While I won't comment in general about the UK political system--I'm entirely an outsider--there's two things about how the election is being conducted that I admire.
- Short election cycles. Due to the possibility of snap elections (or of a government failing on a no-confidence vote, which hasn't happened since 1979), elections in the UK don't always occur at regular intervals. Elections have to be called no later than five years apart, but can be called sooner. The result of this is the campaign/election cycle is far shorter--measured in weeks, not months. In the US, it seems, political campaigns are permanent--especially in the House, where members stand for election every two years, and for the Presidency--where the presumptive GOP field is busily running for the nomination all while denying they are running for anything.
- A very short interregnum. Obama was elected in November 2008, then inaugurated two and a half months later. If Brown loses the election, he is expected to vacate No. 10 Downing Street the next day. Presumptive winner David Cameron will be invited by the Queen to form a government the next day. No transition teams, no lame duck period, no last-minute pardons or mischievous rulemaking, no practical jokes left by disgruntled staffers. While a longer interregnum is useful in cases the election results are in dispute (see 2000), it doesn't serve much of a purpose in the usual case where there is a clear winner and loser.