Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The One That Might Have Been Wrong. . .

Now the priest has his body bowed over the death bed of this rotten parliament and is giving the last rites I've been asking myself what the single most important issue surrounding this election is.

For some it will be immigration, for others it will be education, or Europe, or the expenses scandal, or the erosion of civil liberties in the face of an ever more pervasive state. Without doubt these are all hugely important issues, but I think the stand out one for most people will be the economy. It really does all come down to the bottom line, and it was ever thus in the dying days of a Labour administration.

Normally most people will look to the Tories to effect some kind of rescue, and to give the Tories their due, normally they are not afraid to take the action, however unpopular, to remedy the situation. Thatcher is an easy hate figure and is a demonic visage conjured up with alarming regularity by Labour. But she couldn't have been all bad, she did after all win all those elections.

The big difference this time round is that the Tories do not have anyone who embodies her traits. Cameron is as close to being like Thatcher as I am to being like Barbara Cartland. The electorate look at the Tories and do not see any radical difference between Cameron and Blair.

What is beyond doubt is that Brown is despised. A more unpopular leader in the history of this country I struggle to think of. Perhaps King John? I don't know. But it is painfully obvious that the public just have not taken to Cameron. It could be him as a person, it could be his policies, but I think it really boils down to people having no faith that he will be much better than Brown.

I do have faith that Cameron would be better than Brown. But that is akin to selecting death by stoning over death by crucifixion. I'd rather not have either, but if I absolutely have to have one, then let's go with the rocks, eh?

The Lib Dems of course have a complete non-entity at the helm, I'm not convinced even his wife can remember his name. We can discount them getting any serious gains in this election.

Or can we?

I've been very harsh on the Lib Dems. And with good reason. They are neither Liberal nor Democratic and are wrong, wrong, wrong on pretty much every subject you care to name. And they simper. If it is one thing I cannot stand, it is simpering. Wossisname's pep-talk to the troops on Sky News this morning was cringe inducing. He has all the charisma of an over laundered vest.

But the Lib Dems have a significant ace in the hole.

Let's look at the right hand men, shall we? If the election is to be all about the economy, then the guys who have designs on being the Chancellor come May 7th are going to play a huge part in this election.

Darling is done, spent. He and Brown have overseen a disastrous spell in charge of the bank account. Even if you don't trust the Tories, only a madman would consider that Labour have done a good job with the finances.

Osborne, just doesn't have that zing. Labour will play very strongly on the toff angle. It's lazy but I think they're punches that will connect, and to be honest, there is a slight hint of truth about it. Osborne just doesn't seem like the normal bloke on the street. He's another Tory character that it is difficult to warm to. He doesn't inspire confidence, and I think what people expect to hear from the Tories, what they want to hear is that the Tories would stop taking so much of your cash, and stop spending so much of your cash. We ain't going to hear that from this lot. Not this time.

And so we finish with Vince Cable. I don't think he's got a great deal to offer, although it's hard to tell. The Lib Dems specialise in 'blue sky thinking', trotting out plans and policies they know will never come to pass, and so it doesn't really matter, it doesn't have to add up. But, and here's the big but, Vince Cable has a certain cache, he is widely respected by the media and the public. He looks like the sort of person who has a shovel purse. He manages to be avuncular and parsimonius at the same time, the sort of chap who, when his grandson asks him for 50p for sweets, would open his shovel purse, examine the contents, ruffle the youngster's hair and then give him 30p. In short, he projects the sort of image you'd want a Chancellor of the Exchequer to have and his credibility is far, far ahead of Darling and Osborne. I expect him to be very busy indeed over the next month, and the Lib Dems, if they've any sense will give him a lot of airtime flying solo, rather than just standing behind, errrrm, no, his name's gone, that bloke that leads the Lib Dems, his shoulder.

They won't win. They won't even come close. But with a late and well planned attack with Vince at the front, they could actually make some impressive gains as the economy forces its way up the agenda. Quite who will suffer the most damage as a result of this is anyone's guess.

I really think we're in for a very interesting time indeed.

No comments: