Election Night

UK election on BBC World
UK election on BBC World

“I could watch an election from Iceland”, a colleague told me when we were discussing the UK election earlier today.

She, like me, loves watching elections as a “sport”.

Although I accept the issues as stake in a national election are far more important than those in a game of soccer or something like that, there’s a degree of “sport” in elections also.

Especially here in Australia. As I’ve watched the UK results come through – the slow process of waiting until all the votes are counted, and then finally a group of candidates appear in front of a crowd who are cheered or booed – it’s been fascinating to contrast the situation with what we have in Australia.

Here in Australia, it’s like a horse race. Bit by bit the results are leaked. Four percent of the vote. Five percent. Twenty percent. Bit by bit. There’s a real sense of drama with every election.

I’m a little surprised by the formality of the UK election system as they line up the candidates and announce the results at the end. I’m also a little bit surprised they have first past the post. And I’m also a little surprised by the non-compulsory voting on a Thursday system they have.

I’m surprised by all of this because I THOUGHT the Australian and UK election systems were quite similar. Obviously not. After all that I’ve seen played out, I’m re-assured about the value of compulsory voting and elections held on the weekend.

I’m still open to arguments about preferential vs proportional voting. But at the issue of giving everyone a chance to have their say, I think we have a pretty good system.

In the meantime, I’m loving the “sport” of spending a Friday night watching BBC World, Sky, and all of the other channels currently discussing the UK election.

What would Sir Humphrey say?

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  1. damien

    Sir Humphrey would say that dumping first-past-the-post for proportional represenatation would be “very courageous”. Another reason why it’s worth a closer look.

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