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Old 26th Apr 2005, 13:01   #1
John Self
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Default Election 2005

Excellent comment piece by Mark Mardell on the BBC Election Weblog:

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I'm struggling with boredom. I'm horrified that large amounts of newspaper space are being wasted arguing about how boring the election is.

It's a Mardell rule of thumb that reporters who claim that something is either boring or incomprehensible should be taken outside and beaten.

In the first case they should be arguing with their editor that it's not a story. In the second they should give the job to someone who can comprehend it.

It's true, John Prescott hasn't hit anyone (yet) but what do people want from an election campaign? I'm not one to decry the soap opera and fun elements of politics but there's always enough of that.

We have a PM used to being the golden boy, tarnished by an unpopular war, used to treating his party with disdain, finding he needs them and making a deal with his rival.

We have an opposition party still struggling to find its way back to power, energised by a new and clever campaign making immigration an election issue for the first time in 20 years.

We have a third party taking votes from the ruling party, threatening uncertain results all over the country.

The political situation isn't boring. And while I'm not one of those who thinks the electorate will be enthused if you go over housing policy in great detail, there are enough policy difference to capture interest. What's boring?
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Old 26th Apr 2005, 13:36   #2
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Prescott may not have hit anyone yet, but he has resorted to playground tactics, as transcribed here:

The reporter's perspective on it is here:

Whenever I start to get the feeling that I actually might quite respect John Prescott, he does something ridiculous and disgraceful.

And I don't know how sad this makes me, but I am actually fairly gripped by all the election stuff. Go figure, as our American cousins might say.
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Old 26th Apr 2005, 13:51   #3
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I too am gripped by it. And sad.

Peter Oborne had an excellent programme on C4 last night in the Election Unspun series, entitled Why Politician's Can't Tell the Truth. For a Tory (but not a party member as far as I know) he seems a decent sort, closer to Boris Johnson or Ken Clarke (when KC isn't selling cigarettes to third world children) than Howard or Thatch. His point was that the present election is profoundly undemocratic, since all the parties are doing is presenting policies that are targetted at the 800,000 or so floating voters who will decide the outcome of the election - and sod the other 40-odd million of us. Blair talks about making hard choices but doesn't really want to address really hard choices, like how do we fund the health service in the coming decades, when spending on it will have to double or treble to cater for an ageing population? Or what he - the great anti-global warming campaigner - is going to do about the proliferation of air travel, which in 50 years' time will account for 75% of all greenhouse gases coming from the UK. His response is that "in the real world", ie when votes are needed, you can't harm the economy by reducing demand for flights by putting up prices (which is achievable by cutting out the apparently ridiculous tax breaks airlines enjoy). The Tories, of course, are no better, with Liam Fox saying in response to the same question that you have to draw a balance between ensuring economic growth and "the pitfalls," by which he presumably meant the destruction of the planet.
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Old 26th Apr 2005, 14:18   #4
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I have been quite entertained by the election, to be honest. Despite some of the regrettable issues being discussed (immigration etc) the debate seems to be being held at a quite lofty, almost intellectual level. The parties are all very close, but at least some discussion about ideas is taking place. As John says - not necessarily the right ideas, and the difficult things are being touched, but it's better than name calling and overly personalised politics, such as Howard was attempting yesterday.

One of the more interesting things was the new style Labour manifesto, which I was tempted to buy in Smiths the other day simply because it looked quite interesting. It's easy to mock, but here at least is a party trying to do something new and innovative to set the agenda and get people involved.

I would be very interested to learn from our cousins across the pond how the election is being covered in the States, given the constant coverage of the Presidential election in the UK. Are you guys as bothered about us as we were about you?!
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Old 26th Apr 2005, 20:18   #5
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Something like this i imagine:

'Britain who? Election! What election? We've had our election.'
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Old 26th Apr 2005, 22:51   #6
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Can we presume that it's all over bar the name-calling? The BBC's poll tracker consistently shows an average lead for Labour of about 6 points. This, according to the BBC's equally thrilling Seat Calculator, would give Labour a majority of 144 seats.
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Old 27th Apr 2005, 9:25   #7
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I think a majority of 144 is too large, I can't see that happening. If it does, it will be remarkable.

I think the chances of a low Labour voting turnout could well impact on things.
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Old 27th Apr 2005, 10:37   #8
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Only, they won't, will they? OK, OK, let's take a guess at the result. My prediction: Labour, maj. 101
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Old 27th Apr 2005, 10:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amner
Only, they won't, will they? OK, OK, let's take a guess at the result. My prediction: Labour, maj. 101
Like Room 101 :wink:
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Old 27th Apr 2005, 11:04   #10
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Labour: maj. 68
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