As British voters consider Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and Nick Clegg, most will be voting to keep a party out, not to welcome one in. It’s rather like staying married to someone you hate just to stop them from going off and finding happiness with someone else.
It’s been a happy time for comedians in Britain during this recruitment exercise we call a general election.
As in America 2008, all the politicians this time are trying to “pull an Obama” and shout that they are the ones who will bring change. “Change, change, change,” is their refrain as though they were suddenly all homeless men pleading for charity. Of course, ever since a scandal broke last year about the indulgent ways members of Parliament (MPs) spend their expense money, many of them now can’t even charge for having their moats cleaned.
Unlike Americans, we Britons tend not to get too excitable about the whole election process. Even political rallies usually elicit no more than an extra-strong cup of tea and maybe a ripple of applause if things get really heated.
But a fair proportion of the populace might actually stay up late on election night this Thursday. That kind of behavior is usually reserved for devotees of the Eurovision Song Contest, an event in which eager performers in eccentric clothing try to jazz up tired old lyrics to get a few more votes. Hmm, actually I can see the similarity...
Still, many voters clearly see this as a negative election. More important than what the candidates say is what they don’t say. So most people will be voting to keep a party out, not to welcome one in. It’s rather like staying married to someone you hate just to stop them from going off and finding happiness with someone else.
The main political parties have come to so resemble one another, at least on the outside, that the political battle has increasingly been one of personalities. Or it would be, if the top contenders had one.
Tory leader David Cameron, who is a distant cousin of the queen, is viewed as one who was born with not just a silver spoon but the entire cutlery drawer in his mouth.