The Red Carpet of the 2010 UK General Election

May 5, 2010

If the 2010 UK General Election happened like any other general election, this year’s Conservatives and the Labour Party would have argued about who will cut the deepest, with ol’ eyebrows Darling (Alistair) saying ‘I’ll cut deeper than Maggy Thatcher’. The votes on May 6th would have determined the winner.  Then, life would have changed (or not changed) accordingly.

This election should’ve happened two years ago when the Labour Party was running on a high and Gordon Brown was guaranteed to be elected. Since then, something unimportant (like a global financial crisis) happened and the public looked for a scapegoat in the form of Gordon Brown. Nevermind the fact that he saved the nation from a collapse into a depression, nevermind the fact that we still have one of the lowest unemployment rates, the people wanted an election, not an easy win handed over to someone who calls a campaigner a bigot.

So the election campaign trail began, and the two (I mean, three, sorry) parties released their main lines. The Labour Party, with Gordon at the helm of their ship, went for economic recovery (not that the people know what this is, they still think we’re in a recession (0.2% growth, silly people)). The Conservatives went for ‘Big Society, not Big Government’. I’m still not even sure what that means. David Cameron (the leader of the fabled Conservatives) likes to think that people just need a big hug and his plan is to create a community of hugs, I think. And the Liberal Democrats were ignored.

However, we were guaranteed from the start that this election would not happen as expected.  Think of today’s world and today’s technology compared to the world and technology in 2005 when the last general election occurred.  Nowadays, thanks to Facebook and Twitter, the public is more adept at exchanging and digesting information at remarkable speeds. Who could have guessed that an historic event like televising the prime ministerial candidate debates would remind us so much of a Nixon v. Kennedy clip seen on YouTube?  Who could have guessed what an election would be like in 2010?

I doubt people ever thought that the Liberal Democrats would come out of the televised debates as the ‘new and shiny’ hope for Britain. Some people even likened him to Barack Obama. I don’t know why either. What’s good is that the Liberal Democrats got to voice their policies and it was all about reform at the heart of government; electoral reform (because our system is biased towards the Labour Party), devolution of powers (to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, three countries I don’t want to know about) and reform of the education system. Hurrah!

I suppose we should have seen the signs when we saw which celebrities aligned with which parties, left, right and centre. Nick Clegg’s hip Liberal Democrats received nods from Daniel Radcliffe (a boy in a man’s shoes) and Colin Firth (the seductive Mr. Darcy). Of course, the party also touts Brian Eno (a man who is seen as a band’s last call) as a party advisor on the youth.  The Labour Party, who lost Eno to the Lib Dems, maintained support from Patrick Stuart (the captain of Starship Enterprise) and David Tennant (the brilliant but ageing Doctor Who).  (Respected celebrities who are becoming more and more archaic.)  Plus, Ross Kemp (a man who flees from action in the middle of a documentary) backed the Labour Party’s education policy.  And, well, the Conservatives were delighted when Michael Caine (an old man whose films are all alike) supported their voluntary youth scheme.

But, will the student vote be wowed by that type of star power?  With tuition increases on their mind, the digital-age student vote is essential.  However, by this Friday, the faces behind UK’s education or youth policies will be supported by Brian Eno, Michael Caine, or Ross Kemp, none who experienced youth in the digital age.  In the digital age, politics becomes more than just a word. It becomes an application, a website, a petition. It becomes more than a name.  It becomes who that name represents.

But, this is 2010.  And, all things are going to change in 2010 (electoral reform?).  Things this Thursday, May 6, 2010 are not going to happen as expected.  Just wait and see.

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