The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

The Longest Campaign For Some Time?

Posted by The Futility Monster on January 4, 2010 @ 09:58

Looks like what I did to spoil my ballot paper one year. Image forthcoming one day...

Fans of non-fixed term parliaments often point to the USA for an example of why our system is much better. After all, their presidential campaigns are now never any shorter than 16 months, sometimes even more. That leads to election fatigue in even the most seasoned veterans.

And even then, as soon as one cycle begins, another one starts up. Two year terms in the House of Representatives will do that.

Of course, such arguments are a distraction. In case you haven’t noticed, today there is a blizzard of publicity from both parties as they try to out manoeuvre each other on various aspects of policy. It is shameless electioneering, and all the news outlets have called it as such.

But it is the election which dare not speak its name according to the Labour government. Ed Balls was doing the rounds this morning telling everyone there will be an election “this year”. Wow, thanks Ed. Really insightful. In fact, he went even further, telling us that “by law” there must be an election held by June. Fascinating stuff.

Let’s go a bit further back, though. Think back to the dark days of September 2009. You may recall a certain few political conferences, at which all the leaders and their acolytes gave significant speeches, many of which were also spun as the start of the election campaign.

Then there was a little thing that is starting to be dubbed the draft Queen’s Speech. Gordon Brown announced in July his  legislative timetable for the coming session. Many of these things were also seen as an attempt for the Labour government to set out its stall.

Yes. It’s a total nonsense to suggest that our elections are only defined by the formal campaign period. That’s the only time in which the broadcasters have to be fair in terms of coverage time; maybe that’s the only point at which parties like the Lib Dems get some real election action. But otherwise, the two main parties have invariably been squaring up against each other for many months.

If not years. There’s no doubting either that the Tories have been readying themselves for this election – and government – for years now. It’s just that they won’t tell anyone what they really want to do with power. They know they just want it. And who doesn’t in politics?

The modern media age demands more headlines. There is a whole 24 hours to fill up, and infinite amounts of words can be poured all over the internet too. Political parties are only too happy to fill the void. And what better way then the fake contest between two very similar parties to make some binary opposition for the media narrative.

Either way, I think this probably will be the longest ever “election” campaign the country has ever experienced. One suspects we’ll all be thoroughly sick of the sight of Cameron, Brown and even dear Cleggy “by June”.

Let battle commence. Or continue. Or something.

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