This nasty and uninspiring election campaign continues to stagger on, desperate to be put out of its misery on the 7th of May. I love politics; it is to me what the football is to others. I am surprisingly disengaged of late, the election not representing great battles, clashes of ideas, rather petty battles over narrow strips of political territory, a trench warfare campaign of little gain, bogged down in thick, muddy plains.
Still this politico ploughs on, trying to find developments and narratives of note in the campaign and offer thoughts and insights where I can. Here are some brief election ramblings.
Bring on a coalition!
I am growing more and more opposed to the idea of single party government, especially as the two main parties, the Conservatives and Labour, have branched rightwards and leftwards respectively, trying to consolidate and shore up narrow bases. Both of these parties membership does not even stretch to 200,000. They, like all UK parties, are cliques. Having more to do with Labour than Conservative activists, the blinkered eyes through which they look at their party and leader is quite disturbing.
While this is anecdotal, most of the many people I speak to about politics who are not members or activists have a palpable distaste for all the parties, saying that their vote will not be a ringing endorsement of their preference, rather an opting for the least bad of these husks of political movements. This lack of love for any party is reflected in the polls that pitch both of the main parties in the low to mid 30’s, with little to no gaps between them.
This I believes makes a coalition more and more attractive. No one party seems likely or deserving of a mandate to govern alone, therefore a two party coalition would be more democratic and representative, reflective of the more pluralistic nature of people’s views and covering a broader base. I find the idea of any of the three nationalist movements or the Greens propping up the main parties unpalatable, so while I have my criticisms of the Lib Dems stint in this parliament, I hope, representing as they do a centrist strain of ideology, that they are the party that takes the teeth out of the ideologues of left and right.
Sport and elections
I am no fan of David Cameron, a vacuous man and weathercock who, like more and more politicians, lacks a core and who’s only ideology is that of winning. I do not hate him either, he is a moderate conservative compared to some in his party.
One thing that raises not one iota of like or dislike of him however is this week’s ‘football team gate’ scandal. It is as close as you can come in politics to a non-issue, and while it is degrading and pointless for a non-football fan politician to pretend they have a preferred team and then it come back to haunt them when they give a different answer, it speaks much worse of our politically apathetic culture, where key issues are sidelined by the burning questions of what sports or teams our politicians like. I would be more likely to vote for and respect a Prime Minister who admitted to not caring much for football or sport in general.
For me the issue is less whether a politician who fumbles or lies about sporting preferences deserves our vote, but rather whether those who base their choices on such trivialities should be allowed to vote.
Low blows from Ed
Ed Miliband’s implication of David Cameron’s responsibility for the thousands of dead refugees fleeing from Libya is yet another example of skulduggery at its lowest during the campaign, of which all sides are guilty. Undoubtedly a disaster, Miliband himself supported the toppling of Gaddafi, and therefore he is indicting himself as well? I wonder if Ed, who appeared to have offered Cameron support for the targeting of Assad’s chemical weapon launchers in 2013 before backtracking and voting against doing so, will suffer come polling day for his lack of statecraft.