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Thoughts On London’s Elections

During our trip to London a week ago, Micah Sifry and I were invited to sit in on a live webcast by Brian Paddick who is running for Mayor of London as a Liberal Democrat. The Lib Dems, despite the name, are really not the equivalent of the progressives in this country. That’s really the Labor party. The Lib Dems are more or less a combination of what we might consider moderates and libertarians. Their big hook is fiscal responsibility, environmental responsibility, local control, and empowering the people.

As a result of sitting in on that web chat, and being exposed to London politics for a few days, I’ve really taken an interest in the campaign. Ryan Alexander (who works for Jerome Armstrong’s firm) was the one that invited us to the webcast and sent a couple of web videos along this morning. I thought I’d share not only the vids by Paddick’s folks, but a couple featuring the Tories and the Labor Party as well.

The electoral environment in London is a lot like ours. The Labor Party has been in power for a long time, is held in relatively low esteem by the Brits, and a lot of people are expecting the incumbent Mayor to lose. The current favorite is Boris Johnson – a game show host turned politician.

The election is a form of instant runoff with every Londoner casting a first and second choice for Mayor. If nobody breaks 50%, the top two finishers advance and all the second choice votes are redistributed to the two finalists.

Also interesting to note is the strength of the British National Party. They’re the David Dukes of UK politics. (Check out the welcome video on their home page and count the number of non-Caucasians it features and the subtle “we’ll put you first” messaging to the whities.) Frighteningly, the BNP is expected to pick up a number of local seats in the elections.

Ken & Friends World Tour


More videos after the jump

Missing Idiot


Boris Johnson: Second Mayor of London


Arnold Schwarzenegger on Boris Johnson


Attack Ad on Ken Livingstone


Written by Michael Turk