Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

Last night, before the sublime Glee, I sat down to watch the Chancellor’s debate. Billed as a warm up to the 3 leader’s debates, I was interested to see what the different men had to say, and how they said it.

In the Blue corner was Tory Boy George Osbourne. He always seems a little ‘nice but dim’, and it has been said that no other politician would suit a regency wig quite as well as the shadow chancellor. In the Red corner, Alistair Darling. I feel quite sorry for Alistair, I’m sure he’s the butt of many a blackadder style joke with his unfortunate surname. Then in the middle, for the Yellow team, Vince Cable. A name that makes me think of 70’s dodgy moustaches.

The debate started with 1 minute statements, and then proceeded with preselected questions from the audience. It was reminiscent of Questiontime, but more focused, and more polite. The first question concerned the qualifications and qualities that each man brought to the job. Cable mentioned his private sector experience, Darling could talk about being Chancellor through the worst recession in 70 years, and Osbourne… well he talked about his ideals, but didn’t seem to have any experience to bring to the job.

They went on to discuss job creation, tax, spending and so on. There were few revelations (though the abandonment of the death tax was one – which is a shame, I like that idea! It’s not like I can use the money when I’m gone!). There were no major gaffs (a relief to the Tories apparently!), a couple of laughs, and some interesting discussion.

There are clear differences between the parties, and these debates will help to highlight those differences. The Tories are returning to form, with large cuts in spending, and cuts in taxes. The Libdems will cut everywhere, with no ring fencing (a fair, but possibly unpopular approach). Labour will ringfence, and cut later. The possibility of cross-party co-operation came up – which is good when they are in session, but bad for voters – because it reduces our choices.

The papers (and twitter!) are obsessed about who ‘won’ the debate. I don’t think there were any winners, other than democracy. All the candidates performed well, and anyone watching will have a clearer idea of the policies of the 3 parties. Who was watching though? probably people who have already decided who to vote for, and have an interest in politics. It was competing with Coronation Street afterall…


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Should I vote Tory?

Actually, that’s not a real question for this election, as I’ve moved into Simon Hughes’s (Lib Dem) constituency, and he’s a shoo-in. I also admire him. I’ll be voting for HIM, not for the Lib Dems.

But when I consider whether I could vote Tory I am conscious that I am not only considering the policies, good or bad, of the current crop. I am also aware of how it would “look”. Most of my friends are rabidly anti-Tory. Voting for they-who-once-were-led-by-Margaret-Thatcher is up there amongst the most heinous, unthinkable crimes. It’s socially unacceptable.

Obviously my world is only a narrow slice of nice, middle-class professionals, old enough to remember the last Tory administration. And nice and intelligent as they are, there is no way that they will ever believe that the Tories mean what they say when their policies are good ones, or not suspect a hidden agenda that is the reverse of well-meaning.

Like many, I draw a deal of my opinions from conversations I have with people I respect — more, in my case, as a politically unsavvy creature, than I do from careful reading of political manifestos. Given the broken promises and failures of the Labour Governments, and the horrific things they have done in my name, I’m not even sure reading manifesto promises would be a good use of my time.

It’s hard to believe that any of the options would do much better, or much different, from any of the others. So the decision to vote Tory would make me a social outcast, without, perhaps the benefits of taking an unpopular stand.

That is the problem Tories have to grapple with, at least among the people I hang out with.

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