The Guardian is reporting that Gordon Brown will ask Her Majesty the Queen to dissolve the British Parliament tomorrow morning, triggering a General Election on May 6. This will lead to four weeks of intense campaigning, including the first-ever televised debates between party leaders in the UK, and an election whose outcome is really up in the air right now. The polls are all over the place, with all suggesting a Conservative lead, but thanks to the vagaries of the British electoral system, the Conservatives need a lead of about ten points to secure a working majority. Anything less may result in a “hung Parliament,” which may lead to unstable coalition government, a minority government, or (most likely) another election in October. ConservativeHome is your best source for up-to-date news on the polls.
This election is likely to be perplexing for an American conservative, as no party – except possibly the sadly marginal UK Independence Party – is going to campaign on a platform recognizably right-wing in the American sense. (One wonders why something that worked in Massachusetts would not work in the UK, but we are not going to be given that option.) From the looks of things, Labour will be campaigning on a platform that doesn’t look too different from the Conservative Party’s in the mid-1950s, and the Conservatives, well, likewise. I’ll have more to say on this subject in days to come as the parties release their manifestoes.