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Poll: Lab-Lib or Con-Lib?

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In the current case of a hung parliament, we now have to wait for decisions to be made regarding coalitions.

Personally, I think the public should have the option to vote for which coalition. This may, or may not, take a while – but then we don’t really know how long we’ll be waiting anyway.

If you did have the option to choose, which would you prefer?


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Timeline: General Elections 2010

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It’s official that we now have a hung parliament. I’m still not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, or even completely sure what it means, the only certainty is that we still don’t know what’s going on, and it may well be a while.

Here’s a look back at some key, and interesting, events in the run up to polling day.

6 April 2010 – The Queen agrees to the dissolution of parliament. Brown announces there is to be a general election on May 6 2010. The race begins.

8 April 2010 – Both Labour and Tory accused of infringing copyright by using a picture from Ashes to Ashes on their campaign posters.

Conservative campaign poster

Labour campaign poster

9 April 2010 – Labour candidate Stuart McLennan forced to stand down after posting offensive comments on Twitter.

12 April 2010 – Labour launch their manifesto.

Jeremy Paxman interviewed Nick Clegg (so far, unsuprisingly, neither Brown or Cameron agreed to be interviewed by Paxman).

This is when my personal interest in Clegg and Liberal Democrats began, after being impressed with his ability to give somewhat straight answers under Paxman’s interrogation – an ability that politicians usually lack.

13 April 2010 – Conservative and Liberal Democrats launch their manifestos.

The leaders battle it out on live television

Richard Hughes of Keane was unimpressed with the Tories playing their song at the launch.

15 April 2010 – The first leader’s debate makes history as the first time UK party leaders have gone head to head in front of a television audience.

It was this debate that saw the beginning of ‘Cleggmania’ – various opinion polls showed that Clegg ‘won’ the debate. ‘I agree with Nick’ (#iagreewithnick) became a popular phrase after both Cameron and Brown’s use of the phrase.

21 April 2010 – David Cameron gets an egg thrown at him by a 16-year-old in Cornwall. The yolk unfortunately stained his fresh shirt.

22 April 2010 – The people of Twitter decided to blame pretty much everything on Nick Clegg, adopting the hashtag #nickcleggsfault. This fights back at newspaper bias of stories in the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Express and the Sun.

#nickcleggsfault

The hashtag #nickcleggsfault used across the world

The second leaders’ television debate. Brown and Cameron didn’t agree with Clegg as much – perhaps recognising him as a slight threat now.

Marmite threatened to take legal action when the product is shown in a BNP broadcast.

23 April 2010 – Jeremy Paxman interviews David Cameron. Cameron states he wouldn’t join forces with Clegg in the event of a hung parliament.

27 April 2010 – Conservative candidate Philip Lardner is suspended after claiming on his website that homosexuality is ‘not normal behaviour’.

28 April 2010 – ‘BigotGate’, or ‘Gordon’s Gaffe’. The press goes crazy after a microphone was left on and recorded Brown in his car calling a bigotted woman, well, a bigot. He is later followed by a crowd of reporters to her house to apologise.

Gordon Brown talking to Mrs Duffy, who he later brands a 'bigot'

Gordon Brown talking to Mrs Duffy, who he later brands a 'bigot'

29 April 2010 – The third leaders’ debate in which, according to opinion polls, David Cameron seemed to be the favourite.

30 April 2010 – Controversially, the Guardian announces it back the Liberal Democrats. It differs, at least, from Murdoch’s famous Tory-backing empire, but again raising the issue as to whether or not newspapers should be impartial.

Jeremy Paxman interviews Gordon Brown, quizzing him about the economy, the expenses scandal, immigration and ‘BigotGate’

Voters queuing at polling station (from guardian.co.uk)

Voters queuing at local polling station

2 May 2010 – Another homophobic strike for Conservative when it comes out that Tory MP Philipa Stroud ran prayer sessions to ‘cure’ gay people.

4 May 2010 – Labour candidate Manish Sood states that “Gordon Brown has been the worst Prime Minister we have had in this country.”

6 May 2010 – Polling day – the talk of the night being that thousands of people across the country were turned away at 10pm and not allowed to vote – even after some had been queueing since 7pm.

I stayed up to watch Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night. This way I felt cultured without being bored half to death. No matter how interested in politics I’ve become over the past month – waiting for 650-odd constituencies to count some papers is never going to be that exciting! Comedy is a godsend

7 May 2010 – Results show that there is officially a hung parliament. The wait begins!

Clegg: Tweeting his way to victory?

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I’ve caught the election bug.

When I heard there was to be a general election next month, I immediately buried my head in Wikipedia, and various other web pages, teaching myself the basics of politics. I decided I wanted to grab hold of my first opportunity to vote – and make sure I used it wisely.

After finally managing to understand (well, kind of) the whole left-right-centre thing, as well as the main ideologies of the three leading parties.

'X' marks the spot.

I’ve never before been interested in politics (I’ve always shared the popular opinion: ‘it’s boring, and they’re all liars and cheats anyway, so what’s the point?’). However, I’ve suddenly grown a slight addiction to watching, reading and listening to politics news coverage, checking policies against each other and watching and reading manifestos as they come out. I wasn’t brought up with a particular political stance – my parents pretty much have the same opinion that I did, so it’s completely up to me to decide, from scratch, where I put the ‘X’ on May 6.

I think the most important thing we need is change, to get us out of this economical mess and move forward as a country. So for real change – parliamentary change for starters – many people believe that Labour should be out of power. Then there’s their main competitor, the Tories. Conservatives are all about traditionalism, and seems to favour the upper classes by ways of hierarchy. The recent proposal the Conservative Party has put forward (£150 tax break for married and civil partnered couples) to me, seems a massive step backward for our society. This favours traditional 2.4 families over single-parent families as well as modern couples who feel they don’t need or want to wed to lead a happy life. So can we really expect to move forward with Tories in power? For me, that’s them out. That leaves the Liberal Democrats, who don’t really have a chance anyway.

At least that’s what everyone thought.

Nick Clegg was adamant from the beginning that this election was not going to be a two-man race, and it seems that since the very first TV election debate between the three leaders, Lib Dems may actually have a chance. Opinion polls show closing gaps between the parties, some even placing Clegg on top. While watching the Leaders’ Debate, I was following reactions through the masses of tweets flooding with the hashtag #leadersdebate. A recurring opinion is that Clegg came across as the most genuine and calm out of the three (it seems Cameron and Brown would rather directly insult each other than discuss policies).

'Facebookers': Campaigning for the impossible?

10 Downing Tweets provides a snapshot of Twitter’s party preferences, currently showing Clegg as leading with 39% of the vote. Following the success of getting Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name to Christmas No. 1, Facebook users are attempting a similar campaign attempting to win Lib Dems power this year.

Social networking and microblogging seem to be playing a big part in this year’s election. An increasing amount of political organisations, politicians and local MPs (and even Nick Clegg himself) having Twitter and Facebook accounts, ‘keeping up with the times’, communicating with many first-time voters, and fighting for the most fans and followers.

So can we expect a huge change in parliament? Or even a hung parliament? Who knows… but I do believe social networking may well be very influential in the outcome.

Tweeting?

Some suggestions of accounts to follow

in the run-up to the elections:

@tweetminster

@10DowningTweets

@BBCElection

@GdnPolitics

@UKLabourParty

@Conservatives

@libdems

@nick_clegg