Not long now before the British public mark their x at the general elections on May 7. Relief for many who have found the short campaign laborious and repetitive. Count our blessings that the campaign is not as long as the race for the US Presidency.
Political journos have been excited as the political campaigns kept them occupied and relevant in media land. But the campaigns and debates have been too formulaic and lacked any stand-out national political leader capable of winning the elections outright.
The opinion polls are hinting at yet another coalition government. This mainly as the leaders of the two main parties Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband have been just 2nd rate throughout the last parliament. This has lead in Scotland to the rise of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and their leader Nicola Sturgeon who has proven to be the stand out performer of the campaign. A feat not that hard to achieve given the quality of her opponents.
The latest Scottish polls suggest Labour would lose all their seats north of the Border. That I find hard to believe given the Scottish influence on the Labour Party for generations. If that happens then Ed Miliband has to take all the blame for his lame approach to Scottish politics. Especially since last year’s referendum.
Liberal Democrat’s leader Nick Clegg has never recovered from his tuition fee u-turn. He fell from grace within months of becoming Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and has plodded along without much relevance or appreciation from the British public. The role of the Office of the DPM has been a waste of public money.
UKIP (UK Independent Party) had been riding on a wave of public support in pocket areas of England but their impact seems to have peaked. Their leader Nigel Farage is unlikely to win a seat and therefore could vanish from Question Time land after May 7.
When Labout selected Ed Miliband as leader after the last general election I felt it was a bad idea. Even with the austerity measures of the coalition government Miliband has just failed to carve out a substantial lead in the polls. Unforgivable. One of his earlier errors was appointing Ed Balls as Shadow Chancellor. Given Balls was at the heart of Treasury under Brown for so many years. Ball’s fingerprints on Gordon Brown’s economic “boom & bust” era are still there for too many to forget.
Yet with SNP’s support Miliband could still get the keys to Downing Street. Miliband’s refusal to publicly aknowledge any deal with the SNP shows his lack of respect or understanding for the modern British voter. Does he really think the average voter is that naive?
So Miliband could turn out to be Prime Minister who has never really had a proper long term job. Given his numerous roles in the party machine (researcher, advisor etc) before landing a safe Labour seat.
The leadership debates were less interesting than the soap Emmerdale. The first debate amongst 7 leaders – including the Green Party and Welsh nationlist Plaid Cymru- resembled an episode of ITV’s dating show Take Me Out.
Until a week ago David Cameron looked like a man who had given up. Yet in the last week he seems to have woken up and is doing a Netanyahu (pick me or you all doomed) in trying to stay in power. Where he has gone wrong in the campaign was to announce his departure from the PM job after the next parliament so early.
Cameron should have used the likes of Home Secretary Theresa May during campaign a lot more. As for Labour Miliband should have used senior straight talking figures like Alan Johnson and David Blunkett in England on a regular basis.
The most interesting debate for me came on radio on LBC where 4 female senior party figures (Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and UKIP) debated on a more mature and frank level.
The confused state of this upcoming election and British politics can be summed up by one octogenarian. Rupert Murdoch. His Sun newspaper just announced in England their endorsement of the Tory Party (right of centre). Yet the Scottish version of the Sun has recommended voters to support the SNP (left of centre).
The last time I voted – in Leyton – for the Liberal Democrats. It was a protest vote. I really could not vote for Gordon Brown for PM given his awful time in the role and the way he obilerated the public services with countless targets and indicator setting when Chancellor. Prior to that – when in Kilburn and Walthamstow – I always voted Labour.
Many disaffected voters opt not to vote because of their lack of interest and confidence in any of the parties or candidates. Some have suggested bringing in a “none of the above” option on the ballot paper could attract more voters.
Knowing the British sense of humour “none of the above” would win more votes than some parties.