Although it has not been clear from this blog, there is a general election in Britain right now. We are days away from the May 6 vote. And obviously I have been following every detail, every nuanced policy differentiator, every gaffe, every shift in the mood of the electorate- seismic or infinitesimal. I have parsed words, split hairs, gone head to head, toe to toe, and still fit in some extracurricular time to read the latest poll stats.
Also, I have done none of the above.
I know very little. I thought Tony Blair was still Prime Minister when we moved here (he wasn’t) and if you asked me why some people in Parliament are Lords, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I eschew Important Information like it’s my job – and if it was my job, at my next annual review I am pretty sure I would get an Exceeds expectations. Not to brag.
But I know that I have a civic duty to pass along to my vast readership the ins and outs of this fierce political battle. You don’t have time to read a newspaper. Nor should you. Print media is dead and your iPad got stolen and the Fug girls just said something funny and that’s way more important.
So here’s the deal
There are three candidates for PM. (Don’t worry for a second about the fact that in the UK you actually only vote for your MP which then determines which party takes power which then decides who is Prime Minister. We’ll just pretend it’s a fun popular vote like Obama v. McCain. Or wait. You have to do that first pretend plus a second pretend where the U.S. has no electoral college. Okay let’s leave the parenthetical now.)
At first I was trying to decide between the Tory and the Liberal Democrat.
Both cute. For politicians I mean. And depending on the day, I was either strongly in favor/favour of one or the other. Because they’re both cute.
I know at first he seems like he’s not the cutest. But honestly he is. It’s his intellect and his voice. Not just that it’s Scottish. But it’s the right tone. Sort of a baritone. With a hint of tenor.
The worldwide media made much ado about nothing on Wednesday when Gordon Brown was caught on mic calling a constituent a “bigot”. I wish! I wish in the U.S. the brouhaha was that a candidate stood up for immigrants by branding a xenophobe a bigot. Instead of the American-style no-you-dit-int: calling an ethnic person ‘macaca’. But it’s Britain. So apparently when you call a spade a spade you should also spend 24 hours apologizing/apologising.
Now if you don’t feel my thoughtful and probing analysis is enough, I have asked my father to weigh in below and he has kindly obliged. The only disclaimer I include is, um, I love London!
I don’t know where to start, but let’s start here: however much we may hate the bankers, in Britain the only internationally competitive industry — and it is very competitive — is banking and finance.. and all three candidates promised to punish the industry. As an American I hope they do so, and that all the abundant financial talent in London migrates to New York and Connecticut and creates the wealth here. You have no iPad, iPhone, Nokia, Dell, Research In Motion, Yahoo, HP, Microsoft, Google, SAP, Caterpiller, Samsung, Sony (such as it is), GE, Biogen-Idec, Visio, IBM, Genentech making products for the future, or products that people care about and want to buy. You can’t even feed yourself, so what will you sell for food? Hotel rooms?And when asked about the high cost of housing — people in the UK have the smallest and most expensive housing on earth — the candidates supported more council housing. How primitive can you get!