Battlepanda: Another Term for Tony Blair


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Another Term for Tony Blair

I'm not even going to pretend I understand their system, though I lived in England for a few years back in the high school days. The way the English pick their political leader truly makes the electoral college here seem like sweet reason itself. It seems inevitable that the older a democracy (or any governing system, really) gets, the more it picks up barnicle-like arcana. Still, the results seems decisive enough -- another term for Tony Blair, which was never really in doubt. Yet something about this election seems very unsatisfying.
Labour’s vote has gone mad, and that’s what causing a lot of the confusion - people in a lot of constituencies seem to want to punish Labour, but aren’t sure who to vote for to achieve that. In some places, that vote has been well targetted tactically but in others it’s fractured between all the opposition parties, especially where no one seems to be positioned to gain. However, the Liberal Democrats have generally been the main beneficiaries.
The decision by Blair's Labour to move to the center was a strategically brilliant body blow to their rival, the Tories, but in the process of doing so, the choice available to the British electorate narrowed from left vs. right to center vs. right. It's hard to protest against the Iraq war by voting for the even more hawkish opposition. I am glad to see that the Liberal Democrats have made major gains. But they are still a long way away from being able to break the two-party stranglehold on a national level.