At 11pm sharp, 10pm London Time, the tension in the room was palpable. 120 members and friends of the ABS who had crowded into Isaac’s International Pub for this most important UK Election Night turned their attention to the big screen in front.
A collective loud gasp of breath could be heard as the BBC anchorman announced the incredible news: According to these early forecasts the Conservatives under David Cameron were heading for a majority in the Westminster Parliament, Ed Miliband’s Labour trailing far behind in second place having been virtually wiped out in Scotland as many had expected and the Scottish National Party under Nicola Sturgeon having won a landslide victory in Scotland winning 56 Scottish Seats out of a total of 59, positioning themselves as perhaps a small but formidable number three and future thorn in the flesh of the Tories. Disappeared from the political scene as a clear punishment for having gone to bed with the Conservatives were Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats. The far right and extreme anti European United Kingdom Independence Party of the former Car Salesman Nigel Farage is expected to get a couple of seats.
“A highly sophisticated level of uncertainty,” our Vice President Ambassador Dr. Alexander Christiani called it to the amusement of the audience when asked by his interviewer, Board Member Senator Jochen Ressel, what the possible outcome of the election will be. That was obviously before the news.
Before was also a very informative Question and Answer presentation by them. We learnt that the main issue is not domestic but Europe. It is widely recognised that the British people are very eurosceptical but do not necessarily want to leave the EU but rather want a better deal, as they see it, from Brussels. Dr Christiani ended his interview by spending some time in explaining to us the principles of the UK election system, which is known as “First Past the Post” or Majority System or as he called it “Winner takes it all!”
Quite impressive is the fact that once more the ORF appeared at an ABS event with a camera crew, which proves how important our organisation has become. First was an interview with our President Dr Kurt Tiroch, then other members had the opportunity also to voice their opinions on the election. One predicted an outright win for the Tories, whilst someone else feared that a Departure of the UK from Europe would have negative repercussions. My Scottish wife, oh fame at last, regretted that she was not able to vote since she is no longer a resident in the UK but was happy to be in Vienna and the author of these lines was quite adamant in his assertion that the Tories must not win to prevent the UK from leaving the EU. Viewers of ZIB24 were able to watch this on the night as well as the complicated exercise in completing the UK Election Quiz for the “ABS Politics Guru 2015”.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” is from a well know poem by the Scottish bard Robert Burns, which is usually quoted when something did not happen according to plan. Appropriately by now you will ask, “Why is there no mention of the Sensational 70s?” Well, the reason was simple: The police had slammed an interdict on disco noise emanating from this establishment. Watching moving pictures on the screen without the accompanying sound meant that the first part of the evening had to be regrettably abandoned.
Puts quite a different slant on the phrase: “If you remember the 70s you haven’t been there”. We were there but will remember it the next time. A repeat performance has already been planned.