May 05, 2010
Remember that New Labour May in 1997? Oh what bliss in that dawn to be alive. To be ten (as our daughter is in the picas and I was in terms of political naivety ) was very heaven. So where are we, exactly 13 years later?
Well the polling booth pictured has long since moved, replaced by a tick box jury. And the last two elections I've found it hard to summon up any interest at all let alone the enthusisam I felt for Obama's historic marathon to the White House. And to complicate matters further the Labour condidate for North West Norfolk has mixed his manifesto up with the BNP's and called his party leader the worst PM in history so it's all a bit weird.
But suddenly it does seem to matter. Not just because it's close but because it's got real.
Accepting that we all see the narative we want, in football as in elections, and in my case through rose-tinted specs, I have been struck by the contrast in energy projected by David and Gordon so far this week. David is buzzing round all over the surface of the country like a blue arsed fly with his sleeves neatly rolled up for the camera 'ready to clear up the mess' (oh please!) while Gordon's lumbering volcanic energy seems to have come from a sudden deep taproot in the man himself, the social justice socialism of his chapel soul, born of hurt and humiliation and some healthy self-accusation. The former is much nearer to the media witch Blair, the latter more like Old Labour.
In that long lost May of 1997, I fancy both flash and reality were at work but I reckon, back against the wall and at media bay, this at last is the real Gordon, warts and all.
I'd like to see him elected as such and governing like it too.
May 02, 2010
I see from my drive across Norfolk to its fine city capital yesterday that once again large empty fields (some of them full of impressive bulls) are declaring their timeless political allegiance for the Conservative Party. I didn't catch their bullish candidate's name - Oxy Moron was it? - but he's pledging himself as he has since the Normans ( Tebbit, La Mont, St John Stevas) for conserves that change. Or is it change that conserves?
'Change that ye may conserve' as some Burke once said.
But what's this - an energetic young puppy is bouncing onto the scene as I cross North Norfolk. The Strange Rebirth of Liberal England. Will he turn the tables of government or just knock them over?
Only in the fine old city itself do some Labour posters appear. Old Labour as in poor old Labour.
A funny thing happened on our way to in the city centre. Cockerels crowing and sheep bleating. There was a mini farmyard outside the forum. Is it another media circus carefully upsetting Gordon's campaign? Infamy! The media have all got it in for me.
So if I was interviewing the three candidates for the job, who would get it? Certainly not someone whose central defining slogan sinks millions of pounds on a slogan that conveys the inability to think in a straight line and whose concepts of change and conservation don't add up. Can this Tory team think? Will the detail of 'Honest' George Osborne's gambler budget add up any more than that slogan?
So you're faced with someone who has energy and enthusiasm and youth and may well be a big hit when he gets his feet on the ground and his hands on the wheel. Young Nick. Or the old guy who everyone is jeering at but who kept us afloat when the waters got really choppy. A man carrying a bit more substance than is strictly healthy but what labouring been-there battleship doesn't?