A cornucopia of clangs

For those readers who don’t know, there is to be an election shortly in the UK. Of course, these happen on a regular basis so this hardly comes as a surprise, but this is the first time a Parliament has run for a fixed term. In other words, the date of this general election has been known for the last five years—or at least since the law was changed, during the course of the last parliament. Despite this, the British media insists that ‘the starting gun’ has yet to be fired on electioneering proper—traditionally there has always been a minimum of three weeks between the formal announcement of the date of an election and the election itself, hence electioneering could not start in earnest before the announcement. Obviously under the new system, this is not the case but the media—traditionalists to a key-tapping scribbler—do not seem able to come to terms with this. They also persist in reminding people that this has been the first coalition government  for seventy years—or to put it as accurately but less eye-catchingly—the second coalition government in seventy years. Well, they have to dream up something to write about. With the economy improving, jobless totals down and Dave promising to make the sainted NHS actually work at weekends, the same as the rest of us, there isn’t much to say. In truth, the economic policies of the Tories and Labour are fairly close. Its just that most voters are astute enough to realise that the only real way of raising money is to raise taxes and as Labour has repeatedly shown itself to be a tax then spend it on the wrong thing party, I sense a growing wariness when it comes to electing them. This does not make for good headlines—there must be a closely-run race otherwise what are all the political commentators going to say in the run-up to polling day? How will retired—and retiring—politicians justify their appearance fees when there isn’t much of a debate going on? Just as an aside, traditionally there was three weeks between the passing of the sentence of death and execution. Most UK voters view general elections with as much enthusiasm as they might view their own imminent execution.

Be that as it may, the staring gun—or in this case, bell— was sounded by ‘Dave’ last week when he announced that he would not be standing for a third term, but he would serve a full second term, thus inferring that he was quite confident of being Prime Minister for a second term. Predictably Labour picked up on this, calling it sheer arrogance. It wasn’t, but it was ill advised. Ill advised? What planet do these people live on? The office of Prime Minister functions, in part, by the incumbent being able to offer promotion—aka bribes— to dissident backbenchers. By stating that he will be serving for a finite time and more or less giving away the date of his stepping down, nobody with any long-term political ambitions will be hitching their horse to his wagon. Much the same thing happened to Tony Blair, after his similar announcement. More importantly, yet again a senior politician has revealed that actually they believe the electorate are all morons.

“I will be Prime Minister of a full second term”.

OK, Dave, so the Tories will be going into the next election without a leader then, will they? Of course not. There will have to be a leadership election—let’s say that takes three weeks. Then of course the new leader needs to make an impression on the electorate—six months? That hardly equates with you serving a full second term, now does it—mate?

Will he serve a second term? Well now, it so happens that as a man who drives the Andover equivalent of the Clapham Omnibus, I am in a good position to tell him what the electorate—those grubby little oiks, most of whom did not attend Eton—actually think. Labour are not particularly popular in these parts, Squire.  And the Polish, Nepalese and assorted other non-Brit voters of Andover are unlikely to vote for UKip–although many Poles complain of too many ‘foreigners’ in Andover–not certain if they are referring to fellow countrymen or the indigenous population. In truth, most of the conversations I happen to hear whilst behind the wheel of the Andover Omnibus either concern ‘footie’ or who was seen leaving who’s house during the day when the official ‘significant other’ was at work. However, if I wish to listen to something different, it is possible to ‘inject’ the SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) into the conversation. Non-UK readers need to appreciate that there is much talk of the SNP having up to 50 MPs in Parliament after the general election, as it is reckoned that Labour will be wiped-out in Scotland. This may seem strange to non-UK readers—Scotland has it’s own parliament and government, does it not,so why are they returning MPs to Westminster? To which an English voter might reply

‘why indeed and yes, they do have their own bloody government and if they think they are going to govern England as well, they can bloody well think again.’

The ‘expert opinion’ and also according to leader Nicola Sturgeon is they—the SNP—will not under any circumstances form a coalition with the Tories. As the present coalition partners—the Lib-Dems—will probably be outnumbered in the new parliament by the Monster Raving Looney Party (yes, there is such a party) then ‘Wallace’ Miliband will form a government with SNP support. Just at the present time, if you really, really want to upset an English voter, you mention the fact that the next government will, in effect, be run by the Scots—and after you’ve mentioned it, retire a safe distance. If you want to amuse an English voter, ask what the SNP would be saying now about oil revenues if the Scots had voted for independence. Of course, I predicted that they would vote to stay in the Union and published an article to that effect.

If Dave is to form the next government, the Tories will either have to win an outright majority—most ‘experts’ are suggesting that they will not, so it must be a distinct possibility— or he will have to find a new coalition partner. UKip will probably self-destruct in the electioneering process, which might leave the various parties of Northern Ireland. On the other hand, were he to suggest that a vote for Labour was a vote for the SNP, then Labour could conceivably do very badly south of the border as well as in the frozen north. Over to you, Dave.

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