UK POLITICS REMAINS TAINTED
By Howard Wheeldon
14 Apr 10. With manifestos from all three main UK political parties now out in the open and with a mass of informed comment and opinion so readily available it should simply be a case for British voters to mark an X in the box in twenty two days time. Sadly nothing is ever that easy! Meanwhile, as I have yet to read the Lib Dem manifesto in detail I will not attempt to make any comment based on what little I heard of the launch speech. Suffice to say that no matter what the Lib-Dem manifesto contains the chances of the third party in Britain forming a government are still very remote even if, for other important reasons discussed below, it is clear that the share of the Lib-Dem vote in this election is almost bound to go shooting up.
As to the other two party manifestos, had this been an ordinary election being fought out in ordinary circumstances I would take the view that voters now had more than enough policy information to be well satisfied that there is ample differentiation between the two main political parties. Indeed, having listened to the separate speeches from the two main party leaders earlier this week – one coming from the new, long delayed and yet to open Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham that I might add was being talked off a quarter of a century ago and the other from that half demolished and yet half preserved eyesore known as Battersea Power Station – I am left in little doubt that Messrs Cameron, Osborne and Haig won the opening manifesto debate round. Indeed, listening to the shadow foreign secretary William Haig on the BBC News Channel last evening if I had any previous doubts on Tory readiness for government they were very suitably shot down.
This though is still the very early stage of the election campaign meaning much anguish is still to come. In more normal circumstances and particularly following a thirteen-year period of Labour government I should be saying that this was no time for complacency – meaning that even if the Tories were half way home in the polls and in the minds of the voters they still needed to take care not to slip on any lately laid Labour banana skins. But the Tories are not half way home yet. Indeed, all that they have so far done is to successfully jump the first albeit very important hurdle. Having a set of policies that can enable us to work a way out of the deficit and debt crisis is all well and good of course though even I would have liked to hear Mr. Cameron use the word ‘cuts’ a little more. Sadly, that David Cameron’s Tory Party are not already leaps and bounds ahead of Labour in the polls is not due to anything they lack or indeed, that has boosted the fortunes of the other two parties. It is simply that Labour, Tory and Lib-Dems are tarred with the same brush – in the wake of the expenses scandal that rocked all three parties in some way or another it seems that far too few of the electorate trust any of them.
Monday was Labour, Tuesday the Tories and today it was ‘Sooty’ and ‘Sweep’ carrying the manifesto bag of the Liberal Democrats. The sad fact is that none of the mass of detail produced in the various published manifestos will have made any difference to the way that people will vote in this election so far. The clue to reason that may be found on the front page of ‘The Times’ today and which in the main headline makes abundantly clear – “that politicians biggest fear is an angry electorate”. Indeed, it is so bad according to the new Populus poll that a majority of voters would apparently actually prefer to see a hung parliament!
Angry voters they certainly are then this time round and angry whether they in towns, a big city or in sleepy countryside hollows. Never has it been this bad in Britain before in my memory. Feeling badly let down and short of trust as a result for almost all politicians whether they are totally innocent or not will find voters far more hostile than they ever have