Monday, June 8, 2009

European Parliament Elections: Britain

In this post, last August, I wrote about how the British Labor Party, which had been a minor factor in that country's politics during its first two decades, suddenly emerged as a major party, in a 1924 general election.

The results of this year's European Parliament elections were declared yesterday. You have to go back further than that 1924 breakthrough, to find an election at which Labor scored worse than they did in the EU election last Thursday.

During the past few days, I've been listening, via the Web and NPR, to several BBC radio reports about the current British political situation. One journalist identified a benchmark for judging the impact of the election results on the Labor Party, and its leader, Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He said that, if the far-right British National Party (BNP) won a seat, that would be a disaster for Labor. Well, the BNP did not win a seat; they won two of them.

Here is the BBC's summary of the results.

The Conservatives finished first and gained one seat. The anti-EU UK Independence Party ran second, also making a one-seat gain. Labor, in third place, finished lower than second for the first time during the period when the European Parliament has been directly elected (those elections began in 1979).

Brown is scheduled to address a meeting of his party's members of the House of Commons, later today. That gathering is being watched for any indications of an attempt to oust Brown, and force an early general election.

No comments: