Last 7th May 2015, the United Kingdom (UK) had general election (GE). During the campaign, many experts and newspapers said that it would be the most unpredictable election that Britain ever had because two largest parties (i.e. the Conservative and the Labour) would have pretty similar popular votes and seats in parliament.
Surprisingly, the incumbent (i.e. Conservative) won the election with more than half of seats in parliament (321 seats) relatively with their main opposition (i.e. Labour) getting only 232 seats (36 percent), although their popular votes was not that different which were 11.3 million voters (36.9 percent) for Conservative and 9.3 million (30.4 percent) for Labour. This was the biggest loss in Labour’s History. For further details, please click this link.
The raise of the Scottish National Party (SNP) is one of the main reasons why Labour had a severe damage in GE 2015. Labour lost 40 seats in Scotland (from 41 seats in 2010 to 1 in 2015), whereas SNP won nearly all seats in Scotland (56 seats out of 59) in GE 2015, much higher than GE 2010 which was only 6 seats. Therefore, many people said that this election is a great earthquake for UK’s politics.
There are at least four interesting lessons that I learned from UK’s GE 2015.
First, just like in Indonesia, with very diplomatic statements all the losers denied the quick count results. On the other hand, the winner (i.e. Conservative) was so confident and thankful. This is a bit surprised me because I thought that British politicians would accept what quick count predicted. Moreover, the quick count was published by very prominent institutions (e.g. BBC) and it was supported by many experts and academicians. BBC used exit polls method in order to predict the GE result in 2015 which was quiet accurate.
On the D-day, BBC published their prediction at 10pm at the same day. The result showed that Conservative won the election with 316 seats, whereas Labour, SNP, LibDem, and UKIP got 239, 58, 10, and 2, respectively.
That is the power of science. We do not have to wait for the official result. We can predict who will win the election, how many seats that party X, Y or Z will get, just in hours after the polling stations were closed. We do not have to wait for weeks, or even days, to know the result. Hence, it is ridiculous if there are still some politicians deny reliable quick counts. Indeed, we can trust the quick count result as long as their methods follow academic rules.
Second, the election committee announced the final and official result in the next day. In contrast, Indonesia needed about two weeks to declare the official result. As usual, Sunderland, only 30 minutes driving where I live now, was the first constituency to announce GE 2015 result before 11pm at the D-day. I think it is important for Indonesian Election Committee (KPU) to learn why UK can be so fast in counting the votes, whereas we are so slow.
Third, the way how British politicians debate each other is insane. I never really care about other countries’ politics, in particular UK’s politics, until I watched British Prime Minister’s Questions Times (PMQs) in YouTube.
In contrast to Indonesia’s political debates, PMQs are very interesting, argumentative, intellectual, rich of data, and straightforward (even frequently rude). Something you will never ever see in Indonesian politics.
I prefer the British political debate system than the “Indonesian ways”. By implementing this system, people will know who bad and good politicians are. No space for a stupidity in public policies. A government must be run by rational people. Thus, we must kick the dumb politicians out of politics.
I am personally fed up with the hypocritical politicians and I think many people feel the same. I understand that many Indonesian people will disagree if we adopt British debate system in our politics. However, in fact the “polite” or “eastern” debate system creates a bunch of two-faced politicians in Indonesia.
Fourth, in contrast to political leaders in Indonesia, three leaders from top four of UK’s largest parties resigned within one hour after the official result was published. Those leaders are Ed Miliband – Labour (30 percent), Nigel Farage – UK Independent Party/UKIP (13 percent) and Nick Clegg – Liberal Democrat Party/LibDem (7 percent). Moreover, Farage still resigned as the UKIP’s leader, although he could make UKIP as the third largest party in UK in terms of popular votes (13 percent), although UKIP only got one seat in parliament. In addition, UKIP also was the party having the most significant popular vote growth.
Note: From left to right Cameron, Miliband, Farage, and Clegg.
On the other hand, the head of the largest party in Indonesia – PDIP, Megawati is already in position since 1999. No matter what happens with PDIP’s total votes (i.e. whether it is up or down), she always re-elect again and again. Aburizal Bakrie, SBY and Anis Matta are still in power, although their parties dropped in last election just like Mega in 2004 and 2009 or Muhaimin Iskandar in 2009. Ironically, Akbar Tandjung who made Golkar as the biggest party in 2004 was not re-elected for the next Golkar Chairman (2004-2009) defeated by Jusuf Kalla at that time. Obviously, there is something wrong in Indonesia’s politics.