Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The definition of Pyrrhic

As the campaign enters its last hours we continue to canvass and leaflet on the ground, slightly oblivious to the air war going on in the media. At the end of each day we have returned home late and absorbed the impact of such news as there is. The Tory press are in overdrive: spinning so wildly for their chosen party that it is almost comic. The latest earth shattering news is that Simon Cowell has- apparently- endorsed the Conservatives.

Hmm... So a perma-tanned multi-millionaire who has built his rather questionable reputation on the most tawdry and manipulative television supports the Tories. I am sure a nation will mourn.

In fact the press has practically become a joke- quite often they no longer even bother with facts. Their stock is not only misinformation- the spreading of half-truths and distortions- but disinformation- complete fabrication. I was once told that politicians complaining about the press is like the rest of us complaining about the weather- I suppose it is true, but I will have sharp words to say to my friends in the media after this election nevertheless. Their profession has, in general, behaved contemptibly.

Is it working? Is the Conservative Party set for power? Well the answer I think is maybe and maybe. However the three Chinese curses are "May you live in interesting times", "May you come to the attention of the authorities" and worst of all "May you obtain what you wish for".

The mathematics of the absurd electoral system we use in the UK makes the prospect of a "majority" on 36% of the vote possible but extremely iffy. It will depend exactly on the precise splits of the vote in any given constituency. Even on the same overall national percentages, the Conservatives could hit a majority of about 15 or be short by over fifty seats. So despite the spinning of the press that Mr. Cameron is on course to be the Prime Minister, it is not- even now- a done deal. The voters have yet to speak, and as has been proven in the past, it is very dangerous to take them for granted.

The Conservatives seem to think that the endorsement of a self-satisfied creep like Cowell gives them momentum. It will carry them over the line and they can then start work on their government programme.

Firstly, I don't think that Sinitta's ex is that popular.

Secondly, with the Conservative vote even down in many places compared to what they gained in 2005, it is laughable for the Tories to speak of victory - it is a terrible result from an awful campaign.

Finally, the people have not yet spoken, and they have a history of punishing arrogance. Even if the Tories can claim some kind of a mandate from the vote tomorrow, it would be a tawdry victory indeed. A Cameron government resting on such a low vote would face a fire storm from the very beginning: its very legitimacy would be in question. It would take a leader with far better skills than Mr. Cameron has so far demonstrated to face the consequences of such a victory.

It would be the antithesis of the Blair victory of 1997- instead of a wave of relief and euphoric
enthusiasm, the mood would be sullen and resentful. Any honeymoon would be measured in days rather than months. As the economic crisis closes in, I think it would not be long before the word "hapless" is used quite freely to describe Mr. Cameron and Mr. Osborne. If the Tories seek to govern alone on such a dubious basis, then they must take the consequences. As the Governor of the Bank of England is said to have remarked: "whichever party wins will be out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be".

There must be many leading Tories privately praying to avoid such a Pyrrhic victory.

3 comments:

Newmania said...

Your point about the utter lack of goodwill for anyone is one that has occured to me.Concieve of the hatred for the Lib Dems if they prop up Labour albeit with a quick change of face at the top.

The Lib Dems , you seem to forget, are stil the least popular Party of the three.

Cicero said...

Newmania: ALL political parties are unpopular minorities: but the Conservatives have not had the humility to accept this. They still think that 35% of the 60-70% who vote is still enough for them to take 100% of the decisions, without the participation or even any reference to the majority of the voters who do not vote for them.

This is not about Brown, Cameron or even Clegg: it is about the fundamental problems of a political system that is too narrow and too unresponsive for the complexities of a 21st century society.

Newmania said...

We had a choice you want to replace it with a consultation by a consolidated centre left Reich.

Its the end of the country but we can bring that out if there is a referendum