If you live outside of the UK you may be unaware that we have a General Election next week and have to decide who will govern our land for at least the next 4 years.
It's been a campaign of bitching, mud slinging and general avoidance of real issues from some parties, complete incompetance from others and odd behaviour from others.
Before we look at the parties let's take a quick look at their leaders-
Tony Blair- actually has a very good record in charge of the country. He has done many positive things and slipped up on only a few. He has a natural style which I suspect a lot of people can identify with and is easily the best communicator of the three. Has a tendancy to get angry when questioned bluntly but at times that comes across as passionate and works in his favour.
His major error was Iraq and this is currently dominating the campaign. The release of the Attorney General's legal advice today has added more credance to the case that he lied when taking us to war. Personally I believe he misled us rather than lied and that outside pressures had a big part to play in this (that pressure lives to the left of us and has been discussed many times in this blog:))
Without Iraq he would be laughing now but the way the population feels about the war still hurt him politically to this day. I don't believe it is enough to do him real damage but you never know.
Michael Howard- a man who is about as endeering as the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang bang. He has one policy and that is immigration, immigration, immigration. Surprisingly this is working for him- everywhere I go I hear comments like "We are letting too many in", "No more" etc. etc. The launguage Michael Howard uses is carefully constructed as you would expect from a good barrister but panders to our most basict instincts and if this trend continues we will have a real race issue in this country.
He has a new policy every day which are often ill thought out and you have to ask where the money will come from for lower stamp duty, no tax rises, lower council tax for pensioners, better schools, hospitals etc. His economic policies are bodering on post-it note politics and do not convince me for one minute.
Add this to his manner and you have a man you would never invite for dinner. He is slimy in the extreme, takes too long to get his sentences out and is unconvincing at every turn.
Charles Kennedy- if he worked in my company I would presume he did the filing. A nice man who has some good convictions but he is not the kind of person you could ever see running the country.
He was the only leader to oppose the war in Iraq and this is helping him in the polls but it's simply not enough. Local income tax kills off his hopes in one go as many people will be paying an extra £1,000 per household per year.
He wears his ties far too long, has a drink problem (so rumor has it) and is just not quite there as an effective leader. Not sure why but he reminds me of the gingerbread man.
OK, lets take a quick look at the parties-
Labour- have been in power since 1997. Schools are better, hospitals are better, the economy is stable, fox hunting is gone and I for one have only seen imporvement under them.
Obviously we can only rely on stats for schools and hospitals but we have had no real issues with either apart from Christmas but that's another story. I cannot see them losing this election because they have done little wrong, questionable human rights laws and Iraq aside.
They are also pro Europe which I for one love to hear. Those that cry "keep the pound" and "let's stay British" are hoping for a time gone by and need to move onwards and upwards.
Conservative- clueless. When you look at the shadow cabinet the lack of talent in it is quite astounding. Michael Howard is a very clever man but does not have the communication skills required to get the general public on his side.
One example is Oliver Letwin (Shadow Secretary of State for Economic Affairs & Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer) who has the most slappable face in the world. Born with a silver spoon up his backside he is even more hateable than Michael Howard (so I guess we should at least give him credit for that:))
The Conservative campaign has been one of 'attacking Blair' with little focus on their own policies or ideas for the countries future. I pray that they do not get in- a party who pander to the right wing do not deserve such a place. Everyone I know who is going to vote for them is over 40 years old and has swallowed the xenophobic vitriol that has fallen out of Howard's mouth.
Liberal- um... Nice bunch of people. um... quite old party members. um... that's all I can think to sayabout them.
I musn't forget the other main parties-
BNP- terrible bunch of people, really terrible.
UKIP- not much different to the above lot.
Green- some excellent policies and quite clever thinking but never a chance of power.
Well, you can probably guess who I am voting for. I have weighed this decision up over many hours and can see no other choice but Labour. I do not like Blair one bit but like many others am expecting (and hoping) he will make way for Gordon Brown soon- that's the kind of man we need leading this country.