Saturday, 25 April 2015

The most boring time in the political cycle

I admit that I am a bit of a policy wonk. Questions about what to do with public money, who gets what and when, are infinitely fascinating to me. My suspicion is that I am not so much gripped by the mundane fights for resources, but more by an instinctive feel that most issues of public policy are ultimately unresolvable. Still, the debate about what's the best solution to a tricky problem is exciting stuff.

Yet, whilst I am glued to the BBC Parliament Channel as other people are to Wolf Hall or Game of Thrones, election times are an utter bore to me. It's not that this general election is one with the lowest stakes (what's the difference between Ed Ball's and George Osborne's budget plans? Answer: 0.6 per cent!). And one with the silliest drama: Will the Greens get one seat or two? Does Miliband have two kitchens? (who knows... who cares...) What really annoys me is that general elections are basically times of careful choreography and control, rather than genuine political debate.

Pundits called psephologists (is that a rude word?) tell us that most people switch on to party political broadcasts only in the last two weeks. By then I have well and truly switched off. Trotting out well rehearsed formulae about who means catastrophe or salvation in whose book are as exciting to me as watching a wrestling match between Ham the Clam and Chilly McFreeze (apologies to pro-wrestlers named such). So, there we are: as the electorate finally wakes up to political debate, the real debate about policy has long been had.

The final blow in the theatre called GE2015?

So, can somebody please let me know when this spectacle called general election is over and we can talk proper politics again?


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