Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The Last Days of Westminster

I do stand by what I wrote in the last post, in general, it was what I thought at the time of 'Bigot Gate'(and posted a few days later when I had time...). But I've read and heard more opinion and occasionally I do get fleeting moments of sympathy for Gordon Brown. And I'm very much open to new ideas and beliefs... I'm likely to vote for my fourth different party in the last 13 years.

Politics is not the same as football, there should be no loyalty to a party. It's not a betrayal, not anymore. Some Labour members might even consider that now and it looks like there was one potential example in the papers on Tuesday; 'crazy old' Manish Sood, as he's now known in the party.


Anyway the media did blow things out of proportion with Bigot Gate, as they always do. But it is difficult to get a sense of proper proportion with modern media as it is; the internet, 24 hour TV. Though the TV debates have opened up this election and it is the most uncertain in years, it hasn't been hugely exciting, so a media that does have an anti-Brown slant was always going to jump on it. Ripping into Brown is easy and more interesting than with Cameron or Clegg.

And with the internet everyone has their say. I think there was something underlying the incident, but it is an election campaign so a lot the opinion was partisan and perhaps not fully considered. From all out attack on Brown throughout the election many will quickly defend but I'm still slightly surprised how many people actually feel sorry for him.

(One voter on BBC breakfast actually said they'd decided to vote Labour because of the incident and sympathy for Brown. Pity for the Prime Minister is as good a reason as any to vote for your local MP)

As I've made clear on this blog, I'm not a huge fan of Brown and I did find it tremendously easy to take a stance against him. But I'm not biased, I don't endorse the Conservatives. If Cameron had got caught out calling some toff a 'tosser'...
No, it's not the same is it? Everyone would love that.

Cameron is overheard reminiscing over some old snaps

"Yeah, they were all c**ks."

Or if Nick Clegg was overheard calling... Er, someone... Paddy Ashdown perhaps. Calling him an 'old f***wit'... Well, probably no-one would blink an eyelid.

Clegg actually made a slight gaffe the other day saying 'Lord Ashdown' when he meant Ashcroft, but barely an eyelid battered... And I can't find a trace of it on the internet. The Lib Dems are still not quite on an equal footing in the media.

But Nick has done well, there's no doubting it

"Kneel before Clegg!"

All because of the TV debates, so imagine how different things could have been...

"Should have been me!"

"It could've been me, if I weren't such a p***head, right?!"

"What's that?"

Whichever way you look at it, Labour's former core support, generally what was the working class, hasn't done very well out of 13 years of Labour rule. The Toffs however, no matter what the Tories thought of them, did very well indeed out of 18 years of the Conservatives.

But that's enough of this particular 'Gate'. I really do need to move on, we all do...

"Now f*** off!"

I'll move away from the personalities though I will meander back to it of course. Throughout the campaign I've always meant to get round to the issues, just like Brown and his mates keep on telling us to, but when I've been drawn to the TV debates, and focused on the images and the sound-bites. So, very much like the overall story of the coverage of the election.

Labour talked about substance but when you did listen there wasn't a lot there. So what we had was the rise of the Liberal Democrats, the idea of choice and the possibility of electoral reform bringing real change. Not the fake kind of change that David Cameron offers. A lot of people wouldn't agree because they won't have have wanted to see that. Labour has some staunch support and the Tories are still looking at a potential majority and the rest of us, at a great threat to reform.

Catching a few bits of the First Time Voters' Question Time tonight and the subject of personality and issues was raised, again. But the point was made that although image, etc, has dominated the coverage that doesn't mean that voters will decide on the personalities. Some may be swayed, but people will consider the policies and how a party's government might effect them, as well as good old loyalty, misplaced or otherwise.

Labour supporters, on the back foot from the very start on personality, have harked on about the issues, but as I have identified on this blog, we have just heard the same sound bites and mantras, repeated ad nauseam. And there has been no real debate, Labour have the record to examine, but deny any problem or fault (the 10p tax band is the only one that springs to mind, not enough focus on the likes of that). So as I have heard throughout their government, the electorate is patronised and effectively told they are mistaken. Forget the issues, that is the style and the spin of their years in government.

Disparity is the thing that always sticks out in my mind about Labour's failures over the last 13 years. It is not just about the divide between the rich and the poor, but also the young and the old, the public and private sector. The financial safety and stability large numbers from the Baby Boomers have benefited from, even after the recent downturns, differs greatly from the insecurity and uncertainty that younger generations are confronted with. Similar differences exist between the public and private sector, particularly defined at the lower end of the scale, in terms of conditions and benefits. Though each party says it would address the public sector deficit, Labour have created the current situation

Just have they have economically. The Tories are not necessarily blameless in creating the economic structure we have, but Labour had 13 years and if Gordon Brown is still willing to accept the plaudits for the growth during his years as chancellor, he should accept full responsibility for the current situation. I am continually amazed but the numbers who cannot see through his smoke and mirrors explanations and excuses. He must indeed be a clever man, a convincing man.

Brown here, either attempting mind control or a skull grip

"Let me make you understand..."

But as the Tories are not blameless in terms of the nature of our economy, nor will they provide a solution. Laid bare their economics will always be Laissez-faire, they can't help it...

I don't know about economic reform, but the only thing I think we can hope for it electoral reform and hopefully a new direction emerging from that. At least it could save us from this bloody 'Big Society'. It doesn't sound very big and it certainly isn't clever.

I don't go all the way down the barking right wing Daily Mail line, they may have some substance in a few of their stories, though not a lot... Never let it be said that they overstate a point, but today's front page took scaremongering to a new level.
(I will post a pic when I find one)
Britannia with dark glasses and stick heading towards a cliff and storm following the sign to 'Hung Parliament', as Sun rises in the direction of 'Strong Government'

The headlines states "Vote DECISIVELY to stop Britain walking blindly into disaster".

That's right; 'disaster'...!

Where to begin...? That could be used in the definition of electoral scaremongering.

So thousands of crazy Tory supporters, run out and vote as they would have anyway...? You may have swung the odd Tory wet, but I would hope little more.

A hung parliament would be the best way to bring us towards electoral reform and the public do have a desire for it.

The Tories have no desire for it and for obvious reasons. They want, what is essentially a right wing minority in this country, to have the ability to govern the rest of the nation.

A system that allows any small minority to hold sway and impose its wishes on the whole of the nation is entirely unfair and no longer acceptable.

The problems of hung parliaments and coalition governments are being wheeled out and I think the arguments involving Italy and Greece are weak. Greece? We're not there yet (are we...?) and I'm not sure it's the electoral system that's the problem. And Italy? Come on, I think even they'd admit we don't have corruption on the scale they've had, not just now... There are so many PR systems in the world, and in the regions of this nation, but obviously the critics don't mention the successes and benefits, they mention a basket case and the home of the mafia (sorry, but it is...).

I've always advocated the German system and yes they've always had their problems, but they're a little more secure than we are at the moment. The system is proportional but retains a constituency aspect and it was designed to produce consensus.

Critics here talk of backroom and dodgy dealing, but surely haven't they all just promised to clean up our politics. Greater transparency should be part of that and therefore part of any new system. A cleaner, fairer system needs to be forced on our politicians.

Labour's talk of tactical voting shows how ridiculous and archaic the system is.


But of course it does illustrate the absurdity of the system. That voting for the party you support doesn't count and you have to vote for a party you don't support to keep from government a party you dislike.

It is desperate and shouldn't exist. However, the paradox is that yes the overall absurdity of the system is likely to be its downfall if we have a hung parliament, but a specific distasteful aspect, the tactical vote, might keep the Tories out and be the straw that broke the camel's back.

And though the reform is what I would like to see I can't say I like the way Labour go about it. Peter Hain says the aim is to drive through political reform, but let's be honest, they only mentioned electoral reform a few months before the impending election when they were staring defeat in the face. And then they only offer Alternative Vote, a half baked idea that isn't necessarily fairer at all (it's a struggle for many to even choose one party). They've had 13 years and only when their backs are to the wall... Pathetic.

Jack Straw revealed the true attitude of the party machine when he said the only alternative to a Labour government is a Conservative government. Don't let then fool anyone on this as well, they were very happy having a minority vote giving them a healthy majority. I can't believe anyone would be fooled...

On newsnight tonight, a former civil servant from the Heath/Wilson era spoke about the possible outcomes of a hung parliament. He alluded to what I believe is convention, that if Labour do get the most seats he will remain Prime Minister until resigns and all deals are done.

I would hope Brown has some self respect. Because if I wake up on Friday morning and Labour have come third with the most seats and Brown is stubbornly clinging to power...

I'll be marching on London!

Who's with me?!!


Well that's supposed to be Owain Glyndwr.

Ok a bit more populist

"Electoral reform!"

And for some English balance. Wat Tyler, apparently...

But this is more like it.

The Chartists in Newport

Let's land one back on the likes of Prescott...

We're witnessing the demise of a relic


Quickly back to personalities, if anyone's still interested
I did like this article by Charlie Brooker, mainly because I think I saw a clip of Brown in Tesco (if not it was a similar walkabout).


His robotic lines were pricelss and I was thinking 'vaguely' human. But maybe I am being a bit harsh on him...

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