Monday, May 24, 2010

Election Retrospective Blogpost Part One

I have a strange desire to relate an account of the recent General Election here in the UK. It seems to have piqued the interest of people around the world and unusually as voters, even we were quite interested in it this time.

For the first time in 13 years we've had a change of government. Prior to the 13 years of Labour we had 18 years of Conservative government. This actually says less about our ability to form stable long-term governments and more about the inability of non-governing parties to form an effective oppostion to an incumbent government. Invariably whilst out of power, opposition parties spent more time fighting within themselves rather than trying to form an effective alternative to the current ruling party.

This time the country was ripe for change. Gordon Brown coveted the job of prime minister all the time Tony Blair was in the role. When he was finally handed the job on a plate 3 years ago he proceeded, in the most part, to cock it up big style. Convinced that he would and could impose his vision he was unable to cope with people being underwhelmed by his plans. His stewardship was marked by ill-judged, knee-jerk reactions to events or indecisiveness at critical moments. Despairing at his falling ratings he succumbed to the PR people who tried to teach him how to smile and appear engaging and approachable. These were characteristics he himself admitted he had never possessed and believed were trivial and irrelevant to a man of substance such as he. When he tried it, small children hid behind the sofa in fear. Adults laughed out loud in derision. He was encouraged by his handlers to pontificate on the outcome of popular televison game shows and talent contests. His unfamiliarity with these subjects was painfully apparent.

The low-point of Gordon Brown's election campaign was meeting a woman who proudly declared she was a staunch supporter of his party but raised some reasonable questions about his policies during the brief opportunity she had to meet him. He reassured her of his resolute intentions and that he alone was the man best able to represent her in the years to come. Immediately out of earshot he described her to one of his advisers as a bigot. He had however forgotten he was still wearing a TV microphone and his "bigot" remark was replayed relentlessly throughout the rest of the campaign.

The Conservative opposition went into the campaign looking to capitalise on recent record ratings. A few months earlier the polls had predicted a landslide victory for their party. Despite having the most money to spend they ran a confusing and unremarkable campaign and their initial popularity steadily ebbed away. The Conservative leader David Cameron's privileged upbringing was constantly used against him calling into question his ability to relate to the lifestyle and needs of the ordinary voter.

Stuck in the middle were The Liberal Democrats. Perennial bronze medallists in every election campaign within living memory, they suddenly and unexpectedly became popular in the polls. Many people believed this popularity was simply down to them being neither Labour nor Conservative. The Liberal Democrats woke up on election day morning convinced that although they would not gain outright victory they were going to sweep up like never before and become the genuine third force in British politics that they considered their birthright.

OK dear readers - if you're still with me (and if you are, I take my hat off to you), I'll stop for now. I've set the scene. Later this week I'll describe how our electoral system works and how the above events panned out on election day. Betcha can't wait.


nursemyra said...

You make politics sounds interesting..... ;-)

Terra Shield said...

I second nursemyra's comment. Looking forward to the next part...

King of Scurf said...

nursemyra and Terra Shield: You are both very kind. Part Two will follow shortly.