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Written on April 11, 2005, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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After enjoying a huge breakfast of Toblerone and tea, I spent some of this morning watching Andrew Neil on the BBC’s Daily Politics show, and there was an interesting piece on cybersquatting – the Labour party have employed the man who set up gwbush.com and bought a dozen Howard-related domains, and the Liberals (apparently) have bought the Welsh Nationalist party name plaidcymru.co.uk. Dirty internet tricks here we come.

The political campaigns are underway after the funeral of the Pope and the marriage of Chas and Camilla, and I have already seen television which has made me cringe. Blair is repeating the formulas which have elected and re-elected him and his party. I saw him framed in pale pink, mouthing the old mantra “education, education, education” – but try as he clearly did to enjoy the moment, it seemed appallingly false, out-dated. These are no laurels to rest upon, repetition implies a dearth of energy and reinforces the boredom, and I just thought, yes yes, we know that – what else have you got? What a dumb strategy.

Michael Howard on the other hand is well prepared for his one chance at being Prime Minister, to the extent of removing the obvious right-wing nutcases (John Redwood et al) in his team from the platform during his very personal launch of the Conservative manifesto this morning. You can shoot the Conservative manifesto down in two seconds, with it’s claim to lower taxes, increase public spending AND reduce national debt, but I don’t think that is going to matter. It’s a very thin tome, but then, it’s not going to be widely read, so why waste money? Television, radio, newpapers, these are the battle grounds.

He’s clever Howard, he’s scrubbed away at the tarnish, removing from sight the obvious Tory defects and disunities. Europe (they are still split down the middle) only merits brief mention on page 27 of their 28-page manifesto. He is taking advice from an Australian and also imitating Bush with his rather evangelical wide-eyed phrases, like his “Battle for Britain” (note FOR not OF) and capitalising on the Blair boredom-factor. He keeps repeating lines about Blair’s “smirk”, throwing mud at the famously cheery fizzog by attributing arrogance to it. It was the same in Blair’s first (successful) general election campaign as Labour leader – the Tories used the famous “demon eyes” posters – widely derided and probably counter-productive at the time – but that was then. Now, Howard is in charge, and he’s gunning for Blair in person, weakened as he is by events beyond his control, and playing the old nationalist cards of immigration, racial stereotyping, and xenophobia to galvanise the old Tory activists and get the curmudgeonly vote out.

However cleanly scrubbed he and the Cons now are, will Howard be able to erase the memory of the Poll Tax, which he brought in, the most unfair and unpopular law enacted in recent times, which caused riots in the streets, which ultimately brought down Thatcher?

It’s going to come down to soundbites, as always, the right wing playing old tunes that we all know and detest on strings of national prejudice and fear.

My normal reaction would be to withdraw, but this time I am determined to stay and observe. I will need the chocolate.

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This thing has 2 Comments

  1. transience
    Posted 11 April, 2005 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    you should stop starting your sentences with references to chocolate. i get all sugary.

  2. Blog ho
    Posted 11 April, 2005 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    i love me some toblerone. i get confused w/ american politics…well, i don’t…but i do get confused w/ which political parties are available and what their general stance is in your neck of hte woods. perhaps you would spend a small bit of time drawing the battle lines.

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