Thursday 6 May 2010

Election time really is here now - it's today!

It's been a fascinating election campaign - dull till the first TV debate, then electrifying for a couple of weeks, but dying down for interest in the final week, which is a bit sad. It was good to hear the Lib Dems air their policies properly, and have them investigated and tested thoroughly by other parties and the pundits, too. Mostly they stood up quite well, I thought, considering the fact that the party has only local council experience of actually running anything. Nick Clegg's experience as an MEP seems to have stood him in good stead, though, and he was beautifully relaxed in that first debate - no wonder people warmed to him. He did seem different. Perhaps later in the campaign he didn't seem quite so different, and that would explain the falling-off in the Lib Dems' share of the vote in the Polls.

But today is the day, and who knows what will happen? That's the fun this time - no one really knows. Will the electorate turn off again and not bother? Will they believe the scare stories from both left and right and scuttle for the safety of old allegiances? Will they spoil their ballot papers in protest at the fact that their votes won't translate into seats? Or will they decide on a real change and vote Lib Dem in large numbers - it's possible though not probable, and would certainly rewrite the political landscape radically, not least because a large Lib Dem vote would not translate into a proportional number of seats and the inequities of our current constituency boundaries combined with the First-Past-the-Post system of voting would be very apparent. It will probably be fairly apparent anyway, since there seems more than a possibility that the Conservatives might win the popular vote without winning most seats in the House. Will that change their minds on proportional representation of some kind, I wonder? I've been surprised that they've stuck to the old system so faithfully when it works against them. Perhaps they really are ideologically conservative after all....

Poor old Labour look dead in the water, and Gordon Brown ploughs on, playing bravely like the orchestra on the Titanic, not understanding that he is a large part of their problem - perhaps the most unpopular prime minister since the War, at least so early in his tenure. It so easily could have been different. A better relationship with Tony Blair, recognizing that his strength was as second in command rather than leader, might have saved them both. Though perhaps TB would have had to take a different line on Iraq, too. It was really that piece of dishonesty, chicanery and subservience to a foreign power (the US, I mean) that sank him. No one will ever forget it, I think, whatever the Inquiry says. However, you can't discount the reds, who have proved remarkably resilient in the wake of the failure and discrediting of international socialism in Russia and Eastern Europe. They reinvented themselves in the 1990s. It remains to be seen whether they can do it again in the 2010s.

We have a sitting Lib Dem locally, and while I respect what David Cameron and the Conservatives are trying to do, and like the idea of the Big Society (and a much smaller State), I don't think our local MP has deserved anything but my support. He has been honest and hard-working for the constituency, and had no scandals of any kind attached to him. So I think it would be ungrateful to desert him. Good luck, Dan Rogerson! You shall have my vote.

I must remember to cast it, too - there was one election when I very nearly forgot....

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