Saturday, May 15, 2010

Parliamentary Elections - Random Thoughts on the Outcome to date

The political intrigue and machinations during the days immediately after last week's general election will surely in years to come feature in film and on stage - The Royal National Theatre would provide a fitting venue for such drama.

The comings and goings (or with Gordon Brown's impatience to quit as ever trying to follow to mood of the nation, 'goings and comings' might be a better phrase) at Downing Street and Buckingham Palace, were so mesmerising that BBC TV even rescheduled its programmed soaps to make room for the live real TV drama that had started with the Prime Ministerial debates three weeks previously and was finishing at least for the time being with two of the three debaters agreeing to form a new coalition government and setting aside many of their differences in so doing.

Doubtless my thoughts are affected by the arrival of spring at last in SW20, the aftermath of a great pre-breakfast jog today over Wimbledon Common and some ongoing birthday celebrations but the media cliched description of; "a new dawn in British politics", maybe this time really is apt.

Tony Blair's Labour Party was never going to be my cup of tea nonetheless I do recall sharing the feeling of ephoria and the "New Dawn" like atmosphere prevalent throughout the nation in the morning after he first became prime minister. Looking back today however, either we the electorate were blinkered then or shades of "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely" subsequently applied. Not that Tony Blair was corrupt but some of his subsequent decisions especially that of leading us into the Iraq war upon the basis of the alleged existence of WMD
were old style opaque almost patronising, decisions rather than transparent ethically based decisions that a real new age of politics would have warranted.

This time the new dawn might lead us if not to a new golden age of British politics at least out of the fools gold age that we seem to have been mired in for so long.

The corrosive effects of political power are less likely to apply to coalition government mainly reflecting the will of the electorate, than would have been the case either to a coalition mainly reflecting politicians' quest for power (Lab/Lib/Scots/Welsh) or to a minority government (Con). Furthermore the large apparent differences in political ideology between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, means that the "..absolute power corrupts absolutely" part of this phrase (William Pitt the Elder Prime Minister in 1770?)surely will not apply, as the two party leaders have to share powers.

The Prime Ministerial debates created much more interest and participation by ordinary people in the elections than there has been for years. The fact that the coalition brings two of the TV participants into the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister posts says much about the impact of TV on the British population. Interestingly the new age communications of Facebook Twitter iphones etc seem to have been almost relegated to the second division for impact on the people.

The election outcome may also require thoughts to be applied to why so few really good female leaders emerged and why the electorate showed disfavour towards many attempts by the three main parties to parachute in candidates apparently selected more for their gender or ethnicity than for their political talent. David Cameron Nick Clegg (et al) must have political talent to achieve such an unsusual political marriage between their respective parties but both are young white public school educated men from comparatively wealthy backgrounds. Even those now vying for leadership in the Labour party seem broadly of similar ilk. David Miliband for example would doubtless feel quite at home at a dinner party hosted by either David Cameron of Nick Clegg or heaven forbid, both.

Outstanding female Labour prospective leaders do not so far seem to be putting their hats into the ring for their party's leadership contest either.

Mrs Thatcher was the last really strong female British political leader although many detested her politics yet there still stands that great apolitical female British leader who has witnessed all the prime ministerial goings and comings for almost 60 years (not out) Queen Elizabeth II - "God Save the Queen!"

A Leading Lady's innings that Royalist and Rebublicans alike if they are being honest, really have to admire.

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