Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Election Blog (18)

The grande dame of Guardian columnists, Polly Toynbee, was recently complaining that the electorate were behaving like unprincipled, selfish consumers - 'it's all me, me, me' I think she said.
Yesterday she reported on meeting many voters around the country who, despite having personally benefited from some Labour policies, felt so strongly about the slaughter of 100,000 people in Iraq that they would not be voting Labour.
So was Polly pleased to find people putting principle before self-interest? Was she heck as like. Ungrateful idiots was the gist of her piece: 'anger, abuse, grudge and grumble' she moaned.
The poor old voters can't win when they're being judged from the Olympian heights of a Blairite Guardian columnist.


At the Sedgefield declaration we shall be reminded that Blair's middle name is 'Lyndon'. Do we know whether he was named after American President Lyndon Johnson, the object of the chant 'Hey, Hey, LBJ, How Many Kids Have You Killed Today?'
If so, it was remarkable piece of prescience by Blair's parents.

I was recently wondering what would happen if a candidate died during the election. Then on Saturday it happened. The Lib Dem candidate in Staffordshire South died. The election in that constituency has been abandoned and a by-election will be held in a month's time.
This raises some intriguing 'what ifs?'
If a candidate in a party leader's constituency died it could mean that the majority party would either have to delay forming a Government for a month or swiftly elect a new or temporary leader. Or if a party needed just one more seat to have a majority the forming of a Government would be delayed for a month.
All highly unlikely, but a possible plot for a political novel.

This week's Sunday Times leader told us that the Conservatives had failed to offer the alternative vision that the country needs. But it still said we should vote for them.
This illustrates yet again that Murdoch has no principles other than self-interest. The decision on which party his papers will support rests ultimately with Murdoch and The Sun has already declared for Labour.
If Murdoch operated from belief and principle one would expect all his papers to follow the same line. That they haven't done so is a combination of Murdoch hedging his bets and the fact that different papers have different readerships. No doubt he would present it as evidence of editorial freedom and diversity of opinion but nobody who knew the first thing about him would be able to keep a straight face.

On Newsnight yesterday a former civil servant presented a personal essay on the state of our politics. It included an extraordinary claim that was never explained. The vibrancy of today's Soho, he said, was directly due to Margaret Thatcher. (Central Soho is today London's Gay Village).
Was Maggie a closet fag hag? Was her passion for a property-owning democracy only matched by her secret mission to establish a gay village in every British city? Or did the boy Mark have a well-hidden property portfolio of gay bars and clubs?
Ben Summerskill recently wrote that if the theory that domineering mothers produce gay sons were true then Mark Thatcher would be the gayest man in the world.

The BBC has defended its decision to include children's presenters Dick and Dom in coverage of the Prime Minister entering Downing Street on Friday morning.
A spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny reports that the duo would challenge the Prime Minister to shout 'Bogey!' on the steps of Downing Street but denied that the BBC was dumbing down its political coverage.

"We are committed to making our political programming more accessible to all age groups" they said. "If the trend towards political apathy is to be reversed we have to avoid demographic compartmentalisation of political coverage and show children that politics can be fun."

Children's Minister Margaret Hodge said: "Children have always been at the centre of New Labour's policies to help hard-working families and the Prime Minister would welcome anything that helps to show our hard-working youngsters that they are important stakeholders in the New Labour project. Who are Dick and Dom?"

The above is pure invention. But how surprised would you have been if it wasn't?


At 9:10 PM, Anonymous graham said...

I replied the other day that I was electioned out and wanted it all to end,its been going on so long that the candidates are starting to drop like flies.
The poor Lib-Dem bugger pegged out and I'll bet that you wouldn't get odds at William Hill's on another one croaking before the day.
Between the US and UK it seems like the campaigns have been going on for the last two years..enough


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