We don’t deserve a better election really do we?
This is an odd direction me to write into given that it has been ages since I wrote a piece. I should contextualise and excuse myself, first there was a huge project at work that led to working 45-odd hours a week for a few weeks (some of my colleagues doing way more than that and are some how still alive), then I moved to London. Then I had no internet for a week. Now I’m back. Good, back to your irregularly scheduled bloggery.
On Andrew Marr this morning, – the 15th of March -, Mr Ed Balls sneakily asked George Osborne if he would be individualistic enough to have a debate with him as the two potential chancellors, akin to the leaders debates and taking the mickey out of David Cameron’s own alleged (proven) cowardice over television debates and engaging in such a way. Under pressure, Osborne shook hands and there will now be some kind of debate between them. This has become the clip of the day and a trending topic on Facebook, and if its trending on Facebook, you can bet your face it trended on Twitter for quite some time.
Somehow, this is the single most exciting election event all week. And it was an aside. Both of our potential chancellors were interviewed on Andrew Marr and nothing more interesting happened according to the media. This hand-shake trick of Ed Balls’ is the most important.
We haven’t even got to the official campaigning and this is how dull the election and the policies which will govern our lives already are. Every couple of days, the polls are changing to which has a slightly thinner lead than the other for Labour and the Conservatives, and the fact that it is going to be a hung parliament is so taken for granted that no-one is remarking at all about the fact that these polls are consistently giving the two main parties less than 300 seats each, no matter which one has a half a point lead.
However, the politicians are not really to blame are they? Maybe it’s our fault.
Ed Balls was telling us about how deeply planned cuts will effect us the other day, like he does most days. Well done him. Austerity is such a taken-for-granted aspect of the election that the Tories probably could announce that they will be cutting NHS spending or something maddening like that and no-one would notice. What happened to the anti-austerity movements? What happened to a society deeply divided to the extent of rioting? They all went on twitter and tried to make popular memes.
Where are we in this election? Beyond the Daily Politics’ strange ball-polling system, where are we? I don’t see normal humans on the news or online trying to make our politicians make more sense. Everything is on the politician’s terms so far because they know that our voices are probably going to be louder than ever.
We deserve a better election than this, and we need to fight for it. At least Channel 4 are trying with their anarchic one-to-one debate and awkward, rushed but at least innovative drama, UKIP the First Hundred Days. Maybe I’m hyping things up too much or expecting too much before the official campaigning, but back in 2010 it was a dog fight where every news clip mattered, now people care so little, no-one’s noticed BBC Nigel’s off-balance reporting or even considered the Green Party beyond one awkward leader’s bad interview.
As I type this, behold the top trending topic on twitter: #BritainsRacistElection (I do realise that this is relevant to some programming but our TV aerial’s broken and we can’t watch anything beyond on-demand / online services yet).
It’s time for the election to get interesting. Like in Scotland last year. Let’s have some fights on the street, let’s have some trade unions politicising what they have left, let’s have the capitalists buying land for them to erect towers of praise for their political slaves, let’s have Boris Johnson swearing.
Let’s have something other than a couple of YouTube clips, some Americanised negative campaigning posters and the occasional jolt of energy from some racists. Let’s earn ourselves a good election. We owe ourselves that. It’s going to be a long five years with whatever nonsense we create afterwards, let alone a long six weeks.