Archive for July 5th, 2024

UK election circus is underway

Perhaps it’s a bit cynical of me, but then I have become quite jaded about politics, but it has become hard to consider most elections as anything more than a circus, where clowns get sent to some other part of the country under the banner of their ringmaster. It just seems that, no matter who wins, nothing much really changes. Sure, there are differences between the parties, but on 90% of issues they seem to broadly agree with each other…the main parties anyway.

Here in Australia we are fortunate to have a building which looks like a big tent. The National Circus!
You probably can't park there...
You probably can’t park there, but for a quick obligatory photo opportunity when the constabulary aren’t looking, who could possibly resist?

In the UK they aren’t quite so fortunate, although it is interesting that while they have Downing Street for the ringmaster of their circus, in Sydney we have the Downing Centre Local Court. Named after different people, but hard to ignore the similarity. Perhaps today the good British folk are sentencing someone to be incarcerated in Downing Street for five years. Perhaps that’s why people get frustrated when PMs quite early…they didn’t serve their full sentence!

One of the great things about British elections is the wonderful and very British sense of humour displayed by having Monster Raving Loony Party candidates in fancy dress. Such is the great tradition of it, that all manner of other candidates pop up in outlandish costumes without being Monster Raving Loony Party candidates. The great incentive to doing so is that, over there, it is a requirement that candidates all be present at the location where the returning officer will announce the results for that electorate, so you end up with scenes in local, national and even international media where a bunch of very solemn and serious-looking candidates are flanked by someone in an outrageous costume. At the last election, Ringmaster Boris was flanked by two of them!
Boris Johnson, Elmo, Count Binface
Boris Johnson, Elmo, and Count Binface. None of them were from the Monster Raving Loony Party but in years to come history might judge them all as if they were

I must say, I am amused by a few of the Monster Raving Loony Party policies at this election, such as

Immigration..We will replace employees of the Border Force with GP receptionists. This will dramatically reduce the number of people getting in.

Foreign Policy…Once in Government, we will replace the Foreign Secretary with a British one!

Self-Serving….. Anyone using a self-service till in a supermarket will be given a 10% discount off their shopping.

The last one almost seems sensible. Why shouldn’t I get paid for doing someone else’s job?

On a serious note, if the polls are to be believed, it is possible that the Conservatives may receive fewer votes overall than Nigel Farage’s Reform UK (previously known as the Brexit Party). While this might not equate to Reform having more seats than the Conservatives, it is quite an extraordinary circumstance that one of the two major parties might be about to slip out of majorhood for the first time in living memory. A sign, perhaps, that people want real change. Not just a change of the person in Number 10, but a wholesale change in how government works and is run. Time will tell.

I do sincerely wish the British people well with their voting. I’m not convinced it will really make that much difference, but despite my cynicism, I do hope they get a government which isn’t a circus and actually works the way the people want it to work.

So as the results trickle in late into Thursday night and Friday morning in the UK, or through the middle of a Friday in Australia, while I fear the only real change will be in the colour of the governing party and not a meaningful change in overall policy direction, I look forward to the spectacle of great and peculiar costumed people treating the election with the levity and derision it deserves. It is a highlight of the political calendar for me…and there aren’t a great many of those left these days. One can’t take it too seriously, lest one fear all hope is lost!


2 comments July 5th, 2024 at 12:02am


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