Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thoughts on democracy

There is no constitutional reason for a UK prime minister, who takes over the job in between elections, to call for his own personal mandate. The reason is that the UK electorate vote for a party, a team of individuals that will run the country, in theory because that party has a collective vision, perhaps an ideology, that suggests how they will design policy and effect the lives of the citizens. The change in party leader should be a marginal event really, he is not an all powerful president but, theoretically anyway, the person that ensures the party is representing its electorate. If any readers see some disparity between the 'theory' and what they view as 'practice' then perhaps that is why there is a sense of scepticism, cynicism and abstention from voting.

However since Brown's coronation David Cameron led demands for an election and the media began to speculate about whether he wanted a personal mandate, and this speculation exacerbated as his popularity in the polls rose. There then seems to have been a cat and mouse game going on. Brown was forced to enter into speculation, any signs were used to indicate if there was an election or not, and the media pushed him for a response, he smiled coyly and kept them, the UK citizens and his opponents guessing. He was in the position of power and relished it.

Perhaps bravely, perhaps foolishly, Brown yesterday claimed responsibility for allowing the speculation to continue and tried to play down his reasoning for not having an election. The power then slipped to his opponents and those 'feral beasts of the media'. Well of course you cannot admit you wont call an election if you're afraid of losing, even though everyone is aware that is one of the key concerns of politicians within an era of permanent campaigning and fervent poll watching.

Interesting little fact on one report of the polls, and Brown's potential reasoning: "Sunday's News of the World suggested the Tories were ahead by 6% in marginal seats, with the party overall at 44% against Labour's 38%. Translated into a general election, it would mean a hung Parliament with Labour holding 306 seats and the Tories 246". No wonder Brown is confident of winning, all he needs is to reverse the polls slightly, draw even, and the likelihood is a narrow but workable majority. This in itself says little about the state of democracy and how motivated voters should be to make their choice.


Nina said...

Hey Darren,

I couldn't help but find David Cameron's ultra exasperation face after Brown announced that the election wouldn't happen funny.

He lost his chance at his dream job and regardless of all his boldness, I believe he was the one losing face. Like an article on this week's Economist says: 'Close, but no cigar, Mr. Cameron'.

As you have probably gathered by now, I don't like David Cameron very much. I find him intriguing yes, but it bugs me that I can never see behind his public persona.

Even that public persona appears to be terribly calculated and scripted . I also think he is incredibly arrogant and ambitious. I don't think he is really interested on the good of Britain. I think he is interested in being prime minister and that could be dangerous.

But regardless of everything, he is very clever. Whoever is behind his carefully constructed persona is very intelligent.

For example, as the same article in the Economist suggests, his rousing speech could have been more calculated than most think. He knew that even if Brown called an election, the conservatives would not do that brilliantly in it, so he gave a powerful speech knowing that would raise the tories' number on the polls hence scaring Brown into not calling an election. He still looks strong and Brown looks weak.

If this is true, then Cameron's angry face was merely an act. I wouldn't be surprised.

Anyway Darren, I'm sorry for writing so much! I just get carried away sometimes! Won't happen again :)

See you monday!

Norfolk Blogger said...

I warm to brown only in so much as I find Ming ineffective and I loathe everything about Cameron. I think Brown should ahve called the election on the final day of the Labour conference. He would have stormed home then !

Humayun said...

I agree with Nina about David Cameron - I would also like to add that the whole shadow cabinet are from Eton or Oxford (A form of elitism? or selectiveness?).

What I find very worrying is that people are buying in to Cameron 'spin'.

In relation to Labour and Gordon Brown, I think Gordon is a good politician and a very strategic in his thinking. He is very clever in trying to establish that he is substance rather than spin, although I feel he isn't winning the game when it comes to opinion poles. Although I think he is just as much of a spinner than Cameron.

But what do people want from these politicians?