Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What are we voting for?

The long awaited announcement of the election date yesterday was about as exciting as a can of flat cola. Gordon appeared trying hard to look friendly and smiley, with his team of washed-out incompetents and pleaded incoherently for another term. In the one shot of Mrs Brown, I saw her scowling at the cameras and looking anything but happy at the thought of five more years at Number 10. I don't think she has to worry. Even if Labour were to get in again by a whisker, I cannot see him surviving as party leader and PM for very long. The knives will be out for sure if there is no overall majority or a thumping loss.

David Cameron and his wife were smiling and in the company of a group of young supporters. Point - what have his rivals done to tempt first-time voters to back them? Nothing Labour have said so far looks very inviting. Students have had a very rough ride under this Government, they are finishing their degrees in debt in many cases, and universities are seeing cutbacks. Is that fulfilling Tony Blair's education pledges? Don't think so.

Nick Clegg also appeared with his wife, both looking happy and confident. I wish I could predict that this election will see his party in power, but should there be a hung parliament, they may start to show their true skills. I think they may attract a strong protest vote in constituencies where the previous incumbent has been involved in the expenses scandal and that is no bad thing.

What did not really emerge yesterday were solid or exciting promises and policies. Both Cameron and Clegg have been rather woolly to date on what they stand for. The only solid electioneering I saw yesterday came from Plaid Cymru and the SNP, both of whom pledged their support for the parts of the UK they stand for.  I think it's time for a little root around the manifestoes of the principal players to find out what we are likely to get from them, and more interestingly where there is convergence which may give a clue to what could happen without an overall majority. 

Perhaps the parts of the UK the party leaders visited yesterday have a better idea of what to expect, but for the rest of us - many questions remain unanswered.