Vote 2005

Pandering to reaction

Oh how we sniggered at the US presidential election debates. How odd they seemed with their moderator and the two party leaders. And how they talked on and on about Iraq and terrorism and the best way of spreading of democracy.

And here we civilised Brits are a few months on with our own election. None of that nonsense is likely to get discussed in the UK.

The leader of the opposition, having bored of attacking gypsies, launched his campaign yesterday with a speech on immigration:

“Mr Blair may want to pussyfoot around this issue, but I don’t. The majority of British people, whatever their background, are united on this issue. They want immigration to be limited and controlled

“For too many years immigration has been a no-go area for political debate.

“It’s not racist to talk about immigration. It’s not racist to criticise the system. It’s not racist to want to limit the numbers. It’s just plain common sense.”

Got that?

The Tories launched their manifesto today and the opposition critique consists of:

“More police, cleaner hospitals, lower taxes, school discipline and controlled immigration.”

Can you seriously imagine John Kerry or Bush running on a more cops, tidy up the hospital, give the kid a crack round the ear and keep the Mexicans out platform?

The Tories have nothing to say about the major global issues but to be fair its not their fault that Labour won’t be raising its outstanding record in foreign policy during this campaign. The government can’t discuss fighting oppression and tyranny and supporting democracy because that kind of talk doesn’t go down well with the Guardian readers who have to somehow be won back to keep Howard out. Labour has to keep mum about helping overthrow the Taliban and its role in bringing about elections in Iraq as though they are things to be embarassed about.

This is an election that so far is all about the lowest common denominator — scaremongering about gypsies and immigrants from the Tories while Labour, sadly, has no choice but to avoid upsetting the isolationist, ostriches of the liberal left and exert energy convincing left-wingers that it really would be a bad idea if they allowed Michael Howard to become Prime Minister.

So pack your intelligence away for a few weeks and sit back and watch a dirty and miserable campaign which will touch upon few if any of the major issues of our time.

And please, no more looking down your nose at the Yanks – they put our lot to shame.