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Friday, 23 April 2010

Elections I have survived

"I don't like him. He looks like a monkey, his smile is fake, and he looks like he only pretends to like children."

Such were my erudite thoughts at the age of ten, when Tony Blair was voted in by the British public. I was only dimly aware of the whole proceeding, and that this meant saying goodbye to the man with the glasses. As I recall, Britain was slightly distracted by a dead princess at the time, but they got over that pretty fast.

For some reason they don't let you vote at ten, which is probably a good thing, or we'd all be serving under the Mighty Wizard Edmonds to this very day.

I tried cosmic ordering once. My pizza still hasn't arrived, High Wizard Edmonds.
There had been elections before that, of course; Maggie Thatcher was elected for the final time the year I was born. Hence my having no vivid memories of the fabled milk snatchery. I think I can be forgiven for not paying attention to these things when I was five, so the 1997 election was really the first time I noticed it - Glasses man versus monkey face, who will win?

Also there was Paddy Ashdown.
I do not remember this man.
The 2001 election was essentially New Labour's sequel. I don't recall there even being a discussion over who would win, and I certainly wasn't asked. This time I wish they had asked me - Prime Minister Anthony Head would have done great things for this country.
Sebastian agrees.
By 2005, I was disillusioned with British politics. Labour won again, but I didn't really care. It seemed like Blair and Bush were joined at the hip, we couldn't have one without the other, and change was a distant hope. With 9/11 still rumbling about in people's minds (or as we Brits call it, 9/11), there was a lot of noise and drama and not much risk of competition. The dynamic duo remained in the top jobs.

Blair and Bush
Prior to the 2008 political campaigns, I'd been rather unimpressed by politics, American politics in particular (I may even have made scatological references, which is understandable given the inspiration for that post). But then! Things got exciting in America. People were finally ready for Change with a capital Chuh; Obama got voted in, and for the first time I actually bothered to be 'politically aware.' I started getting itchy for an election over here. I finally cast off my voter apathy, and was all ready to make a difference, but the months rolled by and the election was never announced.

We had to wait five years for the next one. I'd occasionally ask when it was due, but nobody really seemed to know, or to be bothered by how horribly long it had been since the last one. Only five years, you might say, but from age 17 to 22 is an awfully long time - I've been at least three people since the last round.

Speaking of three people, this is the first time I can recall in which all three candidates have a fair chance at the prize. I'll try to be as impartial as I can here. Nobody likes Gordon Brown (I'm trying!), though many see him as necessary, and the lesser of two evils. David "call me Dave" Cameron seems to have polarised the nation into those who get their news from Murdoch and those who don't.
via @JonathanHaynes
Now, I was already leaning towards the Lib Dems, but I cannot stand Murdoch sticking his finger into the ear of politics and giving it a twiddle. A lot of people seem to feel the same way, and the tawdry excuse for journalism pictured above is why the #NickCleggsFault hashtag was trending on twitter today (and indeed still is). Whether that's portrayed as sarcasm or not will depend entirely on the newspaper, although the Guardian gets it.

My reasons for supporting the Lib Dems, then, are as follows: they are less corrupt. Not because they're better, or more moral - they may well be, but who can tell at this stage? - but because they've had less opportunity to be corrupted. They've been stood in the shadows for so long that nobody's bothered to buy their allegiance, and dammitall if that doesn't excite me. They're like a field that's been left fallow for years.

Will they win? No idea. Maybe we'll have a hung parliament; many say that's a good thing, though I've yet to do the research. One thing's for sure, for the first time in my memory, it's really a three horse race.

PS. From this, you might assume that I'm voting Lib Dem. Nope. I didn't get my random bit of paper off in time. They let you fill it in online, but then you have to print it off and snail-mail it to some office? WTF? So yeah, I really should have done my research sooner.

1 comment:

  1. That comment at the top definitely sounded like you were describing the childsnatcher from chitty chitty bang bang.

    I wish people cared about politics over here like they do in America. It makes me sad how much apathy there is over here.


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