A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Path of the Least Offensive: UK Goes to the Polls

Before I went on hiatus from the blogosphere in 2012,
it was known that I was a fan of Nigel Farage. Mr
Farage was the colourful, straight-talking British member of the European Parliament whose speeches were well documented and often went viral. He was also the bold leader of UKIP (the United Kingdom Independent Party) a party that he had resurrected from being a send-up and the brunt of jokes to a viable force to be reckoned with. And he did this by talking about the issues that no other politician wanted to touch...namely immigration reform, the big spending of big government (as under Labour) and the referendum on the EU which had swallowed up and economically destabilized once relatively independent countries (Ireland, Spain and Greece for example.)
He was controversial but he did not suffer fools gladly. I did not always agree with him but at least he was tackling the big issues and not cowering or using doublespeak. This was admirable, I thought.

The problem came when Farage and UKIP began to gain momentum. The party that was once thought of as "kooky" and laughable began to be threatening. There were defections from the Tory Party to UKIP and then things began to become more serious. It was at this time that cracks began to show. The party began to be infiltrated by hate-mongers plying their wares. I have often contended that some were deliberate plants. There were accusations of  xenophobia and racism. And some accusations were documented. Funnily enough, they came from recent members rather than the party stalwarts. Mr Farage's downfall was that he did not "clean house" so to speak. He did not address the issues before the miscreants' actions began to shroud the true message of the Party: no more big government, UK out of the EU except for trading, keep the pound, controlled point system immigration and the freedom for Great Britain to govern itself. In the end, the message was lost in a cloud of scuffle-dust from idiots who deserved to be shown the door. Farage did not do that. It probably will cost him some precious seats. I still like Farage. I did not like the descent into madness UKIP went through in the last months. I hope he saves what he can and rebuilds a new boat on dry land and tosses the pirates who co-opted his party, out to sea. There is good in his original message. I do not agree with all his issues (I am a social liberal) but he did have the courage to speak out when it was pablum that came out of the other candidates. If he can update the social policies he espouses, UKIP can find itself again.

So we are really faced with three front runners in today's election: David Cameron (Conservative/Tory), David Milliband (Labour) and Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat). They are all public school boys. Yes, even Milliband. Farage was not. Interesting how that is. The public school networks extend far into every area of Great Britain's political and business life.

It is obvious to me that the UK is in a better place economically than it was five years ago under Labour. It would be ridiculous to say otherwise. There were cuts to social programs which were not welcomed by the people who had come to depend on them under the Labour government. Some were painful. But more jobs were created and the economy rallied. Cameron is instilling new tax cuts and programs to get more young people on the property ladder. But he has waffled on the EU referendum (yes we will, er, no we won't, yes, er no, what should I say to get elected again?)  He has not been the strongest leader and his bid to be liked has often overcome his need to take strong stands on terrorism, immigration and the EU. He is wooden in his delivery, a bit lackluster. But so was Harry Truman, right? And this isn't "X Factor." However, he began to get louder this week in his attempt to be a bit more "passionate" which he interpreted as just yelling a bit louder in his speeches. Knowing British men as I do, passion is not on the table or any other piece of furniture. He should have just closed his eyes and thought of  Britain like the rest of us British women. Good try, Dave. I do love Sam his wife, though. She is a hippie apasionata at heart. Maybe she should stand as PM next?

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, (a socialist by any other name still reeks) promises to take us back to the Blair days. Those halcyon, sit-on-the-stoop-smoking, dig-in-your-pocket-for-loose-change days of  pork scratching on toast dinners?  Remember those? The days when it took two years to get a passport back from the Home Office? The days when no jobs were being created, but you could still live on a tiny check and lose your sense of self-worth and self-governance?  The days when you called the police to report a burglary and they showed up two weeks later and at your neighbour's house? The days when Tony got richer and bought  and sold more properties than Kirstie and Phil and became a Catholic  and the rest of Great Britain was slipping into oblivion?  More of that with Miliband! Hooray!  Or a least that is what I have been able to surmise because honestly, I still cannot understand everything he says. I am not talking about content here. It's the delivery. How could  Labour spend so much on an American  manager (David Axelrod who ran the Obama campaign) and still have Miliband sounding like "Yosemite Sam"? There will be more than (th)ufferin' (th)uccota(th) if this man is elected. His American-style posturing during the debates was cringe-worthy. It is not his style.His style is no-style and that is at least, honest. He should have simply spoken as Ed not Eduardo the Magnificen(th). Ed, I liked your brother. But we know what you did to him. That did not bode well. And never mind about how you want to have a coalition with the SNP. Labour used to operate with deep seated values for the good of the people and their ideas carried some merit. What on earth has it become with you? A fantastical Willie Wonka World. Or as you would say...a (th)antastical Withy Wonka Wod(th). No, Ed. No.

And Nick Clegg. Oh, Nick. See Nick. See Nick run. Run, Nick, run. And that's about all I can muster at this late hour to write about Clegg and his lovely Sra Cleggista who fancies the EU too much to be comfortable. Nick-Get-the-Party-Started was the first to arrive in 2010 with bells on. And now, no one is able to get him out the door fast enough. He is clinging to the half empty onion dip dish and mumbling:"I coulda been a contenda..."

It isn't exactly a three man lineup that will shake the world . It is more an election of rag-tag doublespeaking, promise-making public school boys who are still out of touch with reality.
Among these three, there really is only one choice. Cue up "Woodstock", drag on your wellies,  at least one member of the family is in touch with the peeps. Too bad she isn't in the running. So
we will have to close our eyes, think of Britain and yell with passion as we cast our vote.