Thursday, April 29, 2010


Labour's Love Lost

The upside of Britain's truncated, four-week national election campaign season is that it is, well, truncated and lasting only six weeks. In contrast, the American presidential election unofficially takes years and officially runs, well, nearly a year from Iowa caucuses in January to the presidential election in November.

On the other hand, the upside of the lengthy U.S. system -- and the downside of  the U.K. counterpart -- can be seen in what happened yesterday to the soon-to-be-ex Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  On the campaign trail, the man about to lead the incumbent Labour government to an ignominious defeat next week called a fairly nice woman a "bigot" -- just for asking a handful of questions, one of which was related to immigration levels:

This is what happens when a candidate hasn't been out on the campaign trail for months and refined both stump speeches and the art of the regular gladhanding potential voters. Brown slipped, accidentally showed his true grumpy self -- and there is hardly anytime to try to right the ship.

With microphones and cameras around to capture the moment, it was a "Macaca" moment -- times 10. Brown was forced to run back and apologize to the insulted "Mrs. Gillian Duffy." He then sent a letter apologising to fellow Labour candidates for this massive cock-up. The incident is all over the telly, as they say back in the old country (yes, you may have noticed that I'm employing quite a few British-isms and English spellings in this post. (So bloody sue me, mate!).

And Labour was already doing pretty badly in the polls before this implosion. Conservative David Cameron had been the frontrunner for more than a year, but attractive leader of the third-party Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, has surged since the first US-style debate the party leaders held 10 days ago. The final debate is today -- about 3PM Eastern time in the US. Brown can give a sterling performance -- and still not be able to save his government. 

The only question remaining now is whether the Conservatives will win enough seats to claim an outright majority in Parliament -- or whether they might have to form a coalition government with the LibDems.  Either way, this is probably the most exciting -- as in unpredictable -- British election in years.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Technorati search
Search Now:
Amazon Logo
  •  RSS
  • Add to My AOL
  • Powered by FeedBurner
  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage
  • Subscribe in Bloglines
  • Share on Facebook