Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrats pressuring Brown and Labour

Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, is causing a stir in the UK. (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

As American politics are experiencing turmoil over conservative and liberal policy clashes, the United Kingdom is having its own crisis as well over mistrust of government.  At present, election season is building up and the two main parties, Conservative and Labour, are being challenged by Nick Clegg, current leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, and an MP (Member of Parliament – that’s the House of Commons) for Sheffield Hallam.  The United Kingdom has troubles of confidence in its leadership, as the Labour Party has been winning fewer seats in the last few years and may need UK payday loans for campaign funds before long.

Isn’t Liberal Democrats a tautology?

Political parties work a little different “across the pond.” As British Parliament has more than two parties (although we allow the occasional independent), it can get a little more confusing. (Some allege U.S. party registration rules violate monopoly laws.)  In a nutshell, Liberal Democrats are a slightly more left party than the majority centrist Labour Party, and have been looking for a cash advance or two for campaigns and for a few more seats.

So how do they relate?

Labour is essentially centrist and slightly liberal, Conservative is center right, and Liberal Democrats are center left.  Labour would be equivalent to moderate Democrats and some Republicans, Liberal Democrats would be equivalent to Progressive Democrats (think Dennis Kucinich) and Conservative would be more equivalent to mainstream Republicans.  The difference between the US and Britain is that the party that wins the most seats elects a head of the party. Should that party be victorious in an election, the head of the party becomes Prime Minister, and it goes from there.

So what’s the deal in Britain?

Currently, there has been dissatisfaction growing over the last few years with the Labour Party, and former PM Tony Blair and incumbent Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.  Conservatives, voted out of office in the late ’90s after some nearly uninterrupted success (Thatcher and so forth), have been growing more and more vocal in opposition, and according to The Guardian, there is speculation that there may soon be a hung (deadlocked)  parliament if no clear majority is elected.  (Conservatives with sour grapes? That could never happen!)

General Election 2010 debates

Recently, televised debates were held between Gordon Brown, Conservative candidate David Cameron, and Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg. The results weren’t a landslide for Clegg, but according to the Telegraph, were significant enough that neither saw it coming, and David Cameron was downright dismissive. The upcoming General Elections in Britain should prove interesting for U.S. – UK relations, as there has long been unrest over what is seen as UK pandering to former colonies.

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