The Politics of ...

The Politics of ...

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The End is Nigh...

Today, I did something I can't say I've done ever before. I had a long and very interesting conversation with a Conservative District Councillor. He said, for me, what might be the defining statement of this entire election. He said that "This might be a good election to lose!"

He also told me, quite matter of factly, that he had no intention of voting for his own party next Thursday and his reasons weren't because he felt Camerwrong and Snooty will drive the country into the ground; far from it. He doesn't want the Tories to get in because he firmly believes, like some economists, that we're heading for 4 years of hell. "Whoever gets in is likely never to govern ever again, because they will be blamed. People have short memories." Blamed? For what?

This District Councillor believes that we're heading for another recession; that we're not going to get out of the current one before we're hit with an even harder one, that affects considerably more people than the last one. "£60billion is the cost of two British armies and that's what whoever gets in has to cut from budgets to pay off our debts. There's bugger all left to cut." Surprising words from a Tory and I said as much. "Ah, but we can't ignore the big picture; if we do that then we'll all go to hell in a hand basket."

Tories don't think that way. Especially not mid 50s Tories living in rural Northamptonshire. He felt the only thing that could work was if we had a hung parliament, then no one would get the blame for the coming storm.

He wasn't the most positive of people I've met recently and that is surprising as he supports and represents a party that are looking more and more likely to win a small majority on the 6th. Maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing after all; if Armageddon is on its way like this councillor seemed to think it was...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Brown Trousers Time for Election

Let's be honest. How many times have we met people with ignorant and ill informed opinions? How often have we left the company of others feeling that one or more of them are either grossly under-educated or moronically fascist?

I'm not for a second going to even contemplate defending Gordon Brown. Listening to the story break on 5Live, I got that horrible feeling that we've just hit a watershed in the election campaign. Labour are buggered.

David Cameron must be rubbing his Eton-educated hands together and waiting for the keys to #10 - because, in an election that had Hung Parliament writ LARGE all over it; Cameron (a Tory, therefore more likely to be a bigot than a little old lady from Rochdale) will benefit from this enormously and all the support for the Lib Dems will probably count for nought. The election that could change everything has been scuppered by a prime minister who probably needed a hung parliament to have any chance of staying on.

Golly... I'd hate to be at Labour HQ at the moment. There isn't really any way out of this one and coming so late in the day, there's absolutely nothing Labour can do. They have effectively lost 1 million votes, possibly more. There isn't a Labour candidate in the country who can possibly defend Brown without coming across as a complete and utter tit.

The need to vote tactically is even more imperative. It is important for the future of this country; the remaining services, the old and the young that Cameron and his Bullingdon club cronies do not get their hands on power - they can do a serious amount of damage in 5 years.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Election Observations

If Nick Clegg does nothing else in this general election, he is almost single-handedly responsible for actually making this election interesting. At the start of the campaign, as far as I was concerned, it was a bit of a one horse race and I wasn't even contemplating doing my usual of sitting up until the small hours of results night. The election was dull and so were politics.

Now, Nick Clegg isn't the real reason for this; he's just suddenly put the concept of an alternative, a real live alternative, in an eternal two horse race. This is the catalyst for what could be the biggest change in British politics and you can almost feel it in the air. Two weeks ago the subject of politics in the pubs around my way was non-existent, last night, while supping a reasonably local beer, there was nothing but politics on display and while it might be taboo to talk politics at the pub, this wasn't your stereotypical left versus right slanging match; this was reasoned discussion about what having a third party to choose from means.

One thing is sure, if Clegg really has given the youth of the country someone to vote for, then all parties have to realise that over the next 20 years or so, the under 18s on May 6 are going to be the future voters and if they remain as apathetic as they are now then we'll see governments elected with turn outs below 50%, even with PR. Politicians really desperately need to put youth back on their agendas, even if the thought of the cost of it alone is staggering, especially in light of cutbacks that need to be made.

I was rather perplexed by the boundary changes that have made Northampton North and South quite bizarre. I live right on the border of Northampton South, yet Duston, which lies to the north, slightly of me, is also in Northampton South, as is Castle - Councillor Tony Clarke's ward, which is about level geographically. It also seems to me, and I'm probably very wrong, but the areas that have been moved to South have mainly all got Tory votes stamped all over them...

With the growing prospect of a hung parliament, I do hope the parties can all agree that Vince Cable is the best man to have in charge of the Exchequer. Alistair Darling has had a crack and needs to move on, preferably to Scotland. While George 'Lord Snooty' Osborne hasn't even got a degree in anything remotely to do with figures - dates, yes, but figures with £ and $s in front of them - nada. I wouldn't trust that man with my monthly allowance, let alone billions of our tax poonds!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The start of the Impossible?

Some aspiring politician I am. I spent Thursday night in the local pub with my would be campaign manager, rather than watch the three jesters in the televisual limelight. Even if my initial intentions were not to vote for any of them, you would have thought that I would have gone out of my way to see what they had to say. But, I knew what would happen; most people did. Brown would lose, Cameron would not move either way and Clegg would come out on top, because he has the least to lose, so he could go into the debate like some non-league football team playing at Old Trafford. He had to have a go or he would eventually get trounced.

In the wake of all the praise for Clegg, it has to be realised that in all certainties he's going to end up getting trounced. A swing of 10% to the Lib Dems would probably get them only a handful of seats; not really enough to do any real damage - apart from possibly stopping Cameron from getting a workable majority. What Clegg needs is a 20% swing; if he was to achieve the impossible, he would effectively turn the country into a real 3 party race. The Lib Dems could gain enough seats to ensure not only a hung parliament, but with voter disaffection still high, they could guarantee we never see a Labour or Conservative majority again, at least not in my life time.

But, like I said, Clegg is likely to end up getting trounced. He'll be the Waterlooville of this year's election. Beating the big boys (Liverpool in that case) until the half time oranges turn the tide back in favour of the Premier league boys. At least, that is what should happen, in all probability...

Except, I'm not too sure any more. I'm pretty much convinced that Andrew Simpson will win Northampton North. The streets of my part of town are littered with "Lib Dems Winning Here" posters and banners, and there's barely a Labour or Conservative sticker anywhere. It's like Northampton North has publicly declared what many of us feel, they've had enough of the big boys; they want some parity.

Northampton North is very high on list of Conservative must win seats; if they don't win it and the ones around it on that list, they'll have to look further into Labour's heartland for a big swing - suddenly my constituency has become one of those key seats that are mega-important in the total outcome.

As a declared Independent - who no longer sees himself aligned to any party - I've advocated tactical voting; mainly because I believe this country could suffer terribly from a naive Conservative government, but desperately needs a change at the top. Now, I see the opportunity to allow this country to open up to the idea of independence. If the Lib Dems can break the stranglehold of the two parties, then it will open the doors to allow sensible independent candidates to get elected, either to parliament or local councils.

Therefore, if you live in Northampton North and are a floating voter; consider this - the Lib Dems might not have been the greatest asset Northants Council have ever had, but Simpson doesn't appear to be cut from the same cloth as our rather stalwart Lib Dem councillors - voting for him does a number of things: it means we retain our sense of independence; we get a new MP who is going to want to work hard for his new constituents rather than his party and he prevents the Tory from getting in (which, if nothing else will help see our countryside ravaged by fox hunters showing little regard for anything else bar their own jollies!).

So unless things go horrendously wrong in the run up to May 6; consider voting for Andrew Simpson. I am.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Wider Angle

May 6. E-Day.

The right wing press have the Tories with a 10 point lead in the opinion polls; the middle ground papers have it as low as 4 and are talking Hung Parliaments. I think opinion polls count for nought except to attempt to reinvigorate the ailing party. We've seen over the last couple of decades how unreliable polls can be.

We now have one calendar month of increasingly desperate showmanship to try and winkle a positive vote out of us; I expect there will be many people who are either undecided or will go out of their way to either vote for an alternative, spoil their ballot or just won't bother; because, let's face it, whoever wins, the government get back in!

As I no longer see myself as a Labour supporter; I'd not lose too much sleep if they failed to achieve a majority; however, I probably would lose a lot of sleep if Cameron and his cronies did. We could see the wholesale destruction of everything we have left before we have another attempt at getting rid of them. This time we have to make sure that there is No Overall Control. We have to say, "No, it's time for compromise, not for false loyalties!"

If you live in a constituency that is a solid shoe-in for the big two, then rally your friends and your undecided acquaintances and argue the point for focusing on an Independent candidate; or if its possible, whether the Lib Dem could pull off a shock. I'm not suggesting you vote for Clegg and his amateurs (Vince Cable aside), but I'd rather his party held the balance of power than either of the other two - perhaps if that was the case, we might see some fair and even handed politics in this country and nothing too extreme.

This year I'm mainly advocating Tactical Voting. Do what you can to send a message out to the 'government' that you've had it up to here with party politics and political shenanigans and you'd rather we had real people, concerned about real issues, running the country.

Alternatively, find an independent candidate who doesn't represent the Loony Left or the Fascist Right and throw some support behind her or him. If there's someone who is standing because of the feeling that the current MPs are only really interested in themselves, first and foremost, then support them and help them get their message across. Provided he or she's not got any really loopy ideas in the manifesto, you could help to transform politics in this country, for the better, forever!

Don't say you're not going to vote, just don't vote for the establishment any more!