Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Elections Are Cruise Ship Holidays

Right about now, your average punter in the UK is totally confused by the General Election campaign. Labour has become Ronald Reagan. And the Tories are now undisputed champions of the unfunded public spending pledge. WTF?

The answer is simple. Do you remember that cruise ship holiday? The convention? Spring break? The holiday romance? Same thing.

We find ourselves in a place we will never revisit. With people we owe nothing. In pursuit of something immediate, heady, intense, almost intoxicating.

Where time is at a premium. And so every nuance. Every look. Every reaction. And every action. Is over-magnified in its importance. Same thing with General Elections in the UK.

All the hard work of the previous five years. Governing. Policy-planning. Not to mention organizing for the campaign itself. All that gets tossed out the window.

All that becomes important is winning the dailies. The social media war. The photo ops. The issue of the day. Each and every day.

Issues which mean nothing normally become blown out of proportion. The whole campaign edifice descends into a mud-wrestling match of competing policy claims. Each major party attempting to outbid the other.

Who cares if a hundred years of policy consistency gets overturned in a month? If it wins the dailies, let the Tories become socialists.

And here's the best part. When it's all over, everyone forgets. We don't remember her name. We don't stay in touch. We lose the address. It was all about those short few weeks.

Anyone remember the UK General Election of 1987? Anyone remember what became the pot-boiler issue? Inner cities.

It was surreal. There was Margaret Thatcher, handmaiden to Lucifer, outbidding Neil Kinnock on what the Tories would do for the deprived inner cities. What happened after the election? Nada.

So, don't take all the pledging too seriously. This election, at the end of the day, is going to be won by those who are currently undecided making up their minds as to who they think is going to be the best steward of the economy.

For the rest, relax, enjoy the soap opera. And hope that whoever wins puts a couple more quid in the pay packet ...