Saturday, 20 February 2010

Election Post Numero Uno

Election campaign to be stepped up by Brown

So reports the BBC.

In some surreal convulsion, they elaborate:
Although the PM has not yet announced an election date, he will reveal four themes at an event in the West Midlands attended by senior cabinet ministers.
Themes by Jesus! In the Midlands? Ah - help is at hand!


socrates said...

Need more info. Haven't a clue what you're on about. p:>

the_last_name_left said...

UK has to have an election by May. It's coming.

I posted the thing on "themes" because, like the American coverage of elections, we now get nothing about actual policies, instead we get "themes", "motifs", "momentum", "appearance", blah blah blah.

It's all "the Labour Party are gaining ground, and the Tories are getting edgy - can they hold their nerve, or can Labour unsettle them into some mistakes, and take an unexpected win?"

Nothing about policies - it's coverage of a race, the drama of personalities.

Not very satisfying. Just a warning that I might get interested in it - for what it's worth. ;)

the_last_name_left said...

so - they unveiled "themes". Not policies.

Just seems ridiculous. The article did give a little more by way of explanation - but.....I am sure the election will be characterised (again) by a lack of policy. Themes - fairness? employment? sound finances? recovery? education? peace? apple pie?

socrates said...

I guess we refer to that as sound bites. The academic take on how elections are presented in America would be that it is presented much like sporting events are. So you get a lot more of poll numbers or potential scandals than of the less sexy but more important getting into the details of issues.

By the way, our Senator Brown from Massachusetts is playing it smart. He's warned Republicans they can't count on his vote. I think he just crossed the aisle to vote for a job relief bill, not sure. I think he has also come out for abortion rights. Smart moves no doubt. If he keeps this up, only a big name like Joseph Kennedy will take back the seat.

People are disgruntled. Coakley is an old school me first politician. Brown was an unknown. It will take time to see if our Brown makes some mistakes or not. Perhaps we'll be seeing more kinds of protest votes like this. Perhaps conservatives could lose seats in places like Texas, if they are perceived as being establishment politicians. Oh well, that's about the best I can usually come up with for political chatter. It's not really my strong suit. More like an unwashed jumper, sweater in American speak.

the_last_name_left said...

you might well be right.

when I went looking into various polls over that Coakley thing one of the messages seemed to be that incumbents were facing problems everywhere. That would suggest a general disatisfaction, I guess, and could account for Coakley's loss. Less of a shift against Dems - more of a shift against "business as usual". That fits the arguments people have made......and somewhat undermines mine. Though I still don't see how it actually provides evidence that a leftward tilt would actually generate more least not without also generating an equivalent or greater amount of resistance.

I think it's a very difficult climate to read atm. Both in UK and in USA. There's plenty to be worried about, and it seems hard to know where public opinion is going. They seem mighty pissed off to me, but without any coherent platform to collect around. And, as ever, beyond complaints.....what do they want? Sweeties? Apple Pie? Hmmm. You know - people are complaining about the crash, but also complaining their houseprices have fallen. Well, where do they think the "value" of their house had come from? Where do they think their mortgages came from? And then where do they think their jobs came from? Supplying stuff to people who are buying it all on credit.....

People seem mighty pissed off but possess no coherent way to put things together again.

We want jobs! --- In a globalised free-market competing against $4 a day wages? How?

We want deficit reduction! --- And tax cuts?

We want services maintained! --- And the deficit cut? And no tax rises?

Contradictions everywhere. I don't see how anyone can placate all the various forces. There (obviously?) isn't quite the whacko levels of outrage in Britain as there appears in the USA. But it's still worrying. There's a real cynicism towards government..... I think you have to be a bit dim (and dangerous) to see all anti-government attitude as a positive thing, as Libertarians do. I don't think there's anything innately emancipatory about it. Likely there isn't.

socrates said...

I think we were both correct. Sometimes ideas that contradict themselves on the surface actually do not.

You're correct that a vote to the right was a sign that perhaps public opinion has shifted that way. Since it was a special election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat, there was a bit of a referendum being done on Obama. Things aren't going well economically, thus it might have been somewhat of a protest vote against those in charge, which would be the Democratic Party. Putting gridlock to the side of course.

I think I'm correct that if the Democratic Party shifter more left, they would have better results. Bill Clinton had gone with the triangulating approach. That is how the Democrats have been going. Take the progressive base for granted and go for the middle.

I think if the country went left and there were good results, that trend would continue. Job creation. Better schools. Take care of pollution and implement health care for all. Those are lefty values. If one were to go that route and succeed, no one would be calling it the dreaded communist or socialist words. They'd be happy with the results. Americans, for all their wedge issues, seem to vote most likely based on economics or the perception of such. Massachusetts has been hit hard by the downturn like most places. People are definitely tired of the same old, same old.

The elephant in the room is the military-industrial complex. That is also the only place where the solution is to be found. Surely it's impossible to balance the budget and increase social services at the same time the way things are. But if one was bold enough to confront the war economy and take it down a number of notches, a lot of money would then become available.

Just look at what happened to Japan after WW2. They were militarised but got their arses kicked. Unless I'm mistaken, they chopped their military down to practically nothing and became a power economically.

Or look at Russia. The Arms Race drove their economy into the ground. It wasn't really Reagan who forced their hand, imho. It was more like the only choice the Soviets had. It's not that the US won the Cold War. It's more like Russia went broke.

And what's up with your new entries? That's too much homework.