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"Think of these three things: whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account"--Benjamin Franklin


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Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Historic Day...

It is indeed a historic day--for citizens of the UK that is.

Today is voting day in that very interesting country. The country that brought us one of the best radio stations on earth--in my humble opinion--the BBC World Service is about to go to the polls today.

I do not want to wax too lyrical about it, cos there are a plethora of sites out there -- no less the BBC and the Guardian website, among others, that will do this light years better than any normal person can.
Still, for posterity sake, it needs to be penned.

I am interested in politics, but I am no geek--and for a blog about an eccentric world, it sounds mightily geeky to write about politics. But seriously, what is politics, but the "art of the possible". My Dad questioned me on this out of the blue during Mauday, and I was as stumped as a hedgehog in the headlights of an oncoming car.

So I promptly took out my aide-memoire--this being my book on politics. I barely remember the quotation, but it's something about "the collective management of the organisation of resources".

I'm too much of a non-pundit to respond to that.

But I lie. Surely.

If the US elections are any guide, politics touches all of us deeper than we can ever imagine. It is just that in a country that things are going very well (c.f,. Belgium, where there is a very generous welfare system) people tend to develop apathy because things will plod along *irrespective* of whether they vote or not.

The crunch in both the US and the UK, though, has been Iraq.

And rightly so. I suspect judging from Bush's surprise win, Blair will anticipate not necessarily a close shave, but a shave that is worth a historical footnote. After all, who would want the UK's Conservatives back? Howard is considered creepy by many, and Charles Kennedy, of the Liberal Democrats, though vocal on not going to Iraq, simply doesn't stand a whisker of a chance of winning.

The Liberal Democrats have never won over the past couple of decades, despite having such charismatic figures like the now-Lord Ashdown.

Back in 1999, I wrote a piece for my British Politics class at university in which I referred to the derision already being placed on the Liberal Democrats:


It was quite funny - though not that funny if you were the Kennedy's in the States - when in August this year, Charles Kennedy , a Brit, was finally elected as next incumbent leader of the Liberal Democrats (after Paddy Ashdown tendered his resignation a couple of months back) for a broadcaster on BBC Radio Four on his light-entertainment Saturday programme, Loose Ends, joke that the "Kennedy's have suffered another loss - Charles Kennedy was elected as next Liberal leader". If this says nothing, it speaks volumes of the extent to which the Liberal Democrats are quite pooh-poohed upon in Britain for their relatively meagre policies


The quote above sufficiently reflects the attachment that I have -- of a somewhat endearing quality -- for the U.K., which is odd, considering I have never lived in the country. The only time I stayed there was way back in 1992 when, at the age of 15, I travelled back from Anerley (near Crystal Palace, and not too far from Croydon)to Victoria Station--back to Brussels train station (Anderlecht). Mostly by way of hovercraft, which rocked--big time!

Even then, it was just to visit relatives of mine.

But still, what is also clear, is that BBC Radio Four for me is a byword for quality and excellence.

In 1997, I remember staying up in the wee hours of the morning just to have confirmed to me that Labour had won a landslide. I remember distinctly that it was the Today programme's James NaughtieJim Naughtie who confirmed this, with his team of other hard-working BBC colleagues, in his characteristic Scottish accent.

But I digress...

Iraq will be the bane of Labour. It's not as if Blair wasn't warned.

He forced the UK to go to war, when there was no compelling evidence to do so--and for that if he has to go, well, he has to go. It's a hard lesson, I guess, but as they do say in Ghanaian culture and many a culture, "he who fights and runs away will live to fight another day".

Seriously speaking, Blair, barring any complacency being inculcated in him by the likes of those like Alastair Campbell -- that former-porn journalist-cum-spindoctor with language colorful enough to rival any chameleon's body -- must be fighting for his life.

Similarly, Blair must miss not having his pal -- the now EU Trade Commissioner -- Peter Mandelson (spindoctor extraordinaire) by his side today.

2 Comments:

At Thursday, May 05, 2005 6:04:00 pm , Blogger Anna Anon said...

Dude, How do you keep two blogs going?
Yeah, British politics is always fascinating; though less polarizing (these days) since majority are a bit hesitant of the Tories and don't know what to make of the LibDems (far left liberals?).
A friend said this morning that she didn't vote for Blair... rather, she voted for (Gordon) Brown.

 
At Friday, May 06, 2005 3:46:00 pm , Blogger Emmanuel.K.Bensah II said...

long live Gordon Brown!

Blair sucks. I was hoping he would have lost his seat at Sedgfield. Truly. He's a stinking bastard.

You see, when you become a "cloud-compeller", that's what happens--all the good you do just disappears, as the French say, "dans la nature".

I am secretly happy Labour won. Seeing a Tory win was not going to happen--and a horror too horrific to contemplate.

Liberal Democrats are really not far left liberals. They are more centre of the road than Labour was supposed to be. But a few years ago, Labour disassociated itself with the trade unions, changing one clause 4.

That break effectively sealed the death of the Labour party as people knew and understood it decades ago.

As for my blogging, well, I keep my ekbensahinghana.blogspot.com for tales and ruminations on Ghana, and this one for everything else;-)

oh--and I take a very deep breath;-)

 

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