Monday, October 08, 2007

The General Election That Never Was...

... mentioned by Gordon Brown. Ever. At all. What the hell happened here? Was it the final crescendo of the silly season? Is there honestly nothing else to be done than this. Did the PM ever mention having an election. No. Has he ever suggested it? No. Have any of his ministers mentioned it? No. So nobody in the Labour Party has said there would be an election.

So whats the fuss?

Ah they never said there WOULDN'T be an election! Well thats spectacular. I'm sure that Golden Brown (textured like sun) has better things to do than constantly placate the banal speculation of the media. I was watching the incredibly irritating SKY news on Friday and these things were trumpetted as 'sure signs of an upcoming election' - a statement on Iraq and the comprehensive spending review. Wow! At the start of the parliamentary session, the PM will have the audacity of speaking to the most contraversial foreign policy of the decade and matters of the economy, which is pretty central to the business of government. Oh, and the PM cleared his diary. Shock!

No, this was an election inseminated, gestated and coddled in the womb of the media. They want an election because elections mean sales. They created a no-win scenario for Brown. They started the speculation in time for the Conservative Party conference and let the Tories undercut Brown when Brown was really not in the position to undercut. He had to make a choice - election on the backfoot or 'bottle' a situation he never prescribed to. Wonderful.

Remember who runs the minds of the country kids. I'll give you a hint - they don't work in Westminster.



Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that's true. All Labour had to do to have avoided the current situation would have been to say: We are not having an election this year. If they weren't going to have one it would have not been a problem. Then, even if the media did whip up a storm, when he didn't call one he could say I told you so.

But he didn't do that, because there was every chance he was going to call one. They were even preparing to call one by hiring key people just in case. In short, if the Conservatives had done really badly at their conference, and/or a few other things had gone differently. He may well have called on.

I don't think it was just a media storm, I think there was every chance if the various variables had lined up he'd have called one.

If there was never any chance he'd call one - he could have just said no and been happy to let the storm happen.


Vodkashok said...

Except that the business of government isn't to constantly have to be answering questions as posed by the Daily Mail. Moreover no-one actually asked Golden Brown did they? They tried to divine some actions from a series of supposedly related issues.

I don't think it is as cut and dried as saying 'no'. Because the next question is 'why not' - and thats a difficult one because the question is never put as 'Will you be calling an election?' It will always be put as 'You were never elected as Prime Minister Mr Brown - will you offer the people of the UK the democratic choice to choose their Prime Minister?'. Thats a question that you can neve answer 'no' to without looking like a megalomaniacal dictator. Its also a gross misunderstanding of the political machinery of the country - we elect a ruling party not a prime minister, despite the image that is thrust upon us.


Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be rude Neil, but your view of politics sounds naive. The entire *point* of the *legion* of media advisors the government employs, and the entire *point* of the highly-paid image consultants is so that this sort of thing shouldn't happen. Westminster MP's lunch with Journalists and whisper sweet nothings into their ears all the time, it's part of the game, and theres some excellent books out at the moment from some ex-MP's (Robin Cook's in particular) which gives a very good insight into how murky the runny of our government is.

This is how I see it:

The opportunity presented itself to Labour to call an election.

They viewed the opportunity and decided to watch to see how it would play out.

As the stacked their cards carefully on the table, so that they could go for an election if they wanted, they started to get questions from the media.

The media asked relentlessly, and while most people probably kept a firm and tight lip, some of the more Gung-ho Labour MP's probably sat down with a few Journalist over a few *very* nice bottles of Shiraz and expounded long and hard how much they'd destroy the Tories at the polls.

The Journalists, armed with their Gung-ho comments, proceeded to whip up a storm.

The Labour Party was in a rock and a hard place situation. they can't call their stupid MP's liars or they lose face and piss people off. And they can't confirm of deny the situation as that would be politics by media... So they maintain a tight lip.

The opporunity to call an election passes, unfavourable polling data in marginal seats, public/media backlash at tight lipped policy. Labour decide to call it a day and not call one.

And resoundly get pummeled in the media.

Basically, in the incestious world that is Westminster, the entire thing was probably blown out of proportion by some little shit no-one in little shit no-post who couldn't keep his britches on over the news he had.

And gordon brown gets hammered for it. Play with the media like the Labour Party does and eventually it's going to backfire.

Gordon probably isn't to blame, but some labour idiot is.

redben said...

''You were never elected as Prime Minister Mr Brown - will you offer the people of the UK the democratic choice to choose their Prime Minister?'. Thats a question that you can neve answer 'no' to without looking like a megalomaniacal dictator.'

It's actually a very easy question to answer. We don't vote for Prime Ministers, they aren't Presidents. We vote for a party, more to the point, we vote for an MP, the MP has the choice of joining any party he or she likes.

The party with the most MP's at any given time, providing there's a sufficient majority, is able to vote anything they want through the House of Commons, assuming the MP's all toe the party whip.

This means that the party with the most MP's is, to all intents and purposes, the 'ruling party'. They then divy up jobs amongst themselves, one of which is the Prime Minister. It's a role that was never created, like that of a King or a President, it just evolved as the easiest way for the ruling party to run itself.

We, the great unwashed, have no say in who our Prime Minister is. We didn't, and can never, vote for him or her.

Vodkashok said...

I'm not niaive and I understand how the relationship between the press and the government works. Its the entire existence of those media people that makes me believe that they should either be taken out and shot or there is something else going on.

I have been taken aback that things could have gotten so out of hand so quickly. Thats not the way that the Labour party usually manages it's media. I'm looking at the position Cameron is in and thinking 'kudos, masterstroke' because in the end he was in a win-win-win-win situation. There was no way he could have come out of this in a bad light.

If Labour call the election, they get a shot at the big time.

If Labour don't call an election, they get to call them cowards.

Thats what makes it all seem a little ... false? Nobody with the slightest political acumen would be stupid enough to call an election in the middle of their opponents conference?! Thats madness. Cameron showed why with his Inheritance Tax announcement. BOOM! Huge hit. Massive. And it does what the Tories do best - appeals to people's pockets. I'd love to know which little slack-jawed idiot it was that kicked it off or how it started. But boy, did it steamroller.

My desperation in these matters always comes with the way that the media feeds on this and the way that the 'voters' seem to latch onto whatever soundbite comes next on the TV or radio. The reason I posted this was that I couldn't believe the voxpops that were being played on the radio - people who sounded like they had just been dragged off Digbeth Market talking about how they felt that they had been robbed of an election - deceived by the government. 'Robbed of an election' - thats not how people talk, thats how media talks through people.

If anything comes of this entire sorry state of affairs I actually hope it's Ming the Voteless' move to have fixed terms of office put into place. That would sort it all out once and for all.


Vodkashok said...

On Bens point - absolutely. I know that. You know that. Many people who will read this know that.

However the Editor of the Sun/Mail/Mirro/Telegraph (delete as applicable) would have a momentary lapse of memory as soon as a Prime Minister answered that question. It would be like mana from heaven for their headline writers. In the current climate, political suicide.

Its the current climate that I detest so much.