Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Election looming

There was recently a wailing and gnashing of teeth when it was discovered that a lot of New Zealanders were unaware that a general election would be taking place sometime this year.
I turned to my dear P, who shares my life with me, and announced that I was one of those ignorant creatures.

What, she asked me, what did I think all those opinion polls were showing Labour trailing way, way behind National?

I was flummoxed. Had they not been announcing polls every week since we arrived all those years ago in New Zealand? Yes they had. But apparently this year that sort of information is critical as we have the opportunity to change our government democratically - a task we will carry out and change the government not because of policy or anything crass like a poll with an error something or other of plus or minus something or other (this is to make polls sound scientific.) When National becomes this year's Government (or gets the most votes to attract smaller party's support) it will be because it is their turn. Pure and simple. Now there's science for you. It is somebody else's turn.

There probably will be people who think critically and will vote for the party with the best policies. These critical thinkers will be outvoted and the National Party will win this year's election. It is Buggin's turn, as the great Bernard Levin once wrote in The Times, before the landslide victory of New Labour and the long prime ministership of Tony Blair only lately ended. People had had enough of the Conservative Party and it was quite simply someone else's turn. The same will happen up there. UK voters will most likely vote overwhelmingly for the Conservatives.

P wants to escape a National Government but I would rather stay here than live under a Conservative Government in the UK. I have no great love for New Labour or Old Labour for that matter.

I am socialist by inclination, conservative by nature and an anarchist by education. Where I grew up, Northern Ireland, none of the major parties campaigned or organised. For a long time the Tory party was the Conservative and Unionist party of great Britain. Socialist parties were viewed with suspicion and I think when I came of age I was able to cast one vote for the Northern Ireland Labour Party before our Troubles began and then all voting became most assuredly sectarian. Me? After a period I abstained.

I have voted twice here. A sure sign of ageing.

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