Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Does Charles Kennedy Have the Guts?

Further to Tim's post below on the British election, I too am excited that the writ has dropped in England. What political junkie doesn't welcome his fix of another election.

After rambling rather extensively on Canadian politics moments ago, I don't have the time or inclination to lay the scene for those unfamiliar with the political landscape over here. I will say that my favorite betting website tells me that the current Over/Under on seat predictions is as follows:

Labour - 357
Conservative - 196
Lib Dems - 72

(Keep in mind that they have Hilary Clinton as the frontrunner for President at 5.50 to 1, so take 'em with a grain of salt)

One of the joys of life in England is daily access to its truly world-class press. I'll try to link to a few key articles each week that summarize the state of affairs and offer precious insight on the unfolding (unraveling?) of the campaign.

Day #1's must-read is from the Times' Simon Jenkins, likely my favorite columnist in England. He opens the campaign with a challenge to the Liberal Democrats and their supporters in what can only be described as a ruthless call for tactical voting designed to deliver a hung-parliament and, hence, political/electoral reform. You need to know that most swing ridings are either Labour v. Tory or Labour v. LibDem. Jenkins' article calls for Charles Kennedy to actively and publicly urge all his supporters to vote for Tories in the ridings where 3rd place is a foregone conclusion for his party. Bold, to say the least. Go read the whole thing now:
"...to convert that into constitutional reform needs a hung parliament. This requires the Liberal Democrats to grasp the nettle of tactical voting on May 5. They must command their supporters in Labour marginals to vote cunning, vote Tory and thus vote Liberal Democrat by proxy. Otherwise Mr Blair wins.

...For those who feel that Mr Blair had has his day and will not vote Tory, the only route lies through the marginal seats. It lies not with Mr Howard, who can and probably should do precious little. The decision lies with Mr Kennedy. He has a rare opportunity for a centre party of forcing a wedge between the two big ones. Only thus might he claim some part of the old Liberal agenda. The question is does he have the guts, or are Liberal Democrats not really serious about power?


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Further coverage (and links to coverage) of the UK election here: http://www.generalelection05.com/blog


6:23 AM  

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