How fast can you back-track?

Great Britain has recently had a general election. The campaigns is Britain are generally short: between 3 and 5 weeks. Over time they have shifted in approach from local politicians canvassing local people for votes in the particular constituency they are standing, to a more presidential (although Britian doesn’t have a President, we have a monarch as a figurehead and a Prime-Minister who leads the government) campaign where the leaders of each political party is the “face” of all their policies and voters decide to vote for a party based on which one (leader or policies – its difficult to see the distinction some times) they like best.
For the first time ever, this election has had presidential style TV debates between the leaders of the main parties. An unforeseen side-effect of this was that the third party, Liberals – who frequently get a lot of votes, but rarely win many seats), were seen in the debates as the equal of the two parties who traditionally alternate between forming the government. Although it turned out (as it always turns out for the liberals) that they didn’t do particularly well – losing a few seats of the 50-odd they had – they were perceived during the election campaign as a threat. This meant that the main parties spent more time than they normally would poking fun at the Liberals, criticising them, dismissing their policies and insulting their leader. All quite normal behaviour in the kockabout style of british politics and one reason why so few people have any respect for politicians.
As it turned out, the election results were finely balanced between the two major parties, with neither one having enough seats to form a majority government. This meant that someone would have to swallow their pride and cosy up to the Liberal party, who’s 50-ish seats would hold the balance of power. It also meant that all the unfortunate comments that had been made about them during the campaigning would have to be taken back, or (even worse, anathema to our prideful and arrogant politicians) apologised for.
More worrying, the coalition between the Conservatives (who gained “power” after 13 years in opposition) and the Liberals had led to a lot of horse-trading regarding policies. So we have a situation where not only have a lot of policies that Conservative voters wanted and elected MPs on the basis of, being discarded – and vice-versa with Liberal voters, but we also have politicians now telling us that the other guys’ policies, which they were ridiculing and dismissing a few weeks before are to be eagerly adopted. All past differences forgotten.
Although bargaining and concessions are all part of the political process, it does make you wonder just how much these people believe their own ideologies and how much they will be willing to give away just for a shot at the “big chair”?

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment