Election 2010: Selling the least worst option

Writing in the Evening Standard, Paul Waugh has hit the nail on the head about this General Election.  But he is coming at it from a different perspective to those of us who are writing off the campaign for its lack of democratic choice and the craven attitude of the politicians who have conspired to keep the crucial issues off the table – and deny voters an alternative to the consensus stitch up.

Waugh thinks back to the 1979 election when the Daily Express came out for Margaret Thatcher with the headline ‘Give the Girl a Chance’ and draws a comparison with David Cameron in 2010:

It’s more about giving the untested contender a chance.

This is a hovering pencil election. In the privacy of the voting booth, the electorate in key marginal seats may come to that point of decision and simply think this:

“I can’t face five more years of Labour/Gordon Brown. I’m not sure about Cameron. But, sod it, I’ll give him a try.”

This is, in my opinion, the most powerful weapon the Tories have in this election. Not just desperate mood of ‘time for a change’, but a resigned willingness to at least try something else.

If that is the most powerful weapon in the Tory arsenal, then why do they deserve to form a government?  This cat has been out of the bag for months, but now even the journalists have been forced to see this election for what it really is.  Finally they are accepting what is being offered to voters is a substandard Hobson’s choice of machine politicians who are incapable of providing reasons for voters to proactively and enthusiastically support them.

This election is not about voting in a positive manner for a party that is offering to represent our views and govern in our interests in the manner we require.  It was in 1979 and that is why the comparison between Thatcher and Cameron is a poor one.  In 1979, principles and values mattered.  The campaign was about substance.  Today it is about being seen the least worst option and which party can hide more of its self serving agenda than the others.  No one is talking to our issues.  Labour want to be seen as less worse than the Tories.  The Tories want to be seen as less worse and more ‘with it’ than Labour.  The appalling Liberal Democrats want to be seen as less worse than the other two but happy to be a junior partner in a hung parliament because power is everything.  The disconnect between the political class and the people they are supposed to represent is widening.

Voters in 2010 are not really being asked to give Cameron (or Brown, or Clegg for that matter) a chance.  They are being asked to hold their nose, join in with race to the bottom of constantly shrinking expectations and lower standards, and vote for the least worst option.  That is not real democracy.  It is the politics of despair.  And our needs and wishes are irrelevant.

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5 Responses to “Election 2010: Selling the least worst option”

  1. 1 WitteringsfromWitney 13/04/2010 at 11:24 am

    Damn good post AM. Will link.

  2. 2 jameshigham 13/04/2010 at 5:28 pm

    The three of them deserve a bloodied nose and to just see how much contempt they’re held in.

  3. 3 Kenomeat 13/04/2010 at 10:36 pm

    “This election is not about voting in a positive manner for a party that is offering to represent our views and govern in our interests in the manner we require.”
    It is if you choose to vote for UKIP.

  4. 4 Dave E 15/04/2010 at 11:30 pm

    Sorry but I will be placing my vote with an alternative party.

    I find much of what they advocate distasteful but if it takes a few seats for a party I personally have no support for to wake up the LibLabCon, so be it.

    Personally, I don’t think they give a toss one way or the other.


  1. 1 Election 2010: Voters continue to snub political beauty contest « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 15/04/2010 at 1:39 pm
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