Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The British people to win and lose whatever the result of the AV referendum

There has been so much written about the AV campaigns.  6 weeks of soundbites, press releases, celebrity endorsements, mention of Nick, airbrushed documents of Nick and comments and counter comments galore.

But before we delve any deeper, let's recall the real reason we are having a referendum on the voting system.

Lipstick the pig as much as you like, but this is all because of Tweedleclegg.  This was his one haggle with no wriggle room for the Conservatives. 

This was the dealbreaker.

There had to be a debate and poll on the voting system and it had to happen in the first year of the coalition.

Tweedleclegg got his way.  The one area he hasn't buckled and in so doing shows the single reason he and his party and where they are.  A one off shot at changing the voting system to what he hopes and believes will give his party more seats in Parliament and therefore improve his parties chances of holding power alone.

The flip side of the coin.  Tweedlecam knows a change in voting system would most likely cut his parties number of seats.

So herein are the party lines.  The Tories fear change, the Lib Dems champion it.  It has nothing to do with fairness, it has nothing to do with any of the points hopefully floated forward on the off chance it would stick in British minds and provide a poll surge for Yes or No.

It's all about power.  And each party leader trying to manoeuvre for their most advantaged share.

So how would we win, as a populus and a society?  The most likely outcome is very little would change.  Whether yes or no, the likely statistical shift is negligible.

Many of the figures floated forward by "experts" and the insinuation from Tweedlecam that there would be more hung parliaments have two significant flaws.

1.  There is no evidence of how people would have actually voted under AV.  Only one cross was permitted and so any suggestion a result would be significantly affected is just hearsay and personal opinion.
2.  Even if figures were available to analyse the difference AV may have, the voter was voting based on the FPTP system and therefore voted how they voted, not with any hindsight that it would be benchmarked latterly against an  AV system.

When push comes to shove, the British people will vote how they vote to create what they perceive to be their preferred outcome.  That will take account of likeability, tactical votes, personality and all the usual factors that go into the voting mix.  That will happen under AV or FPTP.

The real win that will come about from this is the impact on the coalition.

If AV is outvoted what is the reason for the coalition?  Surely the Lib Dems will suddenly find being used as a shield for Tory spin much less pallatable and lose will for the fight.  It's clear the Lib Dem's have been lambasted more than their Conservative counterparts for the impact of the austerity cuts and even the most ardent (some may suggest naive) Lib Dem power monger will struggle to see continued merit in continuing such a public flogging that damages their popular vote.

Lets say AV wins out.  Is Tweedlecam going to enjoy a smug faction of Lib Dems in his cabinet growing more vocal and shifting naturally back to their position of opposition but this time from within?  Are the Tory backbenches and the 1922 committee going to enjoy, even allow, a cosy partnership after such a defeat?  Especially as the Conservatives have funded the No campaign?

The reality is that whether Yes or No is the actual result, the people will benefit as the facade of the ConDem coalition slips.  Even if it is only slip and not split, it will be much harder for controversial (NHS for example) policies to be pushed through.  And that has to benefit politics and the representation of the British public.

The headline of this Blog mentioned the British public losing though.

The coalition may be on shakier ground and a more natural balance restored to Government and opposition whatever the outcome... but what damage has been done through the 6 week campaigning period?

We were promised a new kind of politics, removal of Punch and Judy (and if Ed Balls is Punch, George Osborne is most certainly Judy!) which Tweedlecam has now confirmed he has failed to deliver (although after his bullying of female MP's in the Commons you may argue he is the chief architect of such a style).

The style of the campaigns has been decidely disappointing.  As voters watch on a disillusioned public can see the campaign for what it is.  An old politics style drenched in vendetta and venom.  Punch and counter punch.  Accusation and counter accusation.

Whichever way the vote sways, the damage to the perception of politics will be difficult to paper over.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The widening cracks of the Tweedlecam veneer

You only have to see the media debate, the twitter feeds and the headlines of most of the UK newspaper front pages to realise the reach of Tweedlecam's 3 little words at PMQ's on Wednesday.

Disbelief, despair, contempt and an oversized Tory media machine that continues to belie its burgeoning size and seem more like an 18 year old PR intern dabbling in their spare time.

But rather than focussing on the words, let's think about the man himself.  Tweedlecam.

He's been "in charge" for around a year now.  And similar to Brown, the covetted prize weighs heavy on the shoulders and calls for the grecian 2000 ahead of its time once the millstone of responsibility is placed on the incumbent PM's shoulders.

In those 12 months his personality has shifted.  From a tree hugger, from someone pandering terribly to be the down to earth Tory that can appease the back bench euro sceptics while being everyday Dave and a man of the people.  He now resembles more by the day a school ground bully lacking any finesse or class.

And judging by Tweedlecleggs expression, the coalition could be approaching its watershed ever moreso come 5th May.

But why the shift in personality?

Tweedlecam staked his candidacy as Tory leader against David Davies on modernity.  Almost as Blair tackled Clause 4, Tweedlecam needed to break the perception of middle aged voters consumed with a desire to discuss the pound and immigration before nipping off to the Albert Hall to sing rule Brittania.  Something he subsequently failed to do with the electorate.

This modernising ticket comes with peril though.  Don't forget the pressure from backbenchers prior to the last election.  It was certain the old brigade had lost faith with the tree hugger.

So pressure from his own party hardened and now as PM he faces something far in excess of pressure.  Angst, wrath, anger... words so easily associated with the myriad of voting spectrums from immigrants to single mums, from nurses to students and now a large section of female support.

The personality of Tweedlecam is shifting because of the unimaginable stress.  Not only of having the nations woes on his shoulders.  Not only because he has to fight his backbenchers.  Not only because his policies of austerity are hurting.  But because of the groundswell of dislike for the man himself.

And here's the irony.  Tweedlecam has gotten more and more personal, bombastic and bullying as he feels the nations mood turn against him.

Nobody wants to be disliked.  But because of how he painted his well briefed picture as the man next door, good old Dave... the failure of that image to last any test of time means he has to contend personally with not being liked.

His policies are flimsy and with the scrutiny increasing and identifying the holes, the lies, the lack of mandate and the lack of public support he's faced with his soul form of counter attack.  Heavy spin, well beyond anything capable of Mandelson in his heyday, and when that fails... personal, condascending, patronising, Tory... attack.

The flaws are widening.  The real Tory is appearing and manifesting in full view of the least sympathetic audience imaginable.

Should we be sympathetic?  No.  Bullies always get their come uppance.  We reap what we sow.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

New Politics... the face of things to come?

It took a while but the need to type more than 140 characters finally took hold.  And I can only "thank" Tweedlecam for that motivation of sideshifting from twitter into the blogosphere.

Do you recall what seems like an eternity ago now when Tweedlecam and Tweedleclegg gaily skipped through the Downing Street garden to take their jaunty loved up press conference?

They said the country needed a new type of politics.  They said that the country needed a cross party coalition.  They said that at a time of need they needed sensible politics calling on all parties to work together.

So what happened?

The events in today's commons were shocking.  Not because of what was said, not because of the tones, not because of the patronising condascending "calm down" comment.

But because of the dawning realisation that this is what we may have to endure for 4 more years.

A Prime Minister who thinks the privilege of leading the country (despite it being by default) is akin to slumping over the despatch box and acting like a shock jock or something from The Wright Stuff.

The term "New Politics" is certainly what we have.  Never have I seen such blatant disregard for process, etiquette, or heritage of the House of Commons.

Never can I recall questions failing to go unanswered time after time.

A Prime Minister is there to lead.  And when tough calls are made, to stand by and take the stick that might go with it.  Instead we have abdication, blame shifting and downright mistruths to dodge the tricky questions that come Tweedlecam's way time after time.

I ask the question.  Are you proud that Tweedlecam is the figurehead of our country?  Are his family proud to see a red faced man acting in the least Prime Ministerial fashion in recollection?  Are his parents proud to see him dodge question after question as the nation face the burden of his austerity measures day in day out without any sense of responsibility or compassion from their unelected leader?

It's certainly new politics.  But is it what was promised, is it what we want, and is it something to be proud of?