Why British 2010 General Elections? It is interesting to note that the British system has for a long time been compared to the system of election in the United States of America. Both journalists and critics have been quoted claiming that even the naming of the political parties in the British system follows that of the United States. There however lies some major contrast in the systems approach and the general guidelines in the election system. For example, while the U. S.’s political approach is based on one thing, the British’s political scene is based on another and the governing departments are different too in their mandate and execution of their roles. In this essay, the learner intends to achieve a couple of issues that have been a challenge even to the media personalities. To start with, the learner aims to show that the political parties do their campaigns and strategies following their predefined divisional approach. The term divisional is used in this paper to refer to an approach whereby the political parties deliberately and consistently make their policies and manifestoes in line with certain target groups like the working class and the ‘salariat’ groups in an effort to focus their attention to a group that they think is a clear majority.

Secondly, the learner intends to show that despite the utilization of words like the ‘middle class’ during the campaign trails, the word has a myriad of meanings to different political parties that these parties use in some mischievous ways to win as much votes as they can possibly get. Thirdly, the Blair Effect (Seldon and Kavanagh 2005) and the success of the Labour Party for a third successive time was attributed to the fact that the financial market in Britain and the European Union had a good time unlike the current state of affairs as of writing of this paper. Fourthly, the success of the Labour Party during Blair’s third term in premiership office was mainly backed by vows instead of past success stories in terms of fulfilment of their manifesto and promises. Lastly, the learner will argue that the success of the Conservative Party is mainly attributed to the fact that the party has had a clean record as far as fulfilling their promises is concerned. The Conservative Party also enjoys the privilege of having upbeat portfolio managers who utilize any available means and technology to get to their voters.

Brief History of Labour Party

The Labour Party and the Conservative Party have been the two leading political parties in the British history whereby the trends have been passed on from generation to generation. Although the two political parties have been exchanging victories in that at one time the Labour Party wins and at another the Conservative wins, something happened between 1979 and 1992 that saw the Labour party lose immensely (Wickham-Jones 2006). It is noted that the loss was mainly attributed to the fact that there were wrong policies in place at that time. In reality, when the voters make comparison between the policies and promises that one political party claims it will fulfil and that of the other, the voters will favour what seems favourable to them and thus the successive failure by the Labour Party for four runs.

What favoured the Labour Party during the 1997 general election was the fact that the Queen informed the politicians that she intended to have the politicians focus on creating a conservative market economy (Biffen 1997, p. 46). This was to be coupled with focus on wealth creation and an increase in the social-market programme-capitalization, which was the perfect ingredient in line with Labour Party’s manifesto (Biffen 1997, p. 46). Success would have been experienced in the 1992 general election had it not been for the anomalies that were there as noted by Burnam (1997, p. 122).

The 2010 British General Election

Analysts have come up with many views and approaches to their analysis of the 2010 general election especially with the proposal of the transferable voting system (Packman 2011). It is purported that the system introduced something totally new in the market that makes it possible to know the intensions of voters based on how they would likely prioritize their voting. In Wakefield (2003), it is noted that Blair’s success to start the third term was mainly attributed to the fact that the party depended on the tactical votes that is also an idea that is supported by Packman (2011).

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Tactical voting is the kind of voting whereby the voter who supports one political party decides to cast a vote in support of a party that is looking to be on the winning trail so that they can feel that their vote is effective (Packman 2011). The labour party never quite had enough convincing manifesto as previously and they had to rely on the voters shifting from the Liberal party and other inferior parties in favour of Labour Party (Packman 2011).

In the May 2010 general election, the Conservative Party won the elections but not with the margin they would have expected (‘The British Election Study 2011). Neither the Conservative Party nor the Labour Party had a majority representation for proper decision making in the House of Commons (Packman 2011). The following is data as per the political party performance in the 2010 general election

Political Party

Number of Seats

Percentage Votes Garnered



36 %



29 %

Liberal Democrats


23 %



12 %

To start with, it has been found out that all the political parties in Britain make use of the term ‘middle class’ (Wakefield 2003, p. 13). However, in their utilization, they do not mean the same thing for different political parties. Wakefield (2003) notes that according to the Conservative party, the terms middle class are intended to mean the group of people that form the basic majority of their support (p. 13). These are groups that can only be defined in terms of the various social groups under which they individually fall into as per the definitions given by the political parties and the media in general (Wakefield 2003, p. 13).

For example, the sociologists will use denotations like C1 and C2 on these categories while the journalists use Middle Britain (Wakefield 2003, p. 13). In the 1997 general election, the Labour Party made good use of these middle class groups to gain ground while entwining sweetening words to woo as many to their side as they could (Wakefield 2003, p. 13).  This shows that the political party did not quite have a strong agenda for their election and relied on otherwise futile words to win the election which is possibly due to the fact that they had realised over the past four general elections, what they stood for was not good enough. Labour party had to win by all means possible.

According to Chan and Goldthorpe (2007), for the people who fall in the class of salariat as well as those in the petty bourgeoisie group, their interests would only be addressed by the Conservative party which is also an indication that class played a major role in making decision on the political party to support. The manifesto of the Conservative was made in such a way that it was in line with this group’s expectations. On the other hand, those that did not fit in this category saw it more likely that their needs would be addressed in the Labour Party and thus the ‘hung parliament’ as noted in Bogdanor (2009; Packman), ‘Election’ (2010; Packman 2011).

This shows that the voters were divided into social groups that they would most likely fit into and some sort of imposition made on the likely party to support.

Looking at the Blair Effect and the success of the Labour Party, it is clear that this was made out of vows unlike the previous ones. For one Blair vowed to pursue and win the bid for Britain to host the 2012 Olympic Games (Seldon and Kavanagh 2005). Secondly, after the terrorist attack on British soil, Blair acted as a true statesman and depended on that to win his bid for the Labour Party (Seldon and Kavanagh 2005). Blair also made a promise that there was going to be a fresh start on the European Union as well as an upbeat leadership in the G-8 summit that saw major changes and decisions made especially as far as world financial market and peace is concerned (Seldon and Kavanagh 2005).

On the other hand the Conservative Party was known for keeping a better share of their promises and thus loyal supporters (The British Election Study 2011).


In conclusion, the British election system has similarities with that of U. S. though major differences in political arena exist. It is a fact that Labour Party between 1979 and 1992 had lost four successive elections before winning three successive ones during the Blair Effect. Although the Conservative Party won the May 2010 general election, there was a hung parliament as predicted by Bogdanor. The successes of the parties were majorly from divisional approach, different definition accorded to the terms middle class, the Blair Effect and Vows.

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