Friday, May 06, 2005


The UK General Election: Part 2 (What was that all about then?)

The Labour candidate in my constituency put a document through my letterbox which summarises the election very well.

"What issues do you want me to focus on if I'm elected to represent you?" she asked.

Then she gave some options:

Social Housing for Key Workers
More leisure facilities for young people
Better access to higher education and training
Protecting the train link to Burnham [there is one?]
Fighting swimming ban in Prom Park

Without shame, and with due respect to my vital swimming rights, I confess that these are not my priorities. That's the way the whole election has been fought: as though the country is not facing any issues of great significance. (It should be noted that, in Scotland & Wales, the election is no more than an opinion poll on the performance of the executive and the assembly. Adding Northern Ireland, where the major parties dont stand, a whole swathe of Britain is not even pretending to vote on their government's priorities).

Unfortunately, however, there are one or two questions a government might have to think about: Global warming; Nuclear Proliferation; Ongoing genocide in Sudan; the relationship with Europe & the Constitution; relations with US; future defence alliances; Nuclear power; TRANSPORT(!); subsidiarity and the British constitution; (ERAs/ PR?); Iraq; the march of theocracy; the pensions crisis..

With the exception of the Liberals, who propose to make the pensions crisis worse, none of the parties made much of these issues.

The Labour party, for the most part, has no opinion: Where it acknowledges an issue, it has commissioned reports on it to be delivered after the election.

Instead, we get immigration, and Prom Park. Yes, the immigration system should be 'well managed' rather than 'badly managed', but I no more expect to be asked my opinion about it than on the Government's next stationary supplier:"The management election".

There are reports of 100,000 people being imprisoned as slaves in Niger, and the Government there has recently arrested the leading anti-slavery campaigner. In Sudan, whilst the decades of genocide continue, a newspaper editor is threatened with execution for 'insulting a prophet'.

I don't necessarily know what to do about this. My problem is that politicians on all sides aren't even pretending to either. They are hoping that we will see assume that they have reached a consensus on most things and are arguing on points of difference. But I don't believe it. They just don't know what to do and don't want to judged on their plans in these areas.

Some time ago, a Government scientific advisor gave his view on what is the biggest problem facing the world. It wasn't 'swimming in Prom Park'. So no, bitch, I don't want you to represent me on it.

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