The Other I

May 10, 2010

Quantum Fuzzies II

I really was going to hold forth on a serious aspect of quantum physics tonight, but once again the UK election is using up all my psychic energy.

All day today, news reporters have been going along expecting an announcement from the Conservatives and the Lib Dems this evening that they’d agreed on forming a government.

And then out of the dark, Gordon Brown (current prime minister and leader of the Labour party) announced that he was stepping down no later than September and that the Labour party was entering into serious negotiations with the Lib Dems toward forming a coalition government.

AHH is breaking loose across the board.  The negotiations with the Conservatives had been taking place with a very high public profile, and they had no idea that the Lib Dems had been carrying on parallel negotiations with Labour.  One commentator called them dishonourable, standing on the street, if you will, hawking for the highest bid for their parliamentary support.

Nobody knows what’s going to happen next:

  • The market is an important unknown:  how long will it take before sterling plummets and interest rates on government borrowings sky-rocket?
  • If nobody is able to form a stable government –  one that can at least command a majority vote following the Queens speech which lays out the government’s plan for the next year – there will have to be a new election immediately.  It’s not clear how long these negotiations can go on with no resolution, but next Monday might be the last possible date.
  • The one prize the Lib Dems are seeking is a change in the voting system.  Labour and the Lib Dems think they can get legislative changes through that will keep the Conservatives out for the foreseeable future.  Since the Conservatives command a majority in England, and Labour with the Lib Dems command majorities in Scotland and Wales, this could be divisive on a large scale.  In a desperate effort not to stay in contention, the Conservatives have, nonetheless, offered the Lib Dems voter reform if they will join them instead of Labour to form a government.

It’s a nasty business.

But it is totally fascinating.

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