The UK election 2015 explained for non-Brits | General election 2015

This is the Guardian guide to the British
election for the non-Brits. In many ways a British general election is terribly simple. The British parliament has just one elected chamber, the House of Commons. The House of Lords, the
so-called Upper Chamber, is crammed with appointees for life, a load of bishops and some left-over
posh people who actually inherited their seats. Nothing to vote for over there. The forthcoming
election is to choose the 56th Parliament, counting back to 1801 when the parliaments
of Ireland and Great Britain were amalgamated. Nowadays England, Northern Ireland and Scotland
together form the United Kingdom. Also included is a country to the left of England, approximately
the size of Wales, called Wales. In the election on May 7th, everybody who votes will be voting
for just one person, their local member of parliament, who is their representative in
the House of Commons at Westminster. The only people who vote directly for the Prime Minister
are the people who live in his constituency, because he is also their MP. After all the
votes are counted (quaintly, they still do this by hand, through the night), whichever
political party ends up with the majority of the Commons’ 650 seats gets to be the Government,
with that party’s leader as Prime Minister. Once the outcome is apparent, the new leader
drives to the Queen’s house and says “Hi, I’d like to form a government, please” and
she says “Yeah, fine, whatever”. Actually, no one knows what she says, because they don’t
show this part on television. So it’s that simple, or at least it can be. But sometimes,
no single party gets a majority. In the 2010 election the biggest finishers, the Conservatives,
came up 20 seats short. This is what’s called a ‘hung parliament’. In such an event, two
parties with enough seats between them to reach a majority can join forces to form a
coalition, sharing out cabinet positions and governing as a single entity. That’s what
happened last time. The Conservatives, or the Tories as they’re also known, formed a
coalition with the centre-left Liberal Democrats, who’d won 57 seats. The Tory leader, David
Cameron, became Prime Minister. Nick Clegg, the leader of the Lib Dems, became deputy
prime minister, and they even acted as if they were friends for a while. That’s them
there, pretending to hang out. Five years later, things don’t even look as simple as
all that. The polls are predicting another, even more hung parliament. The Tories are
unlikely to improve on their 2010 performance, and will probably lose some seats. Labour
will gain some, but not enough for a majority. Whichever of the two parties comes out on
top, there won’t be much in it. The Liberal Democrats, staggeringly unpopular after five
years in the Coalition, probably won’t end up with enough seats to hold the balance of
power either way, but a government must be coupled together somehow. All sorts of weird
combinations could be explored in the days after the election. Labour could form a coalition
with the vaguely like-minded Scottish National Party, which looks set to take a lot of seats
off Labour in Scotland, but Labour leader Ed Miliband has already said he won’t. Or
the Conservatives could enter into a three party coalition with the Democratic Unionist
Party of Northern Ireland and the Eurosceptic anti-immigrant party UKIP, that’s the UK Independence
Party, headed by this guy, Nigel Farage. You’ve probably seen him smoking cigarettes and drinking
beer and talking about no-go areas on Fox News Even if deals are struck, someone still
has to take the resulting patchwork to the Queen and say “Hi, I’d like to form a government
out of this sorry mess, please”. What will the Queen say to that? This is where things
get tricky. Constitutionally, the Queen is the source of the Government’s authority,
but she doesn’t actually have any authority. She’s advised by the Prime Minister and she
always sticks to the script, but who tells her what to do after an election? The Prime
Minister remains the Prime Minister until, if need be, he resigns, but in the case of
a hung parliament he’s also an interested party. The Queen might have to seek further
advice from legal experts and civil servants. What if there are competing proposals for
coalition, and conflicting advice going to the Queen? What if she actually has to make
a decision? One thing is for sure, in a country where you can bet on an election as well as
vote in it, there’s money to be made from electoral uncertainty. At the moment, you
can get good odds from bookmakers on there being another election before the year is

  1. I'm sorry to were put a spanner in the works, but I am not getting excited.

    You know why? because no matter who gets in, it will be the same story, child poverty, crime, social unrest, endless immigrants,, destruction of our dwindling countryside to build more homes for the endless number of people, the country getting in more debt, but tried to make out it's not by cooking the books, the endless lies from politicians, that we are doing well and we are not, still the same old environment where the few role in absolute luxury, while the many who feed them wallow in absolute poverty.

    So there is nothing new is there, on the horizon, just different faces with the same old garbage, reading from the same old book, we need to multiply, we need to grow, so we can feed the few at the top, until we have destroyed everything, so vote for us and follow us down the road to destruction.

    Our ancestors had the same policies based on the same system, endless growth, and they all collapse, and that's what we want to do, collapse, because we are not capable of governing ourselves in any other way, were too stupid ,selfish and greedy to create a better environment for us to live in, so we're just going to carry on destroying it.

    Remember everybody, we are the most intelligent life form on the planet, can't you see the way we behave, which proves it.

  2. I loved the video but I expected better from the Guardian @ 2:57. UKIP seems to want an immigration system like Australia. Australians aren't anti-immigrants are they? I'm not fond of UKIP (though honestly I'm not fond of Labour either, what a predicament) but at the same time spreading misinformation gets us nowhere.

    Hate them or not, it wouldn't hurt to get your facts right.

  3. I sincerely hope you (the guardian) don't' have have the temerity to call yourself a leftist newspaper. You ridiculed the Green party and champion the labour party. You have helped shift the center ground to the right. Shame on you.

  4. The Office of Prime Minister exists only in convention, and The Monarch invites the leader of the victorious party, or majority party in a coalition, to form a Government in her name. 

    As a side note, No 10 Downing Street is the residence afforded to The First Lord of The Treasury.

    I would not believe a thing this "Newspaper" says if I were you.

  5. Was anyone aware that a commonwealth country citizen in the UK has the right to vote here for parliamentary elections?  Indian, Pakistani, Australian nationals etc.  And no EU country members?  HOW FAIR IS THAT? Plain and simple discrimination!

  6. I voted. Have you? My vote is Mr. Ed Miliband​: The Labour Party​ #GE2015

  7. Why can't the guardian tell the truth about UKIP and not brand them falsely as anti immigrant?

  8. Really hope David will lose this time fs😒👌
    Voting for Labour✊💕Fuck the rest😂😂✊✊👌😒

  9. Do You Feel Voiceless?
    Each Subscriber = One Voice, Change Needs To Happen !
    Can We Get To 1,000,000 Voices ? Lets Find Out!

  10. Very biased view of UKIP. They're not anti-immgrants, they're for controlled immigration. I reckon those that think UKIP is anti-immigrate also probably don't know the difference between debit and deficit. The Guardian is just leftist propaganda.

  11. There is something really wrong here, that election wasn't right like the Scottish referendum 2014 – i am happy for the SNP but i can't believe the English people are so dumb. David cameron is going to destroy the country he hates the working class FUCK SAKE he invented zero percent contracts no other country has them.

  12. The Tory Multi-millionaire toffs ,win the UK general election   Both opposition parties wiped out after their two leaders ,put lucrative careers first at the expense of their supporters . The Blair legacy of betrayal ,when he backed President Bush in a disastrous war for all concerned ,especially the Iraqi people .left many labour voters disillusioned .and not bothering to vote .Nick Clegg the Liberal leader also destroyed his party by propping up Tory Cameron in a minority administration..  The wily Scots much more politically aware than the working class undereducated " Monarch "worshipers dumped the three of them Labour ,Tory & Liberal and voted for the Scottish Nationalist who will keep ,hard won health-care ,community & educational opportunities ,in tact .   For the English peasants it will be more of the same under Cameron ,worship of unelected wealthy royal spongers and .tax cuts for the wealthy and bigger queues at the food charity shops.   ps To give you an idea ,how powerful the grip of the establishment on the way Brits think ets  A recent opinion poll ,revealed that most Brits believed Britain made the main contribution in WW2,  Same in America  Despite the Soviets accounting for more than 85% of all Nazi casualties and liberating most of Europe ,   .only 13% of Americans ,were aware of it .

  13. The Guardian couldn't resist to slip a bit of propaganda in there. UKIP are pro-immigration control, not "anti-immigrant", their leader is married to one for crying out loud…

  14. Every election in the UK explained to non-Brits: The tedious process of a bunch of parasites trying their hardest to force us in to submission to vote for them. May 5th is the day the people vote for the most convincing liar.

  15. After all votes are counted they get thrown in the skip or missing ballot papers get ticked by the medias favourable government ie THE TORIES

  16. Hang on is Wales not part of the Kingdom of England anymore? It's just we share law with England and our head of state is Queen Elizabeth… Wikipedia says Wales is a devolved government within a Constitutional Monarchy… If were not a possession of the kingdom of England anymore, when did that stop being the case?
    Oh also UKIP isn't anti-immigrant they actually have the highest immigration cap proposed of all the parties. Which would make the other parties by comparison anti-immigrant. There stance is merely taking back the power to approve or deny entry from people entering the UK from the European Union. Bloody Guardian.

  17. It's funny watching the second half of this video after the election took place, "the tories won't improve on their 2010 performance…"

  18. 63% of British People NEVER VOTED FOR CAMERON. More than 6million voted UKIP. That's what Buckingham Palace calls Democracy. It's what the general public call A SCAM.

  19. Watching this socialist propaganda after Ol' Dave and the Tories BTFO'd Labour and won a majority makes me proud to be a spiritual member of the Conservative Party.

    Your friend from the United States.

  20. How unbelievably bias this is towards Labour is just hilarious. I would have loved to meet the editors of the Guardian after the Tories won the election! XD

  21. wow, so close to being politically neutral there Guardian, but took a ad hominem quicky on Nigel Farage eh?

    greetings from US.

  22. Have you made another video that explains the conditions (and strategies) under which an early election can be called (which is also different from the US system). Thanks

  23. When I read about how the Party Leaders are chosen, I always see that the, "Party Members", vote the Leaders in.
    Pardon my ignorance but what do they mean by, "Party Members"?
    Are they the Civilians that the Party represents or are they the Politicians that represent the Civilians?

  24. Correction: UKIP are anti open border immigration actually. Surely branding them as anti-immigrant all together is on a par with slander. People actually go around believing this to be true and continue to perpetuate this miss-information without first educating themselves. Much like you have here, I'm talking to you The Guardian!

  25. so ignorant, typical of the guardian "showing the whole picture". the queen asks the PM if he would like to become the government

  26. Hey UK!!!

    -the loss of Gibraltar
    -the loss of Scotland
    -the loss of NI
    -the loss of GDP
    -the loss of Jobs
    -the loss of Power
    -the loss of existing Treatments
    -the loss of your dignity
    -the loss of your importance

    You got in your hands to stop that madness called BREXIT. Sure there might be some losses too, the UK-Rebate for example. But better than to becom a wild unimportant Island on the border of a big booming continent!!

    We will see in this election, what the UK-People REALLY wants (not some little english who are dreaming from times that are gone forever and never will come back)

  27. This title popping up seems SO funny! Watch "The U.K. Voting ego, who ARE you voting for onJune 8th?" For a much, much better idea.


  28. Funny presentation; but remember it is not the winning party leader who goes to the monarch and offers to form a government. Rather, it is the monarch who summons the person who can command a majority government and invites them to form a government.

  29. Bit late to the party but in no sane world can the Lib Dems be described as "centre-left". They're centre to centre-right, and were even more pro-austerity than the Tories.

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