As I write, Nick hasn’t updated last night’s post on the UK election, but it’s a good summary. Enjoy.
It looks like campaigning vigorously against the war in Iraq is worth about a 4 percent swing in Britain. Who’s Old Europe now?
The left-of-center vote there is also nearly two-thirds of the electorate. That’s a long slog for the Conservatives, even if they go into the next election with a leader who does not have something of the night about him. (Though he’s hardly Chancellor Palpatine.)
Speaking of which, take a gander at the photos on the BBC election page and just try not to think “Michael Howard, something of the night.” On the other hand, none of the big three looks all that great. The re-elected Prime Minister looks blurred, and Charles Kennedy looks as if the caricature might be true.
Still, with two-thirds of even Great Britain voting in social-democratic territory, look for the German conservatives to rediscover their social concerns well before next fall’s national elections. Also look for a good bit of Bush-bashing, more from the left than the right. After all, you never know when the extra percent or two that Bush-bashing brings will come in handy.
I was talking the other night with a couple of people reasonably well informed about foreign policy in DC. I asked whether the fact that, even among close allies of the US, campaigning explicitly against Bush was worth a couple of points in an election was a cause for concern in Republican circles. One said they probably liked it that way. The other said it probably was a question of concern, but Western Europe had burned up a lot of credibility and wasn’t likely to find a receptive audience.
Speaking of burned credibility, pity about Galloway. Still, if a Brit happens to wax patronizing about poor choices made by your electorate (wherever that may be), Galloway’s election will be a handy rhetorical club.
Like Edward, I also see in these results a reasonable likelihood that the UK will vote yes on the constitutional treaty. A lot of political water will pass under the bridge before then, but the electorate has chastised Blair and can thus better consider the referendum on the merits.