes, and this sets up obvious moral hazard dilemmas: the quicker and sloppier, the sooner they can cut the check and catch some Zzz’s. Not that this is the only problem with Britain’s monstrous electoral endeavors. As it has not switched to any form of electronic voting — belonging to a shrinking segment of the first world not to adopt some measure of technological progress in governing — the process is long-winded, tedious and drone-like: in short, it’s manual, as you can see from the short video below that was cut off by my cell phone battery dying:
That being said, Britain needs alot of reforms to its political system, its party institutions, in addition to having some serious soul-searching coming up in the next few decades with respect to Scotland and the Irish question, and with respect to its own global relevance (it has none, besides in finance). Perhaps these questions will be addressed by the new government, but it is unlikely that anything conclusive will be achieved unless it is forced upon the political establishment from outside.
As far as regards the electoral campaign, it is my own belief that Leninology’s Richard Seymor is spot-on in pointing to obvious deficits in Labour’s campaign strategy as being responsible for its lackluster performance, and its naive insistence in not going into its only viable coalition (eerily similar to the SPD’s “death wish” in the German election of 2013 in excluding allying with Die Linke) only hurt its credibility worse. The following is taken from Seymor’s post, and is worth noting:
the politics of opposition under this administration have been dire. Remember 2011, when it actually looked as though popular movements, from unions to students to Occupy, might fuse into a broad front against the government? Remember the euphoria when the Tories looked genuinely vulnerable? Good, I want you to remember that, and think about how easy it is to piss it away. We know to expect nothing from Labour
The Tories are ideologically weak, I think. The Lib Dems are ideologically pointless now. But Labour. How to put this? All very well to put out a string of populist policy announcements – end the pasty tax, free dentures for the long-term unemployed, fuel allowances for cabbies, new tramlines in Maidenhead, whatever – but this is just noise until it’s part of a resonant ‘vision’. And Labour just doesn’t have a clue what its ‘vision’ is. It congratulates itself on ‘the squeezed middle’, ‘Blue Labour’, ‘One Nation Labour’, and so on. Because not only does the Labour leadership love the smell of its own farts – so does the media chorus. Every time Miliband pops out another vaporous soundbite, the news – always desperate for novelty, fond of power, and particularly fond of right-wing Labour leaders – makes it sound as though he has written the Grundrisse.
It’s obvious Britain’s political and existential problems will not be solved by tonight’s election, whether a thin Tory-led coalition with lots of hard right basketcases, or a thin Labour-led coalition with fragmented nationalistic grouplets and a recalcitrant and resurgent SNP, comes out on top. What is certain is that Britain is fast slipping away from the Anglo “duopoly” model and is heading towards Continental Europe at a rate as fast as Cameron is trying to pull out of the EU.