Friday, 13 November 2009

How Will You Vote?

Glasgow North East has delivered its message - Gordon Brown and Labour are doing a fine job and there is no need to change a single policy.

You have to wonder where the folk of Glasgow North East have been these last few months. The by election was triggered by the resignation of their sitting MP, former Speaker Michael Martin, who was at the centre of the controversy over MPs' expenses. It appeared that Mr. Marin had lost his sense of reality and fairness as well as possibly his senses in actually not agreeing with the general view in the country that MPs were ripping us off at a time when ordinary families were struggling to make ends meet. Further, as we wallowed in bad news after bad news on bank bailouts, bonuses, Fred Goodwin's pension and our treatment of our fighting soldiers, it appeared life in Glasgow was not just unaffected but thriving. The majority returned was all but what Martin won at the last election except for a few votes that were picked up by a Conservative candidate who decided to contest the seat for the first time in ages.

I am sure Michael Martin was a popular local man and had represented his constituency well - no doubt. However, it seems that the staunchest of Labour supporters cannot seem to link the country's woes with the sitting Labour PM and his Government. Perhaps the whole affair over the SNP's decision to allow the Lockerbie bomber to go free on compassionate grounds to be received by a hero's welcome by Libyans on his return was a step too far for the sitting party. Perhaps the feeling is that while Labour may be a bunch of incompetent dolts who now agree that rich people should get richer while shafting the working class, the contemplation of Tories ruling is too unpalatable. At least the BNP came nowhere - a small victory for democracy and common sense.

But it does make you wonder what will Labour have to do worse than they have so far in order to lose their core vote? Even their own MPs are fed up with Brown's leadership while who would have thought Peter Mandelson would rise to the very top like the villain of a Harry Potter book and rule the country as 'Minister for Information'. It's like the chilling plot of a novel worthy of George Orwell.

Maybe I'm seeing it all wrong. Perhaps my lingering distrust of Tony Blair's cynically sleazy regime and its decision to fight wars without good legal reasons really got to me. Perhaps I read too much into Governments that try to manipulate our minds by programming our thoughts. Perhaps I should not be surprised that the whole financial system has failed and I have born a cost for no good reason while the bankers continue to earn millions. Maybe I am the one who is illogical here, expecting too much for our troops fighting wars I think are unwinnable - certainly the way we are engaged in now. Maybe I am the one who is wrong in believing MPs should not be allowed to claim cleaning bills as that is a lifestyle decision not a burden for taxpayers or that they should benefit from the profits of houses whose mortgage interest we paid for. Maybe I am the one who is out of touch believing the credit crunch and how we dealt with it has left us worse off than all other rich nations - maybe I am too idealistic in believing as a result of this our fight to save the planet and the starving people of this world has been set back years as we have ploughed all our money into saving the wrong people because they have us by the short and curlies.

That is the Labour world I thought I would never see. From my viewpoint it has catastrophically failed us all - but Glasgow North East is just fine. I wonder if Willie Bain's first words after winning will have made the penny drop. If everyone adopted the same approach, Gordon Brown and Labour will be back in on a landslide come June.

Surely there is something wrong in that?

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