Today, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, makes his way to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen to inform her that Parliament will be dissolved and the Election campaign begins. With 38 days to go to Polling Day, many Americans may see this as cutting it a bit fine but in Britain we do not have those long drawn campaigns that you guys suffer for several months... and for this we are grateful.
Last time I checked, there were 650 seats in the House up for grabs. One Party has to gain more than half of those to sweep into Downing Street, or the British politico will have another coalition to form and, unfortunately, this is seemingly the possible scenario for 2015.
The main parties who are vying for the British vote are...
Conservatives - blue - David Cameron
Labour - red - Ed Milliband
Liberal Democrats - yellow - Nick Clegg
UKIP - purple - Nigel Farange
Green Party - well, green - Natalie Bennett
The SNP (Scotland) and Welsh parties also hold seats in Parliament and will come under "other" but, collectively, should be taken seriously on how that could impact outcomes.
The biggest issue currently is the country's economy, and how that is not only going to impact trade and jobs into the future, but also on a more individual basis when it comes to kitchen table economics for families and workers. Access to affordable homes is another big issue, as is immigration and our relationship with the European Union. The state of the National Health Service is always given a lot of attention, as is education and local services. The benefit system in Britain is currently being restructured as is private pensions legislation. And corporation and multi-national taxation, or lack of, is getting some attention.
Hope some of us Brits around here can help you with any confusions or at least pass on some knowledge on a system that has some differing nuances than the US, so let's get the show on the road and let's play nicely along the way.